Competing for readers and ad dollars in niche spaces like travel and culture can be daunting. But Hayo magazine founder and editor-in-chief Joanna Riquett was determined at the outset that the market would make room for her strong vision of what a travel and culture website and magazine would deliver.
“When you are an independent publisher it’s hard to convince brands that they want to be in this magazine, especially the kind of magazine we produce where the advertising is very well woven into the visuals,” says Riquett in the latest episode of AudioMag. “It’s not really in your face. So for the first [issue] we paid out of pocket. For the second one we recouped from sales and we had something to show the brands.”
Vancouver-based Hayo is published annually and was the 2017 winner of Best Niche / Special Interest Magazine at the Canadian Magazine Awards.
Hayo calls itself a magazine for dreamers, makers and wanderers. And it is a sumptuous delight for the eyes. It launched online in 2014, and published its first paper edition in 2015.
Riquett was very new to the field of not only publishing, but writing as well, when she first got Hayo off the ground. She signed up for a one-day travel writing workshop in 2012, and knew she wanted to try something different out of the gates.
“I had no experience. I was doing writing informally on the side but I was never in the business. I was doing project management of digital products like apps and social media campaigns and I was working in a creative agency,” she says. “What was interesting to me was to hear the perspective of different people on the destinations that we visit. Also as a travel writer I was having a problem pitching stories that were out of the norm. For example, 10 things to do here, or five things you can eat there. I didn’t want to write those types of stories.”
The themes of each issue emerge fairly organically via the stories that she and managing editor Tracy Stefanucci land on after assigning pitches from their roster of freelancers.
“We see what kinds of stories people are sending, and the way we know it’s going to work is we read it and it connects to something more personal,” she says. “And when we are thinking about a theme we are both thinking about how do we create a coherent storyline throughout all of the stories.”
AudioMag is produced by Tina Pittaway, an award-winning independent writer and broadcaster. Tina has been a contributor to CBC Radio and Television for more than 20 years. Her radio documentaries have been recognized with honours from the Canadian Association of Journalists, the Canadian Science Writers’ Association, the New York Festivals, Amnesty International and the Gabriel Awards. Visit Tina online to learn more about her work.
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