Say What? Don’t Let Business Jargon Get In the Way of Communication!



Huh?

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This niche magazine professional has heard “raise the bar” and “game-changer” one too many times!

Whether you work for a smallish B2C magazine or a hefty association or a mega-B2B corporation, mind-numbing industry/business jargon can creep into your daily vernacular. And possibly into your brain if you’re not careful.

Have any of you out there ever had to attend a 2-hour-plus “All Hands Meeting” in order to get some “takeaways” that you need to “circle back” on. Don’t forget to identify the “low-hanging fruit!”

And all you are really thinking about in that meeting is all the emails crowding your inbox for the next 2 hours and you really hope the lunch is decent this time and not some soggy sorry sandwich from the local sub shop that sat too long. [Read more…]

SEO Strategies and Resources for Niche Media Companies



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Learn more about how to get the most out your website links with Ethan’s list of great resources.

Web Wiz Ethan Smith of Yummly was a very popular speaker at our recent Niche Digital Conference in Nashville. Here are some handy highlights from his presentation, SEO Gangnam Style.

Ethan wowed the crowd with his simple, straight forward answers on questions from the audience about……links:

1. How do I place internal links on my website?

The most important thing to remember: Links on your pages help Google find all your pages. You can use related posts, link within a post to related posts, related categories, breadcrumbs and tags.

 2. How do I place external links on my website?

The more people link to you, the higher your pages appear in Google search, the more traffic you get. Link building means getting other websites to link to your website.

Some Google link building strategies can even include friends and family, your network, other websites you know. Avoid bad link building strategies: Link widgets, link directories, paying people for links.

Ethan also kindly gave us a list of great resources to learn even more and get the most out of your website’s link strategy. Do you even have a link strategy for your website? Think about it.

Ethan Smith’s List of Great Resources:

Matt Cutts Blog

Google Webmaster Blog

Search Engine Land

SEOMoz

Google Webmaster Help

Google Trends

Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Bing Keyword Research

Alexa

Google link schemes guideline

Web Developer’s SEO Cheat Sheet 2.0

SEO Moz tools

Google Webmaster Tools

Cool list, huh? Your welcome!

If you want to see all of Ethan’s presentation slides from the conference, here you go:

NDC 2013 – SEO Gangnam Style

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Diana Landau, Niche Content WranglerAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is Content Wrangler of Niche Media. A former corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast who sometimes gets carried away.

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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

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4 Strategies for Ad Sales Success



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Here is Part 2 of Ryan’s 4 Ad Sales Truths.

Last week I talked about the 4 Universal Ad Sales Truths You Should Know. This week I am going to discuss them in more detail and give you some ways to overcome the challenges we all face in the ad sales game.

1. People don’t do business with strangers.  Most of us have been taught since we were little, “Don’t talk to strangers!” This age-old directive guides the way people think as adults and as buyers of products and services.  For me, ad sales success came when I realized that in each phase of the sales process, I needed to inject information that was relevant and personal to the person to whom I was pitching. Otherwise, I would just be met with the standard, cold “I don’t know you, so why should I even talk to you, let alone trust you?”

To that end, before I make even my first prospecting sales call, I research LinkedIn®, Facebook® and the Internet for helpful information about my prospect that will help me soften up the prospects’ “stranger danger” mindset.  I also think of some details from my own personal life that I can share. For example, maybe the prospect and I went to the same college or we both love horses. Take some time to find some common ground that will make everyone at ease at the first point of contact. Every email and every voice mail allows me the opportunity to prove that I am relevant, vs scary or a time-sucker– and I let them know that their success is paramount to me. [Read more…]

Think Local! Community Partnerships = Brand Awareness for Food & Spirits Magazine



We ran a “Summer of Niche” series a few months ago, highlighting some of the best submitted great ideas to share” with our niche publishing world. Omaha’s B2C Food & Spirits Magazine started up a new educational, community based-program this year to expand their brand awareness and the magazine’s community involvement. We featured F&S in one of our July posts–How to Create a Successful Community Partnership.

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Niche magazines can develop community-based programs to expand brand awareness AND for tangible results.

The magazine had worked closely with the high school’s journalism and culinary departments that resulted in win-win-win results for everyone involved. When students and teachers at Benson High School in Omaha, Nebraska returned from summer hiatus, Food & Spirits Magazine had a surprise waiting for them: There was a full two-page spread on the high school’s culinary department in their latest issue, written with the help of the journalism students.

Journalism teacher Justine Garman said her students got a special opportunity to be involved with a professional experience that can be difficult to find for high school students. “Working with Food & Spirits Magazine was fantastic,” Justine said. “To be given a chance to publish work as a high school student is rare.  It was really eye-opening for them to see how quickly magazine pages come together and all of the work that goes into creating them.”

The students also got a chance to experience a different side of journalism. “It gave my journalism students a chance to put their knowledge to work and it gave our culinary classes a place to shine,” Justine explained. “It also gave me a chance to show my students that there is more to journalism then just being on ESPN.  This is something that they can do as a career.”

For struggling culinary program instructor Ronda Bruggeman and her students, it was a chance to be shown in a positive and motivating way. “All too often the media picks up the negative things associated with our high school. I just loved the opportunity for other teachers, staff, students and families to hear about our culinary program. I love seeing how proud the family members of the students portrayed in the magazine are,” said Ronda.

For Food & Spirits Magazine the experience also produced tangible benefits. “It was a really nice and unique way for us to work within our community with an engaged audience that we don’t often dedicate enough coverage. Our advertisers have responded favorably as well,” said Erik. “Seeing how proud the students, teachers and families were felt great and it speaks to the very heart of community-based journalism – we’ll keep doing this for the foreseeable future.”

Erik also tells us that new visitor traffic to the mag’s website has seen a 23% jump since they started this new community program.

F&S’s new program is proof positive and local and regional magazines can make a huge difference in their community. Kudos!

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Diana Landau, Niche Content WranglerAbout this blogger: Diana Landau is Content Wrangler of Niche Media. A former corporate marketing hack, she has now found nirvana in writing and wrangling quality content. Diana is a food, wine, art and SF Giants enthusiast who sometimes gets carried away.

 

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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

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5 List Building Tips to Expand Your Ad Sales Universe



The very nature of niche publishing may continue to lift us out of the black hole that has engulfed larger, more broad-based traditional publishers. So let’s talk about expanding our universe.

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You can expand your universe and build your prospect list with these 5 tips from Erich Berger.

One thing we know for sure is that the ad sales universe has changed quite a bit since 2008.  We also know we aren’t quite up to warp speed yet.

As an online ad sales manager, you have to use techniques that embody the qualities of the telescope (macro) and the microscope (micro).

You have identified each and every possible endemic target within your niche.  Now it’s time for the particle theory to come together – locating the specific contacts and contact information to efficiently launch your advertising sales program.

Train your salespeople to research like astronomers, not just star-gazers, by employing the 5 following tactics: [Read more…]

Preparing Your “Maximum Return” Financial Package for Selling Your Media Company



We often discuss with an owner the Six Keys to achieving the highest and best valuation. These involve: 1) employee talent, 2) operations, 3) financials, 4) products, 5) all-important market perceptions, and 6) the components of valuation. Today we’ll explore Key 3:  Finances.

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Here is Michael’s Key #3 on how to prepare the financial package before you your media company.

        1.  A successful presentation may require adapting your financial reports, and including ample explanatory notes and reconciliations.

Like so much in life, in selling a business, you get one chance to make a great first impression.  So, make sure you are making that impression accurately, while also accentuating all your positives.

In particular, financial statements for a niche media business often need to be organized differently to be effective in a sale.  For example, owner-operated businesses prepare annual financials for tax purposes; however, these do not illustrate profitability very accurately.  And, financials usually do not provide metrics on a divisional or product basis.

Be prepared to provide P&Ls by business unit or by asset, with relevant comparisons to prior years.  Moreover, if like many owners, you spend a lot of time in December pre-paying expenses for the coming year, be sure to categorize these pre-paid items clearly.  Your pro forma analysis can attribute these costs to their proper periods.  This will correct your annual operating profit (or “EBITDA,” more on that later), to its appropriate level.

Alternatively, niche businesses held within larger groups are typically charged a pro-rata portion of corporate overhead and shared central services.  This charge is applied pro rata according to the division’s share of total revenue, share of total costs, or share of total full-time employees. Thus, by overstating costs, divisional financial reports usually misstate a business’s true profitability. Your financial package can thus start with a parent company’s internal books and records, and include a pro forma analysis that normalizes any pro rata charges in a consistent manner. This approach can qualitatively improve your perceived valuation.

In the preceding examples, your objective is to set forth a meaningful illustration of a business’s earnings prior to interest, tax, depreciation, amortization and unusual or non-recurring charges, or “EBITDA.”

However, you will not find a line item for EBITDA on GAAP or tax financial statements, because EBITDA is not a concept recognized by GAAP. Moreover, a CPA will usually not wish to calculate EBITDA for you, as it may incorporate certain industry-specific judgments.

The EBITDA analysis is nevertheless an important part of your presentation. By making the right adjustments to your financials, consistent with industry practice and custom, you can describe the true profitability of your business.

          2.  Always practice “Aggressive Truth Telling”.

There will be potentially negative costs, trends, or adverse issues in every deal. However, a seller always gains significant credibility with purchasers by proactively disclosing such problems, and clearly explaining any judgment calls an owner has made in his or her company’s favor.  We call it “radical transparency,” or “aggressive truth telling”.

In a recent transaction, an owner included under “Sales” a very large amount received from a business interruption insurance policy, after a flood.  The owner felt that excluding this amount would unfairly penalize his business.

We explained that insurance proceeds in respect of lost sales do not really represent “sales.” To include these in revenue could impair a seller’s credibility, or could well lead to a complaint or litigation after a closing.

Instead, by disclosing separate line items for sales and then for “business interruption insurance proceeds,” we were able to assure the purchaser that all relevant information had been disclosed.  The purchaser could thus rely in part, but not in full, that such sales would return the following year.  The transaction closed successfully – including a partial escrow, which the seller ultimately received in full.

Also, owners sometimes include family members on a company’s payroll, a practice that the IRS typically permits, because the Service generally accords latitude to family-owned enterprises.  However, it is important to disclose family relationships, particularly if these persons have different last names.  And it is critical to explain clearly the job responsibilities of such family members, and whether these persons will be essential to the business after a closing.

As part of your “aggressive truth telling,” it is also important to explain whether an owner has personal responsibility for specific sales accounts, and to understand that a buyer may fairly apply a P&L charge for any sales commissions required to maintain and expand this book of accounts.

Aggressive truth telling is a better policy in all things.  And, in practical terms, your deal might not close if a buyer learns shortly before the closing that “house accounts” actually depend on an owner’s longstanding relationships.

            3.  Provide realistic and credible projections.

It’s important to prepare reasonable forward-looking forecasts with revenue estimates that your leadership team can meet or exceed. Credible projections can signal confidence and ambition. Ideally, these projections should be created by your leadership team themselves.  At the same time, projections should be conservative, so that during the sale process, you can consistently advise potential purchasers that targets have been met or exceeded.

Moreover, whether or not you the owner wish to remain with a business post-closing, it is important to have a business strategy plan illustrating the potential your business can achieve. Owners often have a relatively unstructured list of initiatives they could pursue — if only they had greater marketing resources.  Now is the time to illustrate initiatives on which your team could execute, assigning levels of potential revenue to each new project.  A strategy plan will illustrate clearly that your key employees are optimistic and ambitious, and ready to execute a ten-point growth plan under a new owner.

 

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for Michael’s upcoming Thursday post on Key # 4: Products. You won’t want to miss it!

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272b211More about this blogger: Michael Alcamo, President of M.C. Alcamo  & Co., Inc., serves owners of digital niche media companies in originating and advising strategic business and asset sales.

 

 

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Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years, including the upcoming Niche Digital Conference this fall in Nashville. 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!

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

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Four Universal Ad Sales Truths You Need to Know!



Ad sales reps give nearly every excuse imaginable when it comes to sales goal failure.  Excuses range from a bad economy...to changing deadlines…to the diminishing importance of print…to working for a real jerk.

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Do you ever wonder why you are not making the sales goals you want? Here are Ryan’s 4 Ad Sales Truths.

The truth is your advertising sales success is only as good as your ability to adapt and overcome the situations before you.  This applies to the ad sales game and in life.  It’s not about having the number one media in the market.  It’s not about making 85 outbound calls per day.

Ad sales success is about having consistent, disciplined actions and the ability to understand basic human behavior.  And in the ad sales game, it means gaining insight into what motivates your advertisers.

Daily practice and customer motivations are at the very heart of my ad sales training program.  I’m going to share with you my own personal example. Early in my sales career, I struggled. [Read more…]

5 Ways to Get Fired Up for Fall Ad Sales Season!



The weather is starting to get a bit cooler, the stores are already flooded with Halloween candy, and now you’re sitting at your desk, gazing at the fall foilage instead of staring your computer……

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The fall season signals a new budget year and selling focus. Here’s how to get started.

Are YOU ready to tackle a new budget year of sales challenges?

If you want to have superstar sales next year, think about making some changes now. It’s time to organize your ad sales world.

Here are 5 Easy Ways to Get Started:

1. Office: Clean off your desk! Toss out old media kits, rate cards, and selling tools that are now outdated.  (Keep one copy in a file for future reference.)  Update your materials and bulletin boards with new data and fun infographics that motivate you.  Bring in an item that’s new – that means something special to you, and put it somewhere you can see it daily for added inspiration. [Read more…]

Niche Digital Conference Wrap Up: Magazine Online Revenue-a-Palooza!



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No caption needed. It’s pretty darn obvious these attendees are having a blast!

We just wrapped up the Niche Digital Conference last week in Nicheville, er…Nashville. It was a great success and we’re sharin’ the niche love. We learned and networked and learned some more. Oh, and we always make sure to have fun, too.

If you missed it: Even if you couldn’t make it to Nashville, we deliver the goods right to you, dear reader. Through the magic of the internet most session presentation slides are now available on the Niche Digital Conference website. [Read more…]

Give Yourself a Timeout to Get Back in Your Creative Niche Magazine Flow



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You work hard all week. Don’t forget to take some time just for you!

Sometimes on Fridays the office gods let this lowly blogger ramble. This is one of those days, you lucky dogs.

I was going to write about ROI and ad sales tips and analytics and publishing management strategies. For those of you who have to be all business, all the time, here you go:

ROI, AD SALES, ANALYTICS

For the rest of us, it’s my personal favorite day of the week – Friday. That day of the week that means winding down work, open to the full possibilities of how to choose to spend the weekend.

And all I really want to write about this fine Friday is the fact that the Grand Poobah just wrapped up the Niche Digital Conference in Nashville. He’s going to put his SF Giants cap back on soon and then we hit the road.

Not for very long, of course, but a well-deserved, self-induced timeout nonetheless. Even though we love what we do, we all have to take time to drop out, tune out, flat out ignore cell phones and social media. Time to cut loose or be still or better yet both. (All the mobile device addicts started twitching just now. You know who you are.) [Read more…]