How Do I Become a Circulation Director?

Lainie Petersen
Lainie Petersen
Man with hands on his hips
Man with hands on his hips

If you want to become a circulation director for a magazine or newspaper, you will typically need many years of experience working in the publishing industry. Ideally, you should have experience in various aspects of circulation management, including copywriting, marketing campaign development and newsstand promotions and sales. You should also have a strong understanding of new media advertising, social media and online marketing techniques. Many publishers will want you to hold at least a bachelor's degree in marketing or communications, but some may insist that you have a master's degree before you can become a circulation director. You should also have strong management skills as well as the ability to work with different departments and teams within your company.

Circulation director duties vary by employer, but a circulation director is typically responsible for overseeing the sales and marketing of a publication. Depending on the types of distribution channels utilized by a publisher, this may include the promotion of mail-order subscriptions as well as online subscriptions and newsstand sales. After you become a circulation director, you will also be responsible for developing performance metrics for the publication or publications that you market and determining which types of marketing efforts are most successful. As you determine whether a marketing effort is successful or not, you will also be expected to maintain or increase its effectiveness over time. You will likely supervise several employees or managers and will be responsible for negotiating with third-party vendors of necessary services, such as newsstand distribution and the production of marketing materials.

Since the work of a circulation director is quite comprehensive, you will need to work in several different areas of publishing so that you can develop knowledge of how publications are run and the various aspects of marketing them to the public. If you are currently in school, or planning to start school, obtaining a bachelor's degree in marketing is likely a good idea. Another option may be getting a degree in communications or you may even look at taking courses in online marketing and new media. Try and get an internship working for publishing company while you are still in school. Once you graduate, try to get an entry-level job in the circulation department of a magazine or newspaper.

As you continue in your career, try taking on new responsibilities in various areas of circulation management so as to better prepare to become a circulation director. It is often useful to learn about marketing copywriting, as well as how to read and understand reports. Take the time to interact with members of other departments in the company, as these relationships, particularly with the editorial department, are key to developing a sound marketing strategy for publication. These relationships, combined with industry and marketing knowledge, can greatly increase your chances of eventually becoming a circulation director.

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