Niche Your Niche: Small Magazines Find New Revenue Streams by looking Within

Niche magazines know their niche. But most successful ones don’t just rely on what THEY think they know–they ask their readers what they want.


Niche your Niche! Here’s one real-world example on how a small magazine looked within and found great success.

Thriving niche magazines are also constantly searching for new ways to meet the needs of their evolving audience. These ideas have to make financial sense and make the readers happy a the same time.

How do you benefit your niche community AND create an additional revenue stream at the same time? [Read more…]

How to Work a Trade Show to Get More Ad Sales Prospects

The one thing that successfully working a trade show is NOT: Setting up a booth and sitting there, waiting for prospects to come by and talk with you. Find someone else for that job. To get the most out of your time as a sales person at a trade show, you need to be accessible, pro-active, and have a plan to renew contacts with clients and meet new prospects. Here’s how you do it:


Turn working a trade show into big success with these three tips.

3 tips for getting the most out of working a trade show

1.  Pre-show planning:  Get a list of exhibits—most shows have this posted on their web sites far in advance.  Put them into a spreadsheet and sort by booth numbers.  Fill in a column for known contacts and leave a blank column for notes. Highlight accounts you really want to see (include new prospects). [Read more…]

How the SF Giants and Baseball Can Make You A Better Niche Publisher

Every other Friday the Niche Media HQ gods let me write about any random thing I want to write about.

Carl and Sophie at the game

Raving fans Grand Poobah Carl and daughter Sophie having fun at AT&T ballpark.

So today you are lucky I am NOT writing about my new clams and mussels with linguine recipe, which I am also very excited about.

I went to a San Francisco Giants game on Wednesday, as almost three years ago I swore I would pay attention to and adore this team as part of my wedding vows.

It has occurred to me that baseball could be like running a niche magazine. I know it sounds like I’ve been brainwashed by Carl B. Landau, but bear with me:

It’s about teamwork, accomplishing goals and ultimately being successful, right?

Here’s 7 things I learn at SF Giants’ baseball games that could apply to Niche Publishing:

  • Stop. Take a deep breath. Observe those around you, including your competition.
  • Be enthusiastic about your team—buy the hat, wear the t-shirt! (Being a raving fan is really fun, too.)
  • Continually evaluate, play by play, what you are about to do, what you can do, what you ended up doing and how you can do it better next time. (Or become a cool radio announcer like Kruk.)
  • Share a hot dog. Well, at least invite a prospect or colleague to lunch once in a while.
  • Make sure you have a Pablo and a Pence on your ad sales team.  That’s all I’m sayin’.
  • Don’t skip spring training! Dedicate time every year to building your team’s skills.
  • Celebrate the home runs. [Read more…]

The Mobile Imperative: What Magazine Publishers can do TODAY to Optimize for Mobile

Eric Shanfelt

Eric Shanfelt, Sr. VP of eMedia at HarperCollins

50% of emails are read on mobile devices and 35% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices. These numbers are only going to grow, but is your publishing business optimized for this change? What does it mean to be mobile-optimized? Do you just need an app to be mobile-ready? We recently checked in with Eric Shanfelt, Senior VP of eMedia for the Christian publishing division of HarperCollins and a Niche Digital Conference speaker this fall, and we asked him to tell us why a mobile strategy is so important for niche publishers, how mobile impacts readership and revenue for their magazines, and what they can do NOW to be mobile-friendly:

NICHE: What are three things publishers can do right now to become more mobile-optimized?

Eric Shanfelt: The easiest thing niche publishers can do is to make sure their key employees—including their CEO and higher level decision makers—use a mobile device regularly. They especially should use their mobile devices to view their own website and emails…..this will really open their eyes! [Read more…]

Clever Email Personalization Goes a Long Way in the Ad Sales Game


Don’t hit “send” on that prospect email until you’ve taken time to research them!

Yesterday I got an email from a hotel salesperson who wanted us to use his resort for an upcoming niche event. His email subject line was “Free Burritos!” And he ended the email message with, “SMALL is the new big!”


I totally got it—he had actually read our last blog post about using “Free Burritos” in an email subject line to catch prospects’ attention. And he pulled the “SMALL is the new big!” from our About Us page.

The sales dude actually read our blog and website. This catapulted him to the top of the list of salespeople because he did a little research—BEFORE contacting me—and he totally personalized the email. The difference between personalizing your message vs. sending a generic ad sales message is like Day and Night.

Here’s 3 ad sales personalization tips for more effective email messages: [Read more…]

Niched Out Magazine of the Month: Primitive Quilts and Projects

Each month the team here at Niche Media picks an outstanding niche magazine to highlight. This month’s pick: Primitive Quilts and Projects, a quarterly magazine dedicated to the primitive quilter, rug hooker, and stitcher.  It is published by Homespun Media, LLC, a company owned by sisters Jeni Gaston, Gretchen Streeter, and Judy Williamson. Primitive Quilts and Projects Magazine Cover

Each issue features at least 15 projects by some of the most admired designers in the primitive fiber arts world.  Patterns and instructions for quilts, hooked rugs, wool appliqué, and other primitive crafts provide most of the content.  The look and feel of the magazine truly stands out…high-quality photography and must-make designs printed on on high-quality paper to make their featured projects shine.  They also highlight the charitable work that takes place in the quilting world, and their mother, Mary Falcsik writes a fun advice column in “Ask Mom.”

What are “primitive” quilts and projects? Gretchen Streeter explains: “Very simply, the word “primitive” just means un-trained.  So, primitive anything is just a very simply done project.  It doesn’t mean sloppy or unskilled…it just might not be geometric or proportionate.  The words “folk art” are often lumped in, and that brings images of home, hand-made and the simple things.  In our first issue, we asked all of the contributing designers to answer that question.  It was interesting to read different takes on the idea!” [Read more…]

3 MORE Things You’re Not Doing with Social Media (That You Actually Already Do)


Make social media for your magazine a breeze by incorporating what you already do.

Where do you fit in THE TIME to create more content AND use it to engage readers via social media?

I gave you three ways to do just that with things you and your editors already do in my previous post: 3 Things You’re Not Doing with Social Media (That You’re Actually Doing).

Here are 3 MORE existing content sources that you can draw upon to engage readers, re-purpose content, and give your publication a personal touch:

1) Share your readers’ content.

You’re already on Facebook, on Twitter, on Pinterest. Re-tweet, re-post/”like”, and re-pin your readers’ content. Then guess what? THEY will turn around and re-tweet, re-post, and re-pin THAT interaction. Convert your readers into advocates for you and your publication.

2) Share the Web.

You’re already a website visitor. A news browser. A pic clicker. Share what you like. It doesn’t have to be related to your publication, or even your pub’s area of interest. See a funny someEcard? Tweet it. Post an interesting news article on Facebook. Pin a cool photo. Don’t be afraid to give your magazine’s social media presence some personality! [Read more…]

Digital Media Mashup: News You Can Use for Your Niche Magazine!


We snagged some digital media updates for you.

Digital relates to just about ALL niche publications these days, doesn’t it?

Here are some recent Digital Media Updates for your niche magazine, all in one handy place in case you have been too crazy busy to do anything else except make phone calls, return one zillion emails and try to tackle that ever-growing “TO-DO” pile on your desk:


The Association of Magazine Media Moves Closer to Adopting Digital Standards
Good E-Reader (blog)
The Association of Magazine Media and the Alliance for Audited Media want to
facilitate a better road-map for digital publishers to produce more big data. They are making in-roads to adopt a series of standardizations for capturing user metrics and to implement a series of steps to attract advertisers.

Mag Bag: MAZ Gives Publishers Usage Data
MediaPost Communications [Read more…]

A Small – But Mighty – Nonprofit’s Publication Hits the Big Time with a New Subscription Plan


With Mequoda’s digital publishing know-how, this small nonprofit found new revenue in its publications.

One of several Mequoda Group nonprofit clients, The Biblical Archaeology Society was founded in 1974 as a nondenominational, educational organization dedicated to the study of archaeology in the Bible lands. In the 21st century, Mequoda has guided it to a brilliant strategy for monetizing its content online and generating entirely new revenues.

How? The Biblical Archaeological Society now offers not one, but two digital subscriptions. One is for its legacy print publication, Biblical Archaeology Review. And they manage to sell a healthy number of online magazine subscriptions at $19.95 for six issues per year.

The other subscription is for their massive library, including more than 6,600 articles from 35 years of Biblical Archaeology Review. The library even includes articles from two magazines they no longer even publish: 20 years’ worth of Bible Review and eight years of Archaeology Odyssey. That makes for a truly valuable product that appeals to researchers, scholars, archaeologists and Bible history aficionados. [Read more…]

Master Your Magazine’s Financials! Our 7-Part Cost Management Series Summed Up

Is carefully examining and monitoring a magazine’s financial operation the FUN part of publishing? Probably not—at least for most of us.


Jim’s 7 part-financial series will help you keep your biz profitable and on track.

But really knowing your numbers and understanding how they interplay will help you survive and thrive in today’s ever-changing publishing landscape.

By now you have most likely read our financial guru’s previous posts in our 7-part financial series. Jim Zielinski has shown you how to evaluate where your magazine is now and what important steps you can take to reduce costs and improve the bottom line for your business. We’d love to hear from publishers what other tactics they have used to reduce costs and make more efficient and profitable magazines. [Read more…]