I bring this up because a couple of weeks ago Folio: ran a story in its newsletter that received a lot of pick-up from bloggers and news Web sites â€“ for this weâ€™re grateful. However, one site referenced our story, gave us credit, but didnâ€™t link to the story itself.
To me, this does both a disservice to the siteâ€™s readers, as well as to the news organization (in this case us) that wrote the story. Look at it this way, if they had linked to the story, the reader could have hit the link, read the story and then gone back to the news aggregatorâ€™s site. Instead, if they wanted to read the story, they had to physically leave the aggregatorâ€™s site and go on to Foliomag.com. If anything, the aggregator probably hurt themselves by neglecting to link to the story.
The other day I picked up a story from a competitor (Iâ€™m a former newspaper reporter so it pains me to do this) and I linked to the story. Itâ€™s common courtesy. We got scooped. It happens. But it would have been a disservice to our readers had we not shared the news with them. Publishers: Keep aggregating. Itâ€™s clearly the best way to keep your readership informed. But when you do it, give credit where credit is due.
But the survey also found that advertisers are planning to reduce spending slightly on pay-per-click advertising, in part, because of the click fraud problems that have surfaced. This serves as a message to publishers that now is the time to find meaningful ways to measure Web metrics and to come up with a meaningful system for pricing online advertising. As advertisers gravitate away from print and into the online arena, publishers should stop offering online advertising as an addendum to print and look for ways to fully monetize the Web for what it is worth.
Or, even better, publishers should do what Forbes is doing, making its annual lists of Billionaires, Most Powerful Celebrities, Top Companies to Work For, etc., a true multimedia experience. Forbes realizes that there are a lot of people out there that just will not pay for news anymore. So rather than trying to beat them, theyâ€™ve joined them.
Whenever a special issue of Forbes comes out, itâ€™s one of the top stories of the day highlighted by the search engine Yahoo. From the Yahoo story, readers can link to Forbes Web site where they can find even more articles and information on the special information contained in that franchise issue. And Forbes doesnâ€™t just offer little teasers on its Web site of the articles featured in the print version of the franchise issue. Instead, it gives readers full magazine articles and original Web content that can either complement or be read in place of the magazine.
And the effort is working because even when the franchise issue doesnâ€™t fly off the shelf, hits to Forbesâ€™ Web site increase greatly during the week that the issue hits the stands. Using those metrics, Forbes can probably, if it hasnâ€™t started to already, begin charging advertisers a premium to advertise on its site during peak traffic weeks such as those when its franchise issues come out.
The publication, which turns four in February, also increased its rate base in October of last year from 850,000 to 900,000 â€“ its third rate base increase since its launch. And its total paid and verified circulation has climbed from 850,000 in 2005 to just under a million.
But other teen titles have struggled. Teen People and ElleGirl folded their print publications last year, but maintain a Web presence. Cosmogirl, which has a lower market share than Teen Vogue, enjoyed growth last year in its ad revenues, up 12.2 percent to just under $81.1 million, but its pages in book grew by just 3 percent to 794.33 from 771.36.
Seventeen, the oldest of the teen bunch, saw its pages in book dip 3.7 percent last year to 936.65 from 972.30 in 2005. Its revenues grew just 2.5 percent to $101.87 million from $99.3 million in 2005.
Whether Teen Vogue continues to be successful remains to be seen. One thing's for sure though. While other teen magazines focus a lot of attention on celebrities and/or sex, much to the disappointment of parents, Teen Vogue focuses almost entirely on fashion and that could be the key to its success. Maybe.
The second issue is a lack of space and creativity in the online ad realm. Publishers need to move beyond the banner ad and the often-ineffective interstitial and find other, more creative ways to allow advertisers to market their products and services. This could be remedied as simply as adding more video, audio, sponsorship and social networking offerings to Web sites. But publishers must also think outside the box to offer advertisers more diverse ways to reach to consumers.
VNU Business Media this week launched a job portal that will combine the resources of its entertainment, advertising and media trade publications on a single Web site. The hope, said VNU eMedia group sales director Jeff Green, is that the portal will allow VNU to take a large bite out of the $50 million employers in the aforementioned three industries spend annually to advertise jobs on major and niche job sites. Because the three different industries often look for employees with similar skill sets, VNU believes theyâ€™ll have an advantage over their competition by offering a one-stop shop for people working in advertising, entertainment and/or media jobs. And who knows, they just might.
The time has come to not only put in place a quantifiable method for setting ad rates online, but to also look for new and creative ways to make money online. Two-thousand-seven should be the year to monetize the Web.
Hachette-Filipacchiâ€™s attempt to bring a gory photojournalistic magazine to the newsstands failed. Not a big surprise. The graphic-heavy, text-light publication is much more appealing to â€śscreenagersâ€ť and very early 20-somethings than to the â€śolderâ€ť print-reading set, which is why Hachette will keep the effort going online via its ShockU Web site and scrap the print publication. The effort serves as another reminder that young people want their news and entertainment for free â€¦
Merry Christmas from Time Inc. and VNU
Time Inc. rounded up 27 workers from its consumer marketing division this week like a herd of cattle and told them they were no longer needed. This is second December in row Time Inc. has said happy holidays with a layoff (last year it laid off 105 workers in mid-December), as the struggling company repositions itself for the digital age â€¦
Meanwhile, VNU said this week it will cut 4,000 jobs over the next few months as its new management team positions the company for growth.
While no one would argue that both Time Inc. and VNU need to cut costs and refocus their missions, Ann and Dave could have at least waited for the New Year to lower the boom on their employees â€¦
Disapproval strikes Time magazine's â€śYouâ€ť cover
Time magazine caught a lot of flack this week from journalists and bloggers for its selection of â€śYouâ€ť as the person of the year. Did Time take the easy way out in not selecting an actual person for the annual honor? Probably. But the idea is not totally misguided, if not also a little self-serving. After all, there wasnâ€™t a journalist in the world this year that wasnâ€™t a little unnerved by the uprising of so-called citizen journalism.
But just as Andy Warhol famously predicted that everyone would be famous for 15 minutes, he also made the often misused quote to describe the fickle nature of the entertainment-starved public. Translation: Citizen journalism is hot for now, but whether itâ€™s hot for good remains to be seen â€¦
Even the most simple of mission statements can become muddled as we search for news and information to fill our pages, our Web sites, our blogs. And the same is true for the audience that we strive to reach. So maybe itâ€™s time we all reread are missions and take a closer look at our subscription lists, at least that what Bates-Schrott would recommend.
Aside from mission statements and audience engagement, the Folio: Show Production and Design track was filled with information about working with and selecting a printer, how to lower manufacturing costs, and how to improve your magazine right now. All of these sessions will be available Monday at www.folioshow.com/presentations for downloading.
In the meantime, here are eight tips (abbreviated) on â€śImproving Your Magazine Right Nowâ€ť offered by Jandos Rothstein, design director of Governing magazine and assistant professor at George Mason University.
1.) Simplify. Some magazines clutter pages with non-communicative elements - boxes, rules, frames and decorative standing art. Good design â€śsellsâ€ť rather than distracts from images and words.
2.) Right-size page elements. Layouts can feel disorganized or confusing if too much emphasis is given to less important elements. Placement, size, color and value decisions should be guided by the relative informational value of each element.
3.) Donâ€™t design a loaf of bread. Some magazines are like a loaf of bread - no matter where you cut them open, they offer a consistent texture and predictable sameness. Any magazine can support variety within its structure. Solving â€śbreadâ€ť design can be as simple as making sure spreads look different from one another and each spread (or page) has a main visual focus.
4.) Get the space you need. A million dollar art budget is useless without the room to display the art you purchase. Design is fueled by space.
5.) Become an art whisperer. Good design is responsive to imagery. Design to enhance rather than compete with art and photography. You cannot save bad art with design.
6.) Good photography is not always good. Looser crops, outtakes and action photos (even if they are slightly blurry) often give more insight into the subject than a perfectly lit, composed, (and predictable) portrait. Look for images that will intrigue and surprise your readers.
8.) Banish your canards. Many fields have an obvious visual vocabulary (teachers = apples and bells, lawyers = scales and gavels). However, using apples in the pages of an education magazine makes the publication appear superficial. Banishing the obvious improves the thinking behind the assigned art because it forces freelancers to engage issues deeper than the magazineâ€™s demographic.
Decades after the first mobile phone was introduced, users finally are being offered plans that allow them plenty of talk time for reasonable monthly fees. That said, phone companies have found ways to nickel and dime us. Monthly Internet charges of $15 a month are the norm, as is a $5 a month unlimited text messaging usage fee, and then thereâ€™s the $1.99 a month some will spend for a ringtone, another $1.99 a month for a call tone, $1.99 for a screensaver, a $10 a month fee for unlimited picture downloads â€¦ you get the idea.
The nickel and dime-ing leaves little left-over, especially for teens with limited budgets, to pay for magazine articles that more than likely can be read for free on the Internet. Still, thereâ€™s lots of money to be made by publishers in the mobile sphere. For one, they can offer their own screensavers, wallpapers, picture downloads and ringtones for nominal fees, and many are. And, as far as news articles and text messaging alerts go, there are plenty of advertisers willing to sponsor such content enabling publishers to offer it for FREE.
Laura Marriott, the executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association, recently told Folio: Publishing Technology that marketers are spending upwards of $78 million a year on mobile advertising and that dollar amount is likely to grow in the years to come.
Similarly, Tom Burgess, CEO of Third Screen Media, an ad network devoted to the mobile medium, told Media Post earlier this year that mobile phones are more inherently personal than any other medium and conducive to effective ad targeting. And personalization, targeted marketing and interactive marketing are all key to successful mobile advertising, says Marriott, and publishers willing to work with marketers to achieve the targeted interaction they seek will more than likely reap the benefits of those ad dollars into the future.
What was great about the breakfast is not just what Skipper talked about, but how he presented it. Skipperâ€™s one of those rare people who is as entertaining as he is intelligent. Heâ€™s what my husband would call a â€śreal cool dude.â€ť To put it simply, heâ€™s a real funny and personable guy and knows how to use his sense of humor to keep the crowd focused and draw them into what heâ€™s speaking about.
One statement Skipper made particularly resonated with me. Speaking about his experience in the magazine industry, Skipper said this, â€śMy experience with magazines has served me well. I get to work on things I know nothing about. I donâ€™t think I had ever been on the Internet and I was hired to be in charge of it.â€ť
Those few sentences speak volumes. People are always saying itâ€™s an exciting time in publishing right now because of the new media evolution thatâ€™s taking place. But itâ€™s actually an exciting time for people who work in publishing, especially on the editorial side. Because the digital media evolution means that weâ€™re no longer just writers, reporters or editors.
I interviewed a woman named Kristin Campbell back in August for our Folio: Publishing Technology e-newsletter. As the editor of DSnews.com, sheâ€™s a great example of being more than just an editor because, in addition to writing and editing copy daily on her companyâ€™s Web site, she also shoots and edits videos, takes pictures, and anchors and writes a daily newscast.
Thatâ€™s whatâ€™s so exciting about publishing right now. Weâ€™re no longer just editors. Weâ€™re Web site and e-newsletter designers. Weâ€™re videographers, photographers, bloggers and whatever it is that you call someone who creates content for mobile devices. To some, that might be overwhelming. And it might be looked at with dread and the feeling that it is just that much more we have to add to our already busy days.
But to the rest of us, itâ€™s a journey. Itâ€™s the chance to do a million different things. Is there a chance that some of us will over extend ourselves in our zeal to do everything and be everything? Yes (Iâ€™ve been guilty of as much).
As journalists, most of us have always had the opportunity to write about things we know nothing about. Today, we have an opportunity to work on things that we know nothing about. What could be more exciting than that?
Now fully acclimated to the Web, with top-notch, computer-assisted reporting skills (well, sort of), my first reporting job remains a mystery. How did I look up phone numbers? Find experts? Research topics? The Internet is great for all of that, but it has its drawbacks, as well.
Instantaneous, real-time news, often seen as blessing in the Internet age can be curse, as well. While it offers our audience news as it happens, it also sometimes frazzles the editors and reporters that try to keep up with whatâ€™s going in their respective industries and on their respective beats without getting beat by the competition.
Recently, someone tipped off Folio: that printing company, Banta quietly submitted an SEC filing last week announcing the closure of five plants, the elimination of more than 500 jobs, and that it would pay its shareholders a $16 per share special dividend that it would borrow money to pay for.
Great story, we thought when we found out on Tuesday of this week. I quickly found the document, wrote the story and (sigh) saved it for Thursdayâ€™s Folio: Alert.
Not a good idea. Stamford, Connecticut-based Cenveo today renewed the unsolicited takeover bid it made for Banta in August and criticized Bantaâ€™s SEC filing in a letter made public and sent to various media outlets.
We got scooped on our own scoop. Lesson learned, point taken. In the Internet age, research is easy, breaking news is hard and saving stories is unwise.