Here's a Big Idea: Get the Fundamentals Down First
Once again we're happy to present a Folio: that is jam-packed with online and digital how-to for magazine publishers (frankly, it's getting to the point where it requires a conscious effort to make sure we've got the print angle covered too). This issue we look at the new competitive set consumer publishers face online; analyze the most popular areas on publishers' Web sites, which often aren't what the publisher expects, offer search engine marketing tips; examine how printers are augmenting their business with online services; and profile how three different publishers took three very different approaches in building their content management systems.
And of course, there's our cover story on Building the Big Idea, in which the majority of publishers profiled indicate their big idea revolves around online in some way, shape or form.
But perhaps one of the most notable comments comes from this month's Best Practices story, in which Reni Publishing IT director Jay Hook details how his organization was able to take traffic to its flagship Web site from an average of 750 unique visitors per month to a realistic target of 50,000 visitors, all for less than $1,000. While Reni will soon be jumping on the video/podcasting/social networking bandwagon, it's the fundamentals that Hook says were key to Reni's success. "Things like blogging and podcasting are fun but the priority was getting our content on and making it searchable," Hook says.
It may be the digital age but for many publishers, their online strategy is best summed up with the hackneyed and antiquated phrase, "Putting the cart before the horse." We all want to do video, we all want to build social networks, but how many of us currently have a truly functional CMS in place? Few publishers have been as successful or as leading edge as Hanley Wood in recent years but even they are facing up to the fact that they've been delinquent in covering the basics. "You hire all this talent and they have a million ideas," says Hanley Wood CEO Frank Anton. "And soon you learn you don't have the technology to implement things."
Frank, we feel your pain. At Folio:, we talk a good game about online but our own back-end system has been extremely limiting, if not down right obstructive. Soon we'll be rolling out a new Web site and we're ramping up our capability to take on some of the sexier applications, like video. But what I'm most excited about is the new plain Jane CMS. That's going to be the biggest help to us, and by extension, should be the biggest help to you, our readers.