Founder, Editor and Publisher, 5280 Publishing, Inc.
Brogan has proven that maintaining a focus on and investment in high-quality content is a proven long-term strategy.
The battle over circulation attrition has been particularly pronounced over the last few years, but not for Denverâ€™s 5280 magazine. Named for the cityâ€™s elevation over sea level, the magazine has managed to increase its paid subscriptions by 40 percent over the last five yearsâ€”without a traditional direct mail strategy.
5280, which is practically a perennial National Magazine Award nomineeâ€”the title just secured its fifth, this time in the online video categoryâ€”now counts 45,000 paid subscriptions and sources 300 subscriptions per month from its website and routinely sells more than 20,000 copies on the newsstand.
The attraction, says Brogan, is in the magazineâ€™s content. To him, circulation and content go hand-in-hand. â€śYou canâ€™t have one without the other,â€ť he says. â€śAt a time when everyone seems to be cutting back on editorial budgets, weâ€™ve proven that investing in quality editorial is the only real road to long-term success.â€ť
That focus on content started back when Brogan founded the magazine 20 years ago. â€śThe reality of it is it took us the first 10 years of clawing and scratching just to get our heads above water to start doing the kind of stories we wanted to do,â€ť says Brogan. â€śBut when we got to that point and could start harnessing the more long-form and investigative stuff, it was at a time where there was even less of it.â€ť
The paucity of long-form provided a nice benefit for Brogan: â€śWhen we started letting people know that we were doing this kind of work there was a lot of talent out there that was willing to relocate,â€ť he says.
In the meantime, innovation is embedded in the brandâ€™s evolution. A recent Groupon experiment yielded 4,700 subscriptions in 24 hours with a decent 35 percent renewal rate.
In the works are ancillary publicationsâ€”a 5280 Home and 5280 Travelerâ€”which will start as one-offs with the hopes of increasing frequency down the road.
VITAL STATS: Paid subscriptions have increased 40 percent over the last 5 years. 5280 regularly sells 20,000 copies on the newsstand.