03 Dec

Magazine Publishers: Use Your Digital Skills As Part Of Your Advertising Sales Offer

Starting A Magazine Or Growing A Publishing Business : Offer Digital Marketing To Your Advertisers

You may not have guessed it but advertising revenues for magazines and newspapers are growing again. Newspaper publishers are also doing some interesting things that are beginning to produce new revenue streams.

Demand for advertising in the printed magazine is showing slow decline with most magazines experiencing declines of 4% – 5% per year but this is being more than compensated for by growth in digital advertising. Regional newspapers, for example, are predicting growth of 17% in digital advertising this year…from a low base it has to be admitted  but substantial growth nonetheless.

If you are starting a magazine or growing a publishing business what lessons can you learn…

 Birmingham Mail Newspaper

Thank The Lord You Are Not In Regional Press

Regional newspapers have had a really tough time over recent years, sales have fallen dramatically and many titles have closed or merged. Regional newspapers are now largely consolidated into a small number of publishing companies who are ruthlessly cutting costs…basically sacking journalists and support staff.

Your local newspaper is now very likely to be sub edited from a distant national center, could well be designed in India and will have virtually no local staff.

It could well be argued that the local press has lost much of the brand loyalty and trust that it had with local communities by producing lackluster content in an unimaginative format.

In any case the circulation decline is steep.

The Challenge Facing Local Newspapers

Traditionally local newspapers offer classified and display advertising primarily in the print product. They have developed web based access, not very successfully in most cases, and now bundle adverting on their web sites alongside the print offer.

It has been a tough time…they must now compete with hyper local magazines and web sites that have lower costs and are often more imaginative in their approach, take a look at the Kentish Towner for an example of a brilliant web based local news portal with which traditional local newspapers struggle to compete.

In addition local newspapers find themselves competing for reader attention with sites like Freecycle and Gumtree who are eroding much of their important classified advertising spend.

So How Are They Fighting Back And What Can Magazine Publishers Learn?

An interesting trend is beginning to develop that could produce really significant revenue opportunities to anyone starting a magazine or growing an exiting publication.

Rather than simply offering print or web advertising publishers are now using their expertise to offer bundled digital marketing packages to small businesses who do not have the skills or the inclination to develop their own.

Areas such as email marketing, paid search, SEO, email newsletters and mobile advertising are perfect methods for marketing small businesses but are things that most small business owners find difficult to understand. Publishers are in a perfect position to offer these services to their advertisers.

Lessons From The Big Boys : Here Is What Johnson Press Are Doing

Johnson Press is one of the UK’s two dominant local newspaper publishing companies and they have invested huge resources into developing a range of digital marketing services for their advertisers.

Not only will Johnson Press titles offer to advertise your business but they will offer to build your web site, take care of your email marketing, undertake social media management and set up paid search.

The beauty of their offer  is that they have taken the complexity out of the process and are able to offer small businesses access to some services that could really help them grow.

Johnson Press have developed Digital Kitbag as the vehicle  through which they will offer these services…again is it well through through and simple.

What Does This Mean For You?

I do think that products like Digital Kitbag are an excellent example of ways that magazine publishers could re-position themselves and provide real value…value that magazine advertisers would pay for.

Many of the advertisers in specialist magazines are small businesses run by enthusiastic owners who do not have the time, knowledge or inclination to understand and run effective marketing activity.

I work with publishers who produce magazines in a variety of very different markets and I am often astonished by how poorly their advertisers market themselves;

  • Websites are often, frankly, terrible…not just poor they are appalling.
  • Marketing activity on social media is either non-existent or misdirected.
  • Very few offer email sign up or are developing email lists.
  • Paid search would be a perfect tool for many of them but few are experimenting with it.

There are opportunities for enterprising specialist magazines to use their market knowledge and their understanding of digital marketing to develop new service offers which their advertisers would pay for.

One Thing That You Can Do Today

Think about your advertisers and the businesses that they run…you understand their market and the challenges that they face.

Visit their web sites and take a look at how they actually market themselves…I can guarantee that in many cases you will be astonished by how poor their efforts are.

Think about skills that you have in web design, SEO, email marketing, paid search…could these skills become part of your advertising offer.

How Can I Help?

I have helped many publishers develop social media, paid search and email marketing in order to increase awareness and sales of their magazines. I use these tools in  my own business and I know how powerful they can be in helping to grow your magazine business.

If you need some help in this area please get in touch…I know I have some ideas that will be useful.





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