How Niche Magazine Publishers can Evaluate and Manage Organizational Costs

The thing about niche magazine publishers is that they usually don’t know many other niche magazine publishers. That makes managinID-10093044g organizational expenses and setting budget goals challenging – there isn’t someone else to compare yourself with. How much should you be spending on editorial or overhead? Are there easy ways to bring down other major expenses? Does it all make your head throb?

Never fear! Here’s 5 ideas from Jim Zielinski to get your started measuring and managing organizational expenses:

1.  Editorial: It’s about more than ad/editorial ratios! You also have to look at your editorial costs on their own. A good guideline is at least 100 editorial pages per editor per year with a cost of about $1000 per page.  That is the cost for a real life B2B magazine and also has editors committing about 20% of their time to on-line activities. If you are below this benchmark, take a hard look at your editorial process.

2.  Marketing: You have to frequently measure the ROI of your marketing programs. Sometimes it’s hard to internally evaluate the marketing ROI. If you are struggling with it, an independent review of your programs by a reputable marketing consultant may give you a new set of eyes on what’s really working. And what’s not. If a marketing program isn’t paying off, it’s time to put that money back into your most effective programs.

3.   Technology:  Every website should be re-done not less than every 2 to 3 years; technology is moving too fast to have an “old” looking site.  Consider using offshore programmers as their cost can be one-fifth the cost of a developer in the US.

4.   Overhead: This one is pretty straightforward overhead should be not more than 15% of total revenue.

5.   Rent:  Re-negotiate your monthly rent/lease with landlords.  You will be surprised how they may engage with you. If they won’t go for a rent reduction, then ask for services that you normally have to pay extra for to be included in the rent, such as weekly office cleaning.

So now we have given you many ways to reduce costs, save money, and make bank.  But don’t stop here – make diving into your media company’s financials a regular exercise.

Want more financial metrics and strategies for your magazine? Check out our 7-part financial series with Jim Zielinski. So far we have discussed many ways to look at reducing costs for your niche magazine. So far we’ve covered understanding where you are now, where to begin taking steps, even what the correct steps are in the first place so that you can run your business more efficiently and profitably.

Questions for Jim? Comments? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter.


19afd32About Jim: Jim gave us a presentation for the 2013 Niche Magazine Conference and we learned that attendees definitely wanted us to post more cost-cutting ideas for niche magazine publishers.
Now: Jim Zielinski is founder of Zielinski Financial Advisors, LLC, an independent financial consultancy. The firm’s focus is on acquisitions, bank financing, profit and performance improvement, and preparing your company for sale.
Past Life: Jim worked in banking and equity investing at Chase Manhattan Bank, N.A. and Bankers Trust Company for over 20 years.In 1997, Jim became CFO for Hanley Wood, LLC, a business to business media company, where he was an owner, director, and executive directing the financial affairs of the company until its sale in 2005. Jim is a member of the Board of Managers of Virgo Publishing, LLC, Athletic Business Publications, and MedTech Media.


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  1. $1,000/page for editorial? Is that what niche publishers are paying? That’s high for us. I’d be interested to hear from others.

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