Finding Inspiring Content Ideas

It’s no secret that sometimes you just hit a wall when it comes to coming up with inspiring content. Whether it be for your print product or online elements, sometimes discovering valuable content can be difficult. If you have ever found yourself struggling with finding inspiring content, you are in luck! We have come across a couple of tips and tricks that should get you back on track in no time, take a peek:

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Check out a few places to find inspiring content.

  • Your past work: Just because you had great ideas in the past doesn’t mean some of them still can’t work now. Take a look at some of the past things you have done and brainstorm different ways they can be reworked to be integrated with your current content calendar. You can try to find a new angle to take on the past content or try combining two different past works to come up with a brand new idea.
  • Your conversation starters: Topics that always seem to come up in conversation are also great places to look for content. While some of these topics may not relate to your content strategy, some of them might. Start by taking a look at some of the topics you often find yourself discussing. Then try to find a way in which you relate these topics to your content.
  • Your readers: In addition to looking at your old work and some of your conversation starters, looking at what your readers have to say is also a good way to develop inspiring content. Your readers are probably leaving you feedback that consists of compliments, criticisms and ideas for content they would like to see in the future. Look at what your readers are saying to get a better idea of what sort of content you should be producing.
At times, finding inspiring content ideas can be difficult. However, looking at some of your old work and reader feedback as well as conversation starters is a great way to begin finding valuable content. Where do you find inspiring content? Leave us a comment and let us know!



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Open New Revenue Streams with Custom Publishing

By Fred Parry, Publisher of Inside Columbia

After returning from a roundtable meeting for publishers of city and regional magazines I was pleased to discover custom publishing opportunities were generating significant new revenues for publishing companies still feeling the pinch from our challenging economy. I can tell you from personal experience as a publisher that creating a custom publishing division was the saving grace for my company in 2011.

Publishing a magazine, annual report or catalog for an outside organization allows you to lend the resources of your talented staff to companies that likely could never afford the level of expertise you provide. The good news is that most publishers can achieve a 35 to 40 percent margin on custom publishing projects while offering customers a significant savings from what they’d pay handling it in-house or jobbing it out to an advertising agency or design firm.

Making It Work For You

When you think about it, offering these services makes perfect sense for a publisher. First and foremost, it allows a more robust utilization of your existing resources.  On average, I know that I’m publishing more than 100 fewer pages every month that I was three years ago.  Rather than laying off experienced designers, writers and editors, we’ve been able to keep them busy creating magazines for other customers.

You can provide one-stop, turnkey services that include concept development, writing, design, printing and distribution, using your existing staff and vendor relationships. You’ll discover that your incremental costs in providing these services are rather minimal, making larger margins possible. In some cases, the additional volume can help you gain increased efficiencies for your core products.

As publishers are looking at vertical integration strategies and finding new channels to distribute repurposed content, custom publishing is one more opportunity to broaden your base of business and expand beyond your core competencies.  A custom publishing project might just introduce you to an underserved industry or niche where a wider scope of your services may be needed.

Best Prospects

Your best potential for cultivating custom publishing projects are with local hospitals and surgery centers, educational institutions, ad agencies, large car dealerships, mega churches and  any company that offers complex business solutions or product lines that need significant explanation. You should also explore relationships with any companies celebrating milestone events such as a grand opening, anniversary or expansion.

Before You Get Started

You should expect a 50 percent down-payment before beginning work on any custom publishing project.  Because the publishing process is unfamiliar to many marketers, it’s important to begin your relationship with new clients with a very candid discussion of their expectations and goals.  Be sure you have identified key stakeholders within the organization that have the potential of slowing down (or expediting) the approval process.  Setting clear boundaries, timelines and responsibilities before commencing work will make your new venture into custom publishing a more rewarding experience.

Fred Parry is the publisher of Inside Columbia magazine in Columbia, Mo.  He currently serves on the board of directors for the City and Regional Magazine Association (CRMA) and serves as president of the Missouri Association of Publications (MAP). A former faculty member at the Missouri School of Journalism, Parry was named to Folio magazine’s list of 40 distinguished magazine and media professionals in 2010.


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