Summer of Niche: Reader Experience–It Matters!

Inside Publications

Inside Publications has a very popular feature and ensures customers love it. Here’s how.

This week’s Summer of Niche great idea includes a little twist. Most local/regional publications include some sort of reader-submitted content. Cecily Hastings and her team at Inside Publications recognized the popularity of one of their special features and took the time to make sure it continued to stay that way for their customers.

Cecily tells us how they did it:

“It started about a decade ago when a savvy PR guy in town took a copy of the magazine to Paris and sent us a photo of himself and his daughter reading the magazine in front of the Eiffel Tower. We ran it and then soon more started to arrive and we developed it as a full page.

It is probably one of the best loved reader-oriented features in our magazine. For many years it was called Readers Near and Far and last year we redesigned and renamed it as we updated our entire publication design. We now call it “Have Inside, Will Travel.”

Here’s the results:

“Within a few years, we had a backlog of more than a year’s worth of travel photos with the magazine.  When people began writing to ask how long they had to wait for their shot to appear, we bought an extra 12 pages of print and ran the backlog as a special section. It has been very well received!  Plus, now we only have a backlog of few months and our readers aren’t waiting and waiting for their photo to appear.

We are amazed that we have had shots from practically every country on earth! And most importantly, we are blessed with such loyal readers each month.”

Here’s the lesson: Periodically gauging customer satisfaction, even for a highly popular, long-standing feature, means that you are not taking your customers’ experience for granted. Ever. Way to go, Inside Publications!


More about Cecily and Inside Publications:  Cecily Hastings is the founder and publisher of Inside Publications. The 4 neighborhood publications feature 100% local original content and are direct mailed at no charge to neighborhood homeowners. More than 350 small business advertisers support the publications with ads that appear in from one to all four editions.


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 –  Check it out!

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Sponsored Webinars Done Right can be Profit Powerhouses for Publishers!


Mike Agron tells us how sponsored webinars done right can be a source of lead generation and a new, valuable revenue stream.

Webinars are a super-powerful demand generation tool for niche publishers.

Offering sponsored webinars is a no-brainer: they extend your advertiser’s brand cost-effectively while creating a new revenue stream.

But there’s a catchyou’ve got to do a webinar right in order for it to be effective – from targeting and attracting the right audience to keeping them engaged and continuing the conversation after it’s all over.

Webinar expert Mike Agron is leading a session on webinars at the upcoming Niche Digital Conference in Nashville this fall and is leading Niche Media’s first-ever webinar July 11 on how publishers can use webinars to make money and build audience (and why they don’t have to suck). We checked in with Mike to get his take on what’s happening with sponsored webinars and why niche publishers should take advantage of this add-on revenue stream.

Niche Media HQ: What are the three most important things for publishers to remember when setting up sponsored demand generation webinars?

Mike Agron: First, as trusted advisers to their readers, they should recognize that they have an incredible opportunity to monetize the sales of sponsored webinars by adding high value for the sponsor AND high impact for their audience. It’s bringing people together across multiple geographies and time zones to discuss and share insights, innovations and best practices.  What’s important to recognize is that much of this information is probably timely content from industry experts and thought leaders that they are publishing or going to publish. A webinar is a great vehicle to “breathe life” into ordinary content such as research reports, case studies, and white papers, etc.

Second, publishers are aware of changes in industry standards and compliance and can use webinars to inform their readers. Think educational tool vs sales pitch to be successful.

Third, there is a big difference between reading a white paper on a website and participating in an interactive webinar with Q&A. Webinars engage people in the learning process and create conversations, making them feel they are part of the experience in real-time. [Read more…]

Collaborate with a Media Partner to Expand Your Magazine’s Market


The right partnerships can make you more successful.

Andrew Davis is the author of Brandscaping and a popular Niche Digital Conference speaker. He thinks niche publishers should think more like TV execs to brand their content differently for different markets (like how all shows on Animal Planet share a theme, but aren’t all aimed at the same audience) and “…unleash the power of partnerships.” How does this work? Here’s an example of how niche magazine Our Health used partnerships to increase revenue, visibility, and reach:

When Our Health identified opportunities to increase coverage for Our Health advertisers, they decided to engage another media organization as a partner. [Read more…]

Responsive Design Takes Over the Web – Is Your Magazine Ready?


Is your website designed to meet your readers’ needs? Chris tells us more about responsive and adaptive design.

It may be a bit of an overstatement, but it does seem that web designers and clients are starting to appreciate the importance of making sure that web pages and emails can be read on many different devices. This is incredibly important for niche magazine publishers – you need to be able to reach your readers across platforms.

I’d like to give credit for the development of uniform accessibility across devices to the creation of HTML5, but many of the tools for implementing responsive design have been around for over a decade.

What has changed is that a significant percentage of people are using the web with mobile devices. And people are taking note of how broken the majority of web sites are when viewed on a smart phone. When was the last time you really looked at and used your publication’s site on a phone? Did the experience make you want to run away? Now put yourself in the shoes of your readers! [Read more…]

Audience Development Done Right: Publishers Get Personal with a “Lifestyle” Strategy

Diana Landau, Niche Content Wrangler By Diana Landau, Niche Content Wrangler

There’s no doubt this is a challenging time for niche magazines and you have to get it right to stay profitable. You may need to adopt a whole new way of thinking. Here’s a niche magazine that is serious about its strategy for getting to the right audience in a big way: John Taraborelli of Providence Monthly told us that for his publication, “…..we recognize we are in the lifestyle business, not the magazine business.” This lifestyle strategy  doesn’t just apply to B2C magazines, it can also apply B2B and Association publications as well. How? Successful magazines have discovered that focusing stories on interesting people and their lifestyles within their niche resonates most effectively with their target audience.  ID-10066844

It’s what their readers say they want to be informed about and it works. Increased subscriptions and overall retention is the result. For example, Association magazine publishers tell us although it may seem counter-intuitive, their readership does not want to always hear a ton of association chatter. They want to hear about cool people within their niche who do interesting things. Who doesn’t?

This does not mean you have to turn your magazine into the latest edition of The National Enquirer. But you and your teams can look at ways to profile your niche’s best of the best, the most innovative, the most unconventional, the most inspirational.  Or just thoughtful stories about what your readers are doing–it’s all good. Share with us how you successfully focus on lifestyles within your niche on our Facebook or Twitter.


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
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Use Podcasts to Maximize Your Online Content’s Potential

Diana Landau, Niche Content Wrangler

Peer to Peer magazine

Peer to Peer magazine increases reach by linking articles with podcasts.

By Diana Landau, Niche Content Wrangler


How do YOU get the most out of your online content? Savvy niche magazine publishers are figuring out that one of the best ways to breathe extended life into their brand online is by linking some of their specific website articles to podcasts. This easy-to-implement strategy allows the author of the article to then make an announcement or introduce a new development associated with the recently published article. It’s also a way to continue to expand on the subject further detail.

Peer to Peer, a professional trade association magazine, frequently links their online articles to podcasts with great results. The authors get to interact with your readers in a new way.  At the same time, you get the opportunity grab the attention of all those audio-learners out there. Plus this strategy also offers your niche magazine audience more flexibility to get the information they want from you in the media format that works best for them–whether it’s on their desktop, ipad or ipod. Last tip–don’t forget to measure your new listenership. Share your successful podcasting strategies with us and our niche magazine publishing world on Facebook or Twitter.




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 Network
– YouTube: NicheMediaHQ