Does Your Ad Sales Customer Database Include This Field? Maybe It Should.

Ad Sales pros need to know how to correctly pronounce prospects' names to be effective. Chris Ware gives us some pointers on how best to do that.

Ad Sales professionals need to know how to correctly pronounce prospects’ names to be effective in sales. Chris Ware gives us some pointers on how best to do that.

I was a December graduate from college.  This meant that I had a much smaller graduation ceremony than the rest of my classmates.  So small in fact that our class president called us each up to the stage, by name, to get our diplomas. The spotlight was on.

Then I remember my name being called out, clear as a bell. Christopher WAH-Ray.

My last name is Ware.  As in software, hardware, or as in kids in elementary school liked to remind me, underware.  This guy kinda ruined my graduation moment by pronouncing my name wrong. And my last name isn’t really hard to pronounce!

And then there’s first name issues…..Try calling an “Ahn-DRAY –ah”  instead “Ann-DREE-ah” and see how far that gets you on an ad sales call.

So what do you DO about all those people in your sales database with challenging, even crazy-sounding (to you) first and/or last names? [Read more…]

First-Ever Niche Webinar – Just for Niche Magazine Publishers!


In the spirit of trying new things that scare us a bit, we are hosting a first ever niche webinar.

You’ve got to get out of your comfort zone and try something new that scares you a little bit!

I don’t know if webinars scare me, but I’ve avoided them all my life.  I’ve signed up for a few and then lost interest pretty fast.

Maybe I was scared off when I got an aggressive sales phone call right after a webinar or maybe it’s something from my childhood.

Wait– webinars didn’t exist yet when I was a kid.

I had never seriously considered being a presenter for a webinar. Just my prejudice against the process…I’m a “live” event guy. Ironically I know webinars are real-time and interactive too, I had really never thought about it that way.

Well, guess what? I’m moving out of my comfort zone and we’re holding our first-ever niche webinar on July 11! I got interested when Mike Agron from WebAttract agreed to speak at our upcoming Niche Digital Conference Wide World of Webinars session. [Read more…]

Total Audience Marketing: Niche Publishers Need to Bundle Up to Increase Ad Revenue

Bundle up during the summer? How can that be?

Great news! Print is only a slice of your total audience now. And what does that mean for your niche magazine going forward?

It means that niche publishers are uniquely positioned to connect advertisers to audience by combining print, online, and social media audiences into one compelling buy


Holly Scott, Publisher of Mountain Living, tells us why creating integrated media packages will increase the bottom line.

We are pumped up to have Holly Scott, Publisher of Mountain Living, lead the 2013 Niche Digital Conference session Bundle This! Total Audience Marketing in October in Nashville.

This is exactly what Holly will talk about—how a “total audience marketing” approach (email marketing + social media + yes…print ads) can ramp up your revenue.  Here she shares with us some of her insights on using total audience marketing to increase ad buys and ad revenue.

Niche Media HQ: How do you define the “Total Audience Marketing” approach?

Holly Scott: In the last couple of years, we’ve called this approach “Reaching your Total Brand Audience”.  For instance, you can’t bake an incredible cake without all of the ingredients working together to give you that tasty final result. It is the same with Integrated Marketing. If you run a print ad without having a web presence, you’ve lost not only consumer momentum because they can’t find you on the web after seeing your ad, but you’ve also lost consumer confidence.  Intuitively, consumers’ perception is that you only exist in a singular way if you’re not active in all facets of your marketing. It’s a total holistic approach to marketing your business.

Niche Media HQ: What are ways that bundling integrated media packages can increase ROI? Can you give us a real-world success story?

Holly Scott: Thinking about integrated marketing packages makes me think of the ad slogan by Visa, “It’s everywhere you want to be.” It’s the perfect tag line to illustrate how we need to think about consumer marketing through various media platforms.

It’s all about consumer behavior. Your print readers become your web visitors and become your fans and followers. In order to get that return on investment, you have to think about how consumers are interacting with products and services in this new media world. If advertisers don’t, someone else will get the business.

A few years back, ML magazine built a Dream Home from start to finish, we featured the architectural plans, design build, construction process, interior design selections in every issue of our magazine for 18 months. For the final issue, we produced an entire edition of the publication devoted to the Dream Home. During this process an ML reader had been following the coverage in print/online, and ended up purchasing that multi-million dollar home!

Niche Media HQ: What are some ways publishers can help Media Buyers better understand the value they will get from bundling their media programs?

Holly Scott: Ask them– What types of media do they interact with during a 24-hour period? 99% of the time their answer is: magazines, newspapers, tablet, mobile device, TV, email, blogs, etc. Then you can paint a picture about consumers buying patterns and how they need to build their marketing approach through a web of media channels. If you’re only advertising through one type of medium, you’ll be missing out on a much greater audience. Then the conversation turns to budget, and we devise a tailored program to achieve their marketing goals. 

Niche Media HQ: What existing or new media will be bundled in packages by 2015? What do you see as significant trends to watch? How will they change up what we do now?

Holly Scott: Video, Custom Apps, continued focus on Social content marketing, social listening, social reputation dashboards, etc.

Niche Bonus Question: What is your favorite guilty pleasure food?

Holly Scott: Rocky Road ice cream!

Bottom line for niche publishers: Learning the art of how to best integrate your media program offerings to advertisers leads to increased revenue. Questions or comments about bundling? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.

About Holly: Holly Scott has been Publisher at Mountain Living since 2003 and in 2012 was named VP Sales & Marketing for the Home Design Division of Network Communications, Inc. along with her role as Group Publisher for both Mountain Living and Colorado Homes & Lifestyles. She brings 17 years of experience to the publishing industry. Prior to her Publisher role at Mountain Living, Holly was the Ad Director at Mountain Living, Log & Timber Style, To the Trade, Westword/New Times Publishing, and sold print media solutions for C2Media.


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!

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


Ad Sales Pros–PLEASE Pick up the Damn Phone!


This antique-looking thing does the same thing a smart phone can do–it enables ad sales pros to actually call their prospects.

I was just in the middle of 3 potential sponsorship sales last week. The same thing occurred with all of them. A loooong string of emails developed, back and forth and back and forth, with each potential client.

Ever start one of those never-ending chains and wonder how the heck you ended up where you are now, without a sale yet and with lots of extra confusion?

So I did something totally CRAZY in the 2013 ad sales world. I picked up the phone and called them.

Even crazier was the fact that 2 out of the 3 prospects answered—and were happy I called!

So what happened next? I sold both of them a program and saved a ton of time.

I believe the #1 problem ad sales people have today is they rely too much on email. I get the email prospecting thing. I do it myself. It’s easy for you and it’s easy for the prospect.
BUT— [Read more…]

StepMom Magazine – Create Community for Your Readers!

StepMom CoverEvery month we highlight a great niche magazine. This month’s pick:StepMom Magazine. Publisher Brenda Ockun has created a community of stepmoms and a magazine created by stepparents – from authors to cover models!

StepMom Magazine is an online, monthly publication that speaks to any woman living with, engaged, or married to someone who has children from a prior relationship.  Although it is estimated that over 15 million women in the United States meet this criteria, stepmoms were a virtually ignored group until the magazine’s launch in 2009.

Brenda Ockun, a stepmom and corporate marketing executive, started the niche publication out of frustration when her own search for advice and information on stepfamily dynamics fell short. Realizing that the divorce rate for second marriages significantly exceeds that of first marriages, Ockun envisioned the publication would become a way for stepfamilies to educate themselves on universal challenges in an effort to build strong families who could beat the statistics.

The magazine covers a wide range of topics on everything from parenting to interpersonal dynamics to problems with ex-spouses and societal stigmas. It is written by a team of experts including licensed therapists, certified stepfamily professionals, lawyers, freelancers and published authors. All of the magazine’s writers are also members of stepfamilies. [Read more…]

Dairy Foods Magazine Kicks Up Branding and Revenue with Contests

May cover

Jim Carper of Dairy Foods magazine tells us how they increased reader engagement, brand awareness and revenue with a successful contest program.

This is a part of Niche Media HQ’s Summer of Niche Magazines. We’ll be featuring niche magazines and their great ideas all summer long!

Who: Jim Carper, Editor in Chief

B2B Publication:  Dairy Foods Magazine

Great Idea: Create a contest program to expand your brand and ramp up revenue.

In Jim’s own words:

“We developed a “best new dairy products of the year” contest that drove traffic to the website, bumped up social media activity and even inspired one contestant to create a contest of their own.”

“How did we do it? The editors selected 25 great new dairy products introduced in 2012. We selected 10 as the Editors’ Choice. We also invited visitors to vote for their favorites among all 25 nominees, including a People’s Choice category.” [Read more…]

L.A. Parent’s Training Wheels Come Off

June 2013 LAParent CoverIn the Los Angeles area, L.A. Parent is all things family. From what to do on weekends to raising children with special needs, L.A. Parent provides families with educational and entertaining content. The award-winning publication recently found itself under new management and in need of an integrated CRM software solution to grow with it.

When Ron Epstein purchased the company in December 2012, he was already familiar with The Magazine Manager® from a former publishing role. He needed to lead their magazine, digital edition and National Parenting Publication Awards into the 21st century. What sealed the deal was The Magazine Manager’s integration with QuickBooks for invoicing. [Read more…]

Ditch the Sales Pitch and Learn the Art of Quality Conversation


Ditch the sales pitch! Learn the art of quality conversation and get better results.

To stay abreast of the latest in ad sales training, I often listen in on other sales coaches to learn and observe. It seems to me that there sometimes seems to be a lack of common sense in what is being taught today.

For example, the entire idea that you need the perfect pitch or you need to perfect your pitch is so misguided that I am amazed that people still try and teach this approach to selling.

Pitching the product?  Huh? 

Ask yourself this… do you like it when a sales person pitches to YOU?  If your answer is yes… seek help.  If your answer is no (!), then you are pretty darn normal.

Advertisers are just normal people who are often confused by the blizzard of advertising options being presented.  And often these options are presented by poorly trained ad sales people wanting to talk about the product features, advantages, benefits of their media offerings, then get to the soft close, then get to the hard close, blah, blah, blah. Don’t do this! [Read more…]

My Rate Card Can Beat Up Your Rate Card!


Jeff Bruss knows how to stick to his rate card!

As 10-year-old boys growing up in northern Wisconsin, my neighbor and I would often discuss whose dad could most likely beat up the other’s, usually after arguing over a game-winning shot on our driveway basketball hoop.

This has nothing to do with advertising, but it has a lot to do with how you structure your rates. The degree to which we choose to stick to our rate card is an age-old debate among publishers. The great majority of us have some flexibility in our rates, allowing salespeople to determine how bad we want that last quarter-page advertisement through discounts steeper than the smiley face offers at WalMart.

We don’t negotiate our rates at COLE Publishing. That’s not to say we don’t offer discounts, — we do offer them for frequency and early payment — but we don’t stray from our rate card at any time, for anyone. Most of you may be snickering right now, scoffing at the money we’ve foregone by not knowing when to swallow our pride and let some agency beat us up for one last insertion. But here’s what I’ve learned over the past decade of standing behind this no-negotiation philosophy: [Read more…]

Wanda the Amazing Pug’s Summer Reading List for Niche Magazine Publishers

Wanda Summer

Wanda is much more excited about her new summer wear than she appears in this photo. Trust us. Well, at least you can trust us about this summer reading list.

Wanda doesn’t really read, but she is poised for fun in the sun and a rockin’ tiki party this summer.

And since it’s Free-for-all Friday, we (and Wanda) thought would share with you some of our favorite go-to’s for what all niche publishers need: cool ideas and inspiration for great content.

Seth Godin, CEO of and author of 14 bestsellers, including Purple Cow, Linchpin, and The Icarus Deception.

His latest post is about handy dandy online tools to make your life easier. Check out this handful of nifty resources – for everything from taking the pain out of reviewing resumes to finding creative commons photos.

Dave Pell is a savvy, snarky storyteller who also happens to curate the latest news stories out there and brings together some of the best, in our humble opinion. Yes, it’s free.


[Read more…]