Want to Create a Better Magazine? Think Like a TV Producer!


Drew Davis knows how TV Producers think–and it can help you be a better publisher.

Everyone watches some television, right? So what does the A-Team, soap-operas, Cheers, Sesame Street and even Happy Days teach niche publishers about online content? Guess what—creating profitable online content is just like creating a television show. Niching your niche is like creating or the lineup for a network.

Drew Davis, Founder of Monumental Shift, best-selling author and Niche Digital Conference peaker, tells us that publishers get so focused they lose the opportunity to see their brand the way a TV producer does.

Drew will be leading the session Publishers + TV Producers = Revenue in Nashville this September. We caught up with him recently to get some of his insights:

Niche Media: What are some important ways publishers can think like TV producers as they begin to think about creating an online content strategy?

DD: TV producers are responsible for all the creative content of “the show.” Publishers need to stop thinking about content in terms of advertising and think about content as branding. For example, look at CNN and TV cable networks—they think about the branding underneath their messages as well as the branding of the series line up within the network.

Television programs have notoriously well-formatted content. TV Execs know that the best way to build a long-term audience is to deliver that great content in the same format, week in and week out. The audience knows what to expect—and when it expect it.

Niche Media: What do you see trending in the next few years for publishers and their content? What do you see trending in the TV realm that you think they might be able to learn from?

DD: Publishers & Content: In the next ten years publishers will need to rely on a revenue stream that doesn’t include display advertising. You must start thinking about how you’re going to replace that revenue.

Publishers will need to compete with brands (and their agencies) by creating their own content and building their own audiences. Always be thinking about how can you remain relevant in a world where everyone has their own audience.

Finally, publishers must think about fostering their talent (the people who write and create content for your brand) to expand their revenue streams.

Television Trends: In the television world, we’re seeing brands finding ways to leverage their talent (the people that appear on their programs) to create products sold to consumers–think Rachel Ray and her line of products. How can you do the same?

Branding the content your talent journalists create is key to elevating their platform. For example, I just wrote Warren Buffett about one of his mommy bloggers and how they could elevate her column. 

Check out my post on May 20th.

Niche Media:  Can you give us an example of how online content can be profitable?

DD: Say you have a niche magazine that is dedicated to Dads. You could partner with Best Buy-type sponsor and feature their products. Partnering with others who find your opt-in audience of value is one of the key tenants to creating a successful brandscaping and online content strategy.

I also think magazine publishers have to start thinking about how to cut through banner blindness, to offer marketing solutions that are PART of the content instead of surrounding it. Once you shift your focus away from paying for access to an audience to one that views content as an asset, you will see a dramatic transformation in your business.

Niche Media: What are some common mistakes that you see publishers doing with their online content?

1) There is too much noise and volume to attract and keep eyeballs.

2) Don’t try to create everything for your audience. The better defined you are the more your message will resonate.

3) Watch out for willy-nilly content: You must commit to when and how often you will provide content. When you set expectations for your audience, you have to be prepared to meet them. “Habitual” content consumption creates a valuable relationship with your audience.

Niche Media: What is one easy way that publishers can put their email database to better use?

<pStop sending out generic enewsletters with too many links. Better to have one solid piece on a regular basis with a few valuable links. The goal is a low opt out rate and a high CTR. 

Start getting creative. Here’s a great example: Trish from FoldFactory started this Super Cool 60- Second Fold of the week. You can get a weekly email with an informative, entertaining 60-second video. People love her, she’s gone viral in the printing world. 

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

……Beef Jerky.


About Andrew M. Davis:  As Founder of Monumental Shift, Drew Davis is leading the charge to change the way publishers think and how brands market their products in a digital world. His latest book, Brandscaping: Unleashing the Power of Partnerships, hit shelves in September of 2012 and is now an Amazon bestseller.


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!

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