Stay on Track in 2013: Wanda the Amazing Pug’s Publisher Check-Up



Wanda with glasses.photo

Wanda is concerned about how your magazine is doing. And when she gets the next dog treat.

Wanda wonders—how ARE you doing?  At the beginning of the year, we let Wanda the Amazing Pug and her unbridled enthusiasm be an inspiration for magazine publishers in 2013.  We were inspired to set our goals, prioritize those goals, reach out to those who matter, and learn to look at our business in new ways.

So now it is the first day of the new month of March and a GREAT time to take a moment and evaluate where we are relative to the our January 2013 objectives. Because our niche magazine world is comprised of B2C, B2B and Association Magazines, our goals and the measurements of those goals vary greatly.

But we can focus on these three areas to keep on track with goals:

FINANCIAL UPDATE:  Review the actuals with the budgeted numbers. The first 2 months analysis is important. Figure out what projects are more profitable and areas you can cut costs. You constantly need to be looking at your financials and adjust your strategy to what’s really happening. To help with the process, we’ll be running an article on cutting costs for your magazine every Thursday in March. [Read more…]

50 Revenue Ideas for Niche Magazine Publishers



We asked the 2013 Niche Magazine Conference attendees to share the best revenue strategies for niche magazine publishers that they learned at the event. Here are 50 of the best! Do you have a great idea that isn’t on this list? Tell us about it in the comments!

Implementing even one new idea can have a HUGE return! Have fun with 50!

Implementing even one new idea can have a HUGE return! Have fun with 50!

1. The world of media has changed – embrace new technology by doing everything. Try out every new social media outlet to see what works for your business and be an educating source for marketers.

2. Create new content for your website, not just regurgitated material from your print magazine. This gives people a reason to constantly return to your website, thus creating more traffic for online advertisements.

3. Create spec ads for potential advertisers to boost close rates. Ask reps to submit one per month.

4. Not all magazines are created equal in terms of advertising rates. A family magazine won’t be able to charge as much per thousand as a B2B or doctor’s magazine. Take that into account in your overall advertising strategy.

5. Make a content calendar for your website (editorial calendar on steroids) that contains everything from blogs to video. Strategically plan your online content while taking into account what has been successful in the past. [Read more…]

Better Ad Sales Through Creativity: “Buy an Ad. Get a Cat.”



In the 1980’s, I ran an in-house ad in my nerdy Computer Language magazine titled, “Buy an Ad. Get a Cat.”  My 15 minutes of fame from this ad has lasted for over 30 years.

buy an ad, get a cat

The original buy an ad, get a cat in-house ad from Computer Language

To this day, I literally get asked hundreds of times a year about “that cat thing.”  Since then I’ve inspired many of my Camp Niche ad sales trainees to rip off the idea for their own magazines: “Buy an Ad. Get  a… Horse, Ant Farm, Brother-in-law, Lobster..”– you name it.  And my wonderful conference attendees have also stolen and substituted what they’re hawking for my original cat give-away promotion with great results.

Now, I’m not going to go into the whole “cat story” here.  Hey, for the full, uncut version you need to attend one of our Camp Niche Ad Sales Trainings.  Don’t take it personally, I’ve got rabbis and priests that ask what it means and I won’t spill my guts about it.  But what I WILL share with YOU is the great idea behind it.

90% of today’s ad salespeople are too vanilla and boring. They call up and ask: “How are you doing? How’s the ad working? Did you get the media kit?” Then the conversation ends right there. (By the way, do media buyers eat these kits?  What do they really do with them, anyway?)

You need to do something to separate yourself from the pack of dull ad sales people to get noticed, be remembered, and connect with media buyers.  Here are some examples: [Read more…]

How to Boost Magazine Ad Sales While Maintaining Editorial Boundaries



In this niche digital magazine/blog/e-newsletter world, the lines  between editorial and advertising can get blurred very quickly. Authenticity can turn into a fake girlfriend overnight, if you will.

Last October we featured 20 big ideas in 20 days from the Niche Magazine Community. Many of you who submitted entries emphasized, quite passionately, how important it is to maintain those boundaries between editorial and advertising. Yet few shared how they actually do it – and how other publishers can do it. Setting editorial boundaries is something all publishers struggle with – The Atlantic‘s recent advertorial fiasco is one recent high profile example. Advertorial can be a big money-maker, but not if it comes at the cost of losing your credibility with your readers.

Find inner peace by creating a strategy to manage the needs of advertising and editorial

Find inner peace by creating a strategy to manage advertising and editorial boundaries

Nicole Durham, Publisher of the Oil & Gas Financial Journal, tells us that they have carefully maintained the right boundaries between editorial and advertising by taking a more holistic approach. She explains: “While the past has set the precedent for maintaining a church and state relationship between marketing and editorial, OGFJ recognizes the significance of the role of the advertiser, editor, publication, and branding as a whole. They have all evolved and we must reposition firms based on their area of expertise as opposed to standard advertising.

OFGJ targets top oil and gas executives, financial executives within the oil and gas community, oil and gas service/supply firms, analysts, and investors and taps into all that industry wisdom. What’s the result of the magazine’s repositioning strategy for their advertisers?  These types of partnership “packages” have opened the door for new revenue-generating opportunities and created new successes for their clients. It has also enhanced and expanded the perception of OGFJ within the industry as a top resource for thought leadership.

Kudos to OGFJ for making sure their editorial lines are clear while increasing ad sales at the same time.  Not so easy, as many of you know. What real-world strategies have helped your niche magazine keep clear editorial boundaries while improving ad sales at the same time? Yes, it can be done.  Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

How to Prepare for that First Call to a New Ad Sales Prospect



We’re all nervous making that first sales call to a prospective client. Will they like me?  Will they be interested?  Will they hang up? (What, are we in 4th grade calling a girl for the first time?) Who knows. That’s what makes it so exciting!

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Make the right first impression on that first prospect call.

But, to take some of the fear and anxiety out of the equation (and get better results!), here’s an idea: How about being ready?

Before you make that first call to a new prospect you should do these two things:

  1. Be familiar with their current print and online ads.
  2. Have a sense of who their “target audience” is and get an idea of the company’s philosophy/vibe by visiting their company…

               – Website
               – Facebook page
               – Twitter page
               – LinkedIn Page (see if you have any connections to the prospect)

This research should take all of 10 minutes, but it has a huge impact on your ad sales success. Now when you actually talk to a prospect or send an email to them you will at the very least be able to show some knowledge of the company and the product or service they’re marketing.

This seems like just the basics, I know, but doing this actually separates you from 95% of “the great unwashed” ad sales people who want to sell prospects ads without knowing anything about their markets or what their companies actually do.  Meanwhile,  YOU can actually have a meaningful conversation about how to help them get the most benefit from advertising with you. That’s something the prospect actually wants.  I’m just saying.

 

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

Improve ROI with Mobile Marketing



Mobile Marketing has grabbed the spotlight. Not convinced? How does jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon improve your profits?  Facebook‘s Mark Zuckerberg knows how. Check out their latest remarkable  Jan 2013 stats.

And here’s more numbers to chew on:

  • The number of US mobile coupon users will rise from 12.3 million in 2010 to 53.2 million in 2014, driven by the rapid adoption of smartphones. (Source: eMarketer, 2013)
  • Retailers’ apps take up the most of consumers’ time at 27%, followed by online marketplace at 20%, purchase assistance at 17%, price comparison at 14%, and daily deals at 13%. (Source: AdMedia Partners, 2013)
  • Consumers spent six times as much time in retailers’ apps in December compared to a year earlier. (Source: Flurry, 2013)
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Expand your audience with mobile marketing strategies that work.

Maybe you have already determined that you need to make sure mobile marketing fits within the overall business strategy for your niche publication. From apps to mobile only content to mobile ads, it is important to understand how mobile can translate into long-term sales success. Regan Fletcher, VP of Business Development at News360  and one of our esteemed Niche Digital Conference speakers in 2012, has consulted with niche publishers about their mobile marketing strategies–how to create one from scratch, why their existing strategy is not working, how to improve ROI, etc.

“First and foremost, think about a more significant percentage of mobile’s contribution to your overall revenue,” he advises. “The key paths to free monetization are by creating mobile ads and apps. You can and should offer subscription incentives, sponsorships, segment and event apps.” And once your mobile marketing program is a well, fine-tuned machine, make sure you spend some time promoting those cool new apps.

Addition: to see how important mobile apps can be in monetizing your magazine, consider the case of The Magazine (that really is its name!) – 25,000 subscribers, authors are paid, and no advertising, but it still turns a profit just off of the $1.99 app store download for each issue!

How has YOUR niche magazine learned to get the most bang for buck with mobile marketing programs?  Tell us and the niche magazine world on Facebook or Twitter.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

Image from freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

Six Types of Research that Make You an Ad Sales Ace



You need to become an expert researcher if you want to stand out from the crowd. Providing solid, usable data sets you apart from your competitors while providing a valuable service to your clients.

Here are some surefire ways from ad sales pro Nancy O’Brien to dive into the ocean of research out there and give your clients the research they need to make waves:ID-10046440

Circulation

It’s important to have written evidence of your readership, whether  it’s through circulation audits, Publisher’s sworn statements, actual postage receipts and print receipts. Ad Sales is about selling through data.

Readership Studies

Conduct periodic but consistent readership studies to define what sections readers like best and what determines how long they spend engaged with your publication.  The right questions will help you determine how much advertising recall the readers have, what other publications they read and gives you a good profile of readership habits.

BraID-10047253nd Perception Studies

In house studies can easily be done with an online survey tool like Survey Monkey.  (That’s not Survey Monkey’s monkey at left. I just couldn’t resist inserting a cute little monkey.)  You can do these for both the readers and the advertisers. Surveys or studies studies measure your readers’ and/or advertisers’ perceptions about a particular product/service. Brand perception studies can be third party or in-house–just don’t be afraid to look in that mirror.

Benchmarking Studies

Benchmarking studies are generally used at the beginning of a new campaign in your publication and should be done again at 12 and 18 months. It’s a useful measurement tool to learn about readers’ evolving knowledge about a product or service. Plus it helps your advertisers learn about their perceived strengths and weakness to better understand and then build a campaign around those perceptions.

Focus Groups

Ideally you want no more than 10 -1 5 participants to be moderated and video or audio taped. Focus groups give far more detail than a written survey and allows for clarifying questions by the moderator as well as other participants.

Hot tip: Conduct one in conjunction with next event where several readers are at the same place at the same time.

Market Research

You can do market research yourself on an ongoing basis to provide your customers with market trends. It doesn’t have to be about that specific widget they want to advertise–it can be a product line, service, industry trend or about marketing in general. As long as your client can use the information. Using search engines gives you data. Often the search feature on your own website is a goldmine of data.

Six ways to become an Research Expert in record time.  Are you ready?  Tell us the crafty ways you research for your clients on  Facebook or Twitter.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

 

Images from freedigitalphotos.net

2013 Nichee Magazine Award Winners Announced!



We love niche magazines and their publishers so much that seven years ago we made an award just for them: The Nichee Award!

Nichee Awards capture the spirit of niche magazines and recognize the creative talents of the very best niche publishers. Judges take into account the size of each magazine’s market and the needs of the specific niche it serves to create a level playing field. These magazines all do what they do well, find innovative ways of serving readers, and find creative ways to generate revenue.

We had an outstanding group of magazines this year and gave a record seven awards this year!  Here are this year’s winners and what makes them great:

Nichee Award winners

2013 Nichee Magazine Award Winners!

Business-to-Business Category

We had a tie between Process and Multi-Unit Franchisee for Best Niche B2B Magazine.

Process is beautifully designed and printed, but it is more than just a pretty face –  it combines innovative design with solid content for its readers.

Process magazine

Process Magazine

Multi-Unit Franchisee does a great job of talking to the day-to-day needs of its audience. It delivers solid business information, profiles, and case studies with concrete, real-world examples.

Multi-Unit Franchisee

Multi-Unit Franchisee Magazine

Business-to-Consumer Category

We recognized three Consumer magazines – each with a different focus.

Best Niche Consumer Lifestyle Magazine: VegNews. Our judges’ comment after reviewing this vegan lifestyle magazine: “they do everything right.”

VegNews

VegNews Magazine

Best Niche Consumer City/Regional Magazine: CHARLIE: Celebrating Progressive Culture in Charleston. This magazine has a great interplay between digital and print. It started as an online-only magazine and then made the jump to print with art-house quality, long shelf life special issues without duplicating content. Both the print and digital versions are solid resources for anyone living in Charleston, SC.

CHARLIE - ReadCharlie.com

CHARLIE magazine

Best Niche Consumer Hobbyist Magazine: Bird Watcher’s Digest. This magazine combines great content, compelling photography, and a pocket-sized form factor that’s just right for its audience.

Bird Watcher's Digest

Bird Watcher’s Digest

Wildcard Categories

Sometimes we want to recognize a magazine for a particular outstanding feature. This year we had to give a shout out to both Marions-Nous and Lawn & Garden Tractor.

Best ROI Strategy: Marions-Nous – Let’s Get Married. From packaging to production values to sheer, overwhelming volume of ad pages, this regional wedding publication makes a statement to advertisers and readers.

Marions-Nous / Let's Get Married

Marions-Nous / Let’s Get Married

Extreme Niche: Lawn & Garden Tractor. Just when you think you’ve addressed the smallest audience possible, you find a finer slice. We encourage target interest publishers to “niche their niche”, and L&GT is a perfect example – Ertel Publishing also publishes Antique Power and Vintage Truck.

Lawn & Garden Tractor

Lawn & Garden Tractor magazine

The Nichee Awards party was held at Gordon Biersch in Tempe, AZ on February 13, 2013 – the final day of the Niche Magazine Conference. Many thanks to Quad Graphics for sponsoring the great awards party!

Don’t Look Now, But Social Media’s More Mainstream Than Ever Before



The story:  Facebook fatigue is settling in: 27% of U.S. Facebook users plan to spend less time on the site in 2013, according to a study from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. (See the study.)

The reality:  Facebook isn’t fading away. For starters, 69% of Facebook users surveyed in the same Pew study say they plan to spend ticon_facebook30x30he same amount of time on the site this coming year. And the study notes the “vast majority (92%) of all social networking site users maintain a profile on Facebook.”

Speaking of staying power, Twitter just inked a big deal with American Express. That’s right, the short-form social media site twitter-icon30x30that everyone used to mock for its trivial posts just signed a deal with the mainstream financial services company that allows Twitter users to buy products for the first time directly on the service.

icon_linkedin30x30 LinkedIn,  which already has proven to be the strongest of the social media companies when it comes to stock performance,  recently extended its uninterrupted streak of exceeding analysts’ projections for both earnings and revenue. Read more.

Tumblr And Tumblr, the fast-growing blogging platform that last fall stormed into the top 10 for traffic among all sites, just added a “notifications” feature that figures to make it more addictive than ever.

It’s not just these sites that are drawing intense interest.There’s also Pinterest, Instagram, Google+ and a host of others, with more social media competitors surely on the way.  PinterestInstagramGoogle plus 30x30

Previous Pew Internet surveys illustrate the increasing pervasiveness of Social Media. In September of 2009, for example, 47% of online adults used social networking sites. Today 69% of online adults — more than half of the entire adult population in the United States — use an online social network. On a typical day nearly half of all adult internet users access a social networking site.

So no matter how strong your print product might be, it’s time to take a close look at how you can use (or expand your use) of Social Media. The future is now. What’s your plan for 2013? Share what works with us and niche magazine world on Facebook or Twitter.

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Joe Rassenfoss Mug Shot   Author Joe Rassenfoss owns R&R Media, which specializes in social media. Contact him at joe@joerassenfoss.com

 

Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ

 

Images from freedigitalphotos.net

 

 

How to Create a Video Strategy that Engages Readers



You may remember our “20 for 20” profiles last October, where we asked niche magazine publishers to share their one big idea that has contributed to the success of their magazine. We had over 500 responses that very first day and it was really hard to choose only 20 magazines to feature—especially with so many innovative ideas and publishing wisdom in our niche-y world.

Supply Chain BrainFast forward now to Kelly B. Keller, VP of Marketing for SupplyChainBrain. She has a BIG idea to share:

  • PUBLICATION: SupplyChainBrain, B2B, both print and digital, bi-monthly, qualified circulation only
  • TARGET: High level executives concerned with managing risk, aligning the supply chain with corporate planning, achieving competitive advantage, balancing customer demands with the need to control cost and improving the bottom line.
  • BIG IDEA:  VIDEO.

From a tiny seed, an empire has grown. About 5 years ago, SuppplyChainBrain began producing 10-minute video interviews with industry thought leaders. They started first at industry analysts’ offices, then expanded to video shoots at a couple of industry events. “Our video library now contains over 1,000 video interviews with industry professionals and thought leaders from all over the globe,” Kelly tells us.  “We also partner with 20+ events throughout the year to produce video interviews of speakers, delegates, and Event Directors at each conference.”  SupplyChainBrain then expanded their video offerings to include “Power Lunch” Roundtables videos and have developed a “Custom Shoot” package for clients that is produced either at their HQ or at their dedicated user conferences.

Now the magazine has taken their video strategy to the next level by including a TV Program that will play on the dark channels at event hotels during conferences.  The program is a customized montage of excerpts from select videos in our 2012 library.  It includes an intro from the Event Director, slides highlighting various “do not miss” activities, receptions, speaker presentations, etc. taking place during the conference. It also features commercials from advertisers/sponsors. Attendees are notified upon check-in to tune into the designated channel at their hotel. This approach creates additional advertising opportunities for exclusive sponsorship and for more customized forms of creative messaging.

What ways are YOU making the most out of video in 2013? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Plus, Carl Landau – Niche Media’s Grand Poobah – just launched a blog all about creating and marketing targeted events – blog.NicheEventNation.com  Check it out!

– Twitter: @NicheMediaHQ
– Facebook: NicheMediaHQ
– LinkedIn: Niche Media Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ