Jason Pontin, editor of MITâs Tech Review, recently announced that, after much pain and expense, the Tech Review is abandoning native apps for the iPad and other mobile devices. Describing the publications experience with app developmentâwhich involved spending $124,000 on software development and selling only 353 iPad subscriptionsâPontin reports that, âLike almost all publishers, I was badly disappointed. What went wrong? Everything.â
It didnât have to be this way. Tablets like the iPad offer rich possibilities for telling engaging stories that take readers well beyond the print experience, with the portability to enjoy that experience anywhere, anytime. But to fully realize that potentialâwithout the high cost and frustration seen by Tech Reviewâpublishers must think more holistically about their long-term strategy for delivering a fresh, high-quality experience across all mobile devices. A few simple rules can guide you to the right strategy for your publication and readers.
Rule 1: Remember the business youâre in. Publishing is supposed to be about contentânot code. If you find yourself hiring separate development teams or agencies to create your HTML website, iOS apps, and Android apps, then something has already gone wrong. The right digital strategy will allow you to focus your resources on creating great experiences for your readers, not paying an army of developers to replicate those experiences in different languages for different form factors.
Rule 2: Donât settle for static pages. Like many publishers, Tech Review began with the approach of replicating its print edition page by page in PDF form. The whole point of digital media is to do things that arenât possible in print, using interactivity, rich media, social sharing, and other web-like capabilities to engage readers more deeply. And what reader wants to sit around waiting for an entire 96-page PDF to download before they can start exploring its content? As with a desktop website, publishers should curate their content for mobile engagement and focus on delivering the right experience for the right device at the right timeâinstead of trying to turn tablets into a paper delivery device. Tech Review realized their error and have since taken the PDF replicas off of their app and now have live streaming articles.
Rule 3: Donât chain content to design. Editors shouldnât have to deal with design code or the mechanics of layoutâespecially when that layout will have to change depending on the device a reader uses to access an article. Instead, designers can create templates in standard web protocols that allow editors to choose whatever layout they want, without the risk of breaking the design. This allows editors to focus on editorial, and designers to focus on design, while providing unlimited flexibilityâand creativityâto present each article in the best way for each platform.
Rule 4: Think about the day after launch. A digital edition is never truly âput to bed.â A mobile app needs to be updated constantly with fresh content, enhanced usability, and new features. How will you get this done and who will do it? If you hired a development firm to build your app, then will you have to keep paying them for every change? If you build it in-house, will your editorial team be constantly at the mercy of your IT departmentâs workload? Find a simple, cost-effective way to flow your content everywhere your readers want to experience it or youâre likely to find yourself sharing in Tech Reviewâs misery.
Rule 5: Make friends with the cloud. The platform-independent nature of the cloud is a precious gift for publishers. Instead of having to create, update, manage, and analyze separate apps for iOS , Android, and HTML5 apps in addition to their mobile website and desktop website, a cloud-based strategy makes it possible for content to be published once, and then enjoyed on any device. Similarly, updates can be performed once in the cloud, and propagated automatically at the same time across both smartphones and tablets. The same is true for monetization and analytics, which are unified in the cloud rather than being fragmented in platform-specific silos. The cloud could have saved Tech Review a lot of time and moneyâand saved its native apps from their impending demise.
The iPad and other tablets were supposed to be a boon for the publishing industry, giving content creators new ways to connect with and engage readers. This potential still existsâin fact, itâs stronger today than ever. By learning from the mistakes of the first wave of PDF replicas and development-intensive app strategies, publishers can find the mobile success theyâve been looking for--in the cloud.
PJ Gurumohan is the co-founder and CEO of cloud solution provider GENWI.
Journalists get a bum rap these days if they donât âwrite for the Webâ in an optimized manner, or if they write stories that are too long and detailed (I still miss the twenty-page profiles of Amazon butterflies in The New Yorker from decades past).
There are just too many rules about writing, these days. We have all of the Twitter-pated editors and publishers spewing out 140-word stuff, which is sometimes nonsense (I am guilty of this, tooâfelt kind of dumb last weekend, so I tweeted about the weather).
So I guessâas a businessperson with a J-degreeâI pity the journalist who is being bombarded with figuring out ways to make a buck. It used to be that they could write smart things and the sales folk would sell blank pages. Agencies demanded far forward or negotiated being opposite something; it didnât much matter what was on the blank ad pages. Audience relevance was assured because the editors filled up the edit well with relevance, and there was a BPA audit that assured they got to the right people (disclosureâI am on the BPA board). Now, they have to be contextually relevant and all that jazz.
Then they have to tweet, Facebook and Link In (out?) to the community that isnât necessarily the community that they used to write for; who took an annual subscription to the magazine but have been acquired through SEO, nurturing and mollycoddling but are, alas, anonymous. That is, until you convert them to register, which they are loathe to do as they found you by mistake. But they can be counted and even audited, and even though they wonât mail IN a bingo card, they fill OUT bingo cards (you hope) online. And then, Gadzooks, you have a lead that someone has to follow up on, but not by a salespersonâbut by a technological something or other.
Which gets back to the LEAD (not the lead)âthat journalistic introduction to 200 words or 20,000 words.
How about a new kind of lead that can be repurposed to social: The combined Twitter and Haiku lead. Perhaps a Twitku?
Warren Bimblick is senior vice president, strategy and business development, at Penton Media. Follow him on Twitter @wbimblick.
On May 12, TIME managing editor Rick Stengel spoke at Indianapolisâ Butler University graduation ceremony. While such a large media presence likely excited the recent grads at first, some of what Stengel said must have left the crowd a bit...perplexed.
As FOLIO: sister publication min points out, one quote shows promise for an insightful speech, as Stengel reflects on the difference between information and knowledge: âInformation is data; knowledge is understanding. Information is statistics; knowledge is insight. Information is foreground; knowledge is background.â
But then he quickly takes a strange turn as he says, âInformation is everywhere, and itâs largely freeâŚ[knowledge] is scarce and valuable â and you might just have to pay for it.â
The paid content jabs donât stop there, as seen in the following quotes:
âInformation feels like itâs free because it comes to you in a frictionless way with a click on your keyboard. But the information â the knowledge you get from a TIME story about the Middle Eastâcomes at the cost of keeping correspondents in Iraq and Afghanistan and Pakistan and Jerusalem. Thatâs not free. And those people are often risking their lives to bring you that information and knowledge.â
âA comment on a blog is free. But you will have to pay for the insight of [TIME columnists] Joe Klein or...Fareed Zakaria, for there is a deep investment that has been made in their experience, their talent, their contacts, their perspective. Thatâs worth a lot."
While getting consumers to pay for content is a hot button issue in the publishing industry, I wonder exactly what Stengel was hoping to accomplish by broaching the subject during his speech. Were his intentions to convert graduates to subscribers? Perhaps Stengel should have saved his paid content woes for an op-ed, and used this platform instead to demonstrate what actually makes TIME worth paying for: wisdom from a trusted, researched source.
Sadly, this marks a missed opportunity for Stengel, TIME and the magazine industry overall. Educated youth should be enticed to become readers of legacy media brands, not guilted into a subscription purchase.
Piano playing cat viral videos, engaging TedTalks on renewable energy, killer blogs and real-time information feeds are creating a transformational shift that continues to redefine the boundaries of advertising. Agencies today are actually spending money in the hopes of creating the next cheap-looking viral video, as shown in a recent episode of The Pitch on AMC. But these are short term tactics, with an inherently short shelf life in many cases; one that can be quickly replaced by the next viral video. These strategies donât build a cohesive brand or identity â something that you want to be remembered for.
At UBM TechWeb, we share many of the same challenges most marketers face. But we are in a unique position in that we have to satisfy two audiences: business technology users who consume our information, and our marketing customers. Our clients are looking to create deeper engagement with prospects that can be measured, beyond clicks and views, through innovative products like lead nurturing and thriving communities. Our audiences are seeking practical, intelligent information to make smart decisions. The question reveals itself: how do you engage a mass audience, create greater brand loyalty, while also working toward and fulfilling the goals of your clients?
At UBM TechWeb, we have found that the optimal way to engage the audience for the long term is by exciting the user intellectually by giving away educational, intellectual pieces of unbiased, premium content that only we can produce. These pieces of content can take weeks to create given the careful research that goes into them and has monetary value attached to it. We decided to create an annual budget for the creation of these special reports and give it away as a reward to our audience. Our engagement trends are more promising than ever before.
How do we do this? A typical scenario goes like this. The user, weâll call her Lisa, is presented with an email offer that is relevant to the types of content she consumes and actions she has taken. We know Lisa is a cloud professional who routinely attends our cloud webcasts, frequently downloads our whitepapers on the subject and has also attended a live event dedicated to the topics a year ago. As we reward our audiences for their loyalty to our offerings, it has become apparent that Lisa would be more interested in a premium report that we would offer for free, like the â5 Steps to building the Private Cloud,â priced at $99.00. By offering Lisa a report at no cost, one that is directly relevant to her, we have constructed an opportunity to create an even deeper and more loyal relationship with her.
As publishers, what is it that you can do to reward your audience intellectually and emotionally to make them more loyal to your brand? Is there valuable content that only you can produce, that your audience will cherish? There has to be, and if there isnât, you have not thought hard enough. Remember this: only your company is able to create and share expert content like no one else. If you donât have that talent, seek that talent and start producing now.
Imran Suleman is a digital marketer and content strategist for technology companies looking to evolve their brand and products into world class entities through the power of astute content marketing.
If TIME's latest cover sets the newsstand a-buzz as much as it has the social web it should have a hit on its hands. The May 21st U.S. edition touts a cover story about "attachment parenting" by featuring a young mother nursing her 3-year-old son who's standing on a chair and attached to her left, mostly exposed, breast. Both stare straight into the camera with practiced ennui.With the main cover lines shouting "Are You Mom Enough?" the cover is casually confrontational while subtly daring you to judge the concept itself. Media writer Jack Shafer quipped on Twitter that TIME has "Businessweek cover envy," alluding to a steady stream of provocative covers from Bloomberg Businessweek. That magazine's recent cover story on private equity was illustrated by an "American Psycho"-inspired, chainsaw wielding financier and was called out for misrepresenting the pro-private equity piece. Similarly provoking, but really more funny, a February Bloomberg Businessweek cover features fornicating jetliners. Hey, sex sells. But a Continental-United business merger? Not so much.The Economist is another weekly title that has used its covers to make its readers think, and sometimes chuckle, rather than bashing them over the head with the obvious.Envy or not, the newsstand is becoming a grim place to do business. The temptation to be eye-catching by tickling a funny bone or challenging a single-copy buyer's social or moral boundaries is high. But it's a fine line between nudge-nudge-wink-wink and this. One step over that line and you've abandoned wit for poor taste.Done right, however, and with some consistency, you can serve up a level of anticipation among readers and an added layer of personality to the brandâespecially those with a weekly frequency.
As long as there has been celebrity culture, there have been women griping about the unobtainability of airbrushed perfection. The latest controversy is led by 14-year-old Julia Bluhm, whose online petition asking Hearstâs Seventeen to publish one Photoshop-free spread a month caught the attention of the nation. The petition on change.org now has over 49,400 signatures, and the crusade culminated in a protest outside Hearst Towers yesterday.
In response to a request for comment, a Seventeen spokesperson emailed, âWeâre proud of Julia for being so passionate about an issue â itâs exactly the kind of attitude we encourage in our readers â so we invited her to our office to meet with editor in chief Ann Shoket this morning. They had a great discussion, and we believe that Julia left understanding that Seventeen celebrates girls for being their authentic selves, and thatâs how we present them. We feature real girls in our pages and there is no other magazine that highlights such a diversity of size, shape, skin tone and ethnicity.â
One can only imagine the conversation between Shoket and Bluhm, and whether Bluhm felt as if her concerns were properly addressed.
Regardless of Seventeenâs resolution, the rest of the industry is slowly addressing the âreal womenâ controversy. Conde Nast International announced the 19 editors on its international Vogue editions will ânot knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder,â reports the Wall Street Journal. PEOPLE opened its âMost Beautifulâ Issue to reader submissions; though only those between the age of 20 and 59 are eligible for consideration. Ladiesâ Home Journal continues the trend of âreal womenâ integration into its pages, with audience contribution featured in the majority of editorial content.
Setting impossible standards for the everyday woman is a crime media is often accused of, be it magazines, television or movies. But on the other side, one has to wonder if those women demanding realistic depictions on glossy covers would continue to buy products if this came true: Fantasy is a large selling point for consumer magazines, whether readers realize it or not.
Blaming Seventeen, Cosmo, Vogue etc. for creating impossible stereotypes strikes me as an oversimplification of a complex matter. Expecting corporate-produced products with ad page and circulation quotas to serve as moral compasses is as silly as expecting pop stars to behave as role models.
As it was reported by FOLIO: on March 29th, our long-time competitor, Texterity, has been acquired by Godengo. That same day, actually hours later, a venture capital firm contacted me and asked if I had heard the news. They then wondered if they could help me "keep up with the great things that Texterity and Godengo were going to do together." The question made me pause and take stock in what indeed had happened. Then it brought a smile to my face.
In my opinion, venture capital is definitely one direction a company can go when you need money and are growing a company. Many great companies have started that way and went on to do great things. However, I also believe this same strategy is a reason many companies have failed over the years. What follows the influx of cash from VC firms is generally a call to grow the company via customer acquisition, with little regard to making a profit. The model dictates that if you only get more customers, the rest will take care of itself.
Unfortunately, it doesnât work that way. Profits are really what allow that company to pay back investors or make the company so profitable that the venture capital people will get the payday they so desperately seek. If and when that doesnât happen, then you are expendable and subject to a merger, with the goal of the repackaged asset looking more valuable than it was before.
My partners and I determined long ago we were going to grow our business organically; taking anything we made and pouring it back into the company to grow Nxtbook into what we know it could be. Itâs not always easy to do that, given the promises of easy cash that can be achieved now through VC funding.
Since 2003, I have received calls or emails from 27 different VC firms, most of them multiple times over the years. These calls hit a frenzy in 2008 when we were named 303 on the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. Calls ranging from, "I just wanted check in and see if Nxtbook was ready for an investment yet," to "We will stay out of your way and let your team run the business" and my favorite, "You wonât even know we are around." Each time we turned them down because we knew what the investment would ultimately mean; we would lose control over our own business.
Like any industry, but especially prevalent in our industry, most of our competitors are funded by venture capitalists and seem to work hard at customer acquisition while not working at all to generate a profit. I draw this conclusion based on how many are providing software almost for free or charging very little for their product. Obviously customer acquisition is paramount to their play, since they long ago abandoned profit as a core to their business.
This lack of profit translates directly into a lack of customer service. How can you have any customer service, much less good customer service when you arenât making money to pay the people who provide it? Over time, this results in the changing of what was once a feared competitor. That change begins when the people who were the core of the company leave or are asked to leave because the company can no longer afford their talents. These people leave and the knowledge they have about the company and the industry is lost forever. Who sees it most are the customers who expected certain service levels to be maintained, yet those levels certainly erode over time.
I strongly believe that as a company your business life is made of choices, what you do and how you grow is all part of your business, your core fundamental belief in where you will travel as an organization. We as a company are here to make a profit. Not a crazy rich profit but one that provides an ability to grow as a company and keep up with the demands of the rapidly changing technology sector. We make that profit simply because that profit allows all things to be. Without it, we would be just another failed digital supplier being combined with another company with the hopes of something relevant coming out the other side.
We know that we are relevant right here and right now. Our customers depend on us to have a great product backed up by service that is second to none. Iâm not saying we always hit the target exactly in either area but I assure you we have and will continue to do our best in both regards. That is what makes us a great company, always striving to be the best partner to our very valuable clients.
Our employees depend on us to be around a long time and provide great benefits and good solid living potential for each and every one. This is a responsibility that we donât take lightly. They commit to give us with their best and they certainly deserve the same consideration in return.
Lastly, our community depends on us to be a light or shining example of a technology company right here in Lancaster, PA. We have no intention of shying away from that responsibility. We work in the community to show young people what is possible in technology without having to move away from home. We provide students job-shadowing opportunities, fund classrooms, and provide speakers to classes or invite teachers to Nxtbook to see us for themselves.
We feel all of these things are important to us as an organization but most important to us are you, our customers. We want you to know that we will continue providing strong product offerings backed up with customer service that is the best in the business. We are built for the long haul and I want to personally assure you that we will be here for you as our industry continues to move and shift. We wonât let you down.
Michael Biggerstaff is the chief inspiration officer at Nxtbook Media.
Does the homepage really matter? Yes -- but not, perhaps, for the reasons you may think.
The homepage is the single best way for editors to convey the sensibilities and values of their websites. Everything about the page â the design; the selection of stories and images; the treatment of features and widgets; the language and cadence of the headlines; the typeface; the frequency with which the page is updated; even the ads â is a statement about what matters to the publication. With one glance at the page (literally, a 10-second glance), a reader can get answers to these questions:
â˘ Whatâs this site about? News? Analysis? Service? Gossip?
â˘ Whatâs the sensibility? Serious? Playful? Quirky? Geeky?
â˘ What are the subject areas that matter most to its editors? Washington? Wall Street? Hollywood? Silicon Valley?
For these reasons, the homepage is, as the marketing team would put it, the ultimate brand statement. And, by the same logic, all this is true for the home screen of a magazineâs tablet app, too.
Thereâs one thing, though, that the homepage is not much good for: driving traffic. While I donât have data on this, itâs my sense, anecdotally, that many editors continue to believe that one of the primary goals of the homepage is to guide readers to the articles on the site. I know thatâs what I long believed. But the evidence â and here there is data â suggests the homepage is overvalued as a mechanism for generating visits to interior pages.
Across The Atlantic sites, the fraction of visits that begin on the homepage is surprisingly small. About 13 percent of visits to our flagship TheAtlantic.com start on the homepage. That figure is about 8 percent for The Atlantic Wire and 10 percent for The Atlantic Cities. That means, of course, that roughly 9 in 10 sessions begin on an article page or, much less frequently, a channel or author landing page.Â
It is the case, of course, that getting promoted to the homepage can give a boost to an article. Just not as much as we might have thought â and not the way we imagined. In the ongoing cubicle game to puzzle out the Google algorithm, our editors have noticed that a story that gets a big burst of traffic in a short period of time tends to fare better in search returns. The overall number of readers to the piece may not be huge, but if they come to the article within a narrow band of time, that may be enough to affect search returns, even days later. And, naturally, a story that does well in search tends to attract a larger audience.
So hereâs a traffic lever: a homepage tease can, in certain circumstances, generate a concentrated burst of readers to an article, which can tickle the Google algorithm and improve the storyâs performance in search. This peculiar bankshot is one way that a storyâs placement on the homepage can bring substantial traffic.
Still, with 90 percent of visits starting on a page not considered the homepage, one conclusion is obvious: Every page is a homepage. However readers arrive at our site â from a Yahoo link or a Facebook post or a Google search or a mention on YourMomsBlog â we need to find ways to keep them there. That means designing article pages to drive the next click: related content headlines, video boxes, most popular modules, most shared modules.
Many sites are good at this, but, paradoxically, being too good can be a problem. Iâve seen article pages on popular and respected sites with pop-ups, oversized social buttons, and right rails that look like Times Square. Donât forget why the audience came in the first place: to read the article.
For big media companies, all this can be scary. As powerful as the brand may be, itâs disconcerting to realize that each article lives out there by itself and has to succeed on its own. This is more true than ever in the atomized world of social media, where the individual post, photo gallery, and infographic is untethered from the brand and shared as an independent unit.
You can post that unit to your home page â and if itâs good, you should. But thatâs not how readers will find it.
Bob Cohn is editor of Atlantic Digital. In this role, he oversees all editorial components of The Atlanticâs digital and mobile properties, including TheAtlantic.com, TheAtlanticWire.com, and TheAtlanticCities.com, as well as the print publicationâs integration on digital platforms.
Frank Cutitta, CEO of the Center for Global Branding, speaking at the American Business Media Annual Meeting in San Francisco Tuesday, offered an insight into the relationship of IT and Marketing. With a slide showing a road sign warning drivers to slow down next to another of a rocket careening out of control, said: âIT is the land of slow and no. Theyâre like, âFrank, we have to really think this through.â And marketing is the unguided missile. Like me.
âThere are few people with âdouble-deepâ skills, expertise in IT and in marketing,â he concluded.
MORE 2012 ABM ANNUAL MEETING COVERAGE:
ABM Annual Meeting CoverageJack Griffin at ABM Annual Meeting: Not Enough Advertising to Support All of Us
The Western Publishing Association had its annual conference Friday in Los Angeles after a layoff of a couple of years. Called WPA Media Publishing Conference 3.0: Navigation. Innovation. Growth, the event was lightly attended, with perhaps 100-120 total attendees, including speakers and exhibitors. (Pictured to the right is the closing panel: Rick Calvert, CEO, BlogWorld & New Media Expo; Jordan Gold, VP, products & content, Freedom Interactive; Dan McCarthy, partner, DeSilva + Phillips. Pictured below to the right is the closing panel audience.)
But the content was often quite strong, and as with all face-to-face events, there are always important snippets of insight and business approaches worth holding on to. Following are some of the highlights.
â˘ Paul Miller, CEO of UBM Electronics and UBM Canon, on the future of his business: âI donât think advertising is the future for us. Weâre engaged in marketing services and e-commerce.â
â˘ Also from Miller: âThe tech-publishing sector is the front seat of the roller coaster.â
â˘ Dan McCarthy, partner at DeSilva + Phillips, in the executive forum: âThe holy grail is to push your way into your audienceâs workflow. Salespeople need the tools to say, âThis is exactly what Iâve given you, but what are you giving me credit for?â Counting outcomes is the single biggest practice that needs to move from digital to print.â
â˘ 1105 Media CEO Neal Vitale, during the same session: âPrepackage what it is you want your client to know.â â˘ McCarthy in the same session: âClients stop doing business with you not because your results are bad, but because your customer service is bad.â
â˘ McCarthy during the closing session: âThere are three trends in companies that are doing really well. First, demand value for the things they think are valuable. They sell something. Second, they build their companies around technology, including emerging ones. And third, they have people of all ages working at their companies. They donât need young people, they need smart people able to learn new things. And hereâs another: They are increasingly willing to partner.â
â˘ McCarthy during the closing session: âThe position of âchief digital officerâ is window dressing. It makes me cringe. The guy or woman who runs the company should be responsible.â
Expanding the b-to-b audience is something all publishers in this demographic are trying to doâgrowing circulation beyond traditional bases is essential in 2012 and something Nick Cavnar, vice president of circulation for Hanley Wood Business Media, understands.
When looking at new media versus a qualified model, media professionals can see that the results provide somewhat of a schizophrenic audience model, Cavnar told an audience of about 30 at a recent meeting of the National Trade Circulation Foundation, Inc.
Print circulation sticks with the old rules, Cavnar said. The cost of print, paper and postage favors the highly qualified audience model, while new media focuses on new metrics of tracking what an audience views, opens, clicks and likes as a way to validate qualifications.
The question of breaking with the traditional, said Cavnar, is worth considering.
âAdding additional âexpandedâ circulation by sending the digital edition to newsletter lists, event attendees and others normally means going to a broader list that isnât as tightly qualified as the print circulation,â he tells AD. âExpanded circulation might include business groups outside of the core advertising marketâsmaller companies, distributors and manufacturers as well as end users. Expanded circulation may also show up as non-request sources in a BPA statement thatâs always been 100 percent direct request, or might include 3-year dates.â
Cavnar is right. Looking beyond your traditional audience to target and convert newsletter recipients, trade show and conference attendees, and Web visitors as part of your qualified audience is an easy and effective way to expand reach. But, what about less obvious means of expansion, and not just with digital editions?
Young people in colleges and universities around the United States could be a perfect source to expand your b-to-b audience, capturing an entirely new generation of professionals while they are in the beginning stages of their careers. While converting new bases and young professionals can be an effective way to expand reach, there can be some issues associated with breaking from the norm.
âThe âproblem and concernâ here is whether sales people and advertisers will understand the added value of these broader audiences, when for so long theyâve focused only on very tightly qualified print circulation,â says Cavnar. âThe challenge for publishers is to show that they are still delivering the tightly qualified core, but can offer additional broader coverage to the advertiser at very little or no additional cost, due to the lower cost of delivering the digital version.â
What about taking it a step further, beyond just the digital edition? A b-to-b magazine about construction, for instance, could contact college and university level architecture and design programs around the country and offer a subscription to students that could be incorporated into the course curriculum. Courting college professors could grow circulation--they could position a publication as a vital information source on the current market climate in a particular industry and secure new demographics for years to come.
Furthermore, if offering a subscription at cost, a reduced price subscriptionâmaybe $100 a yearâis considerably cheaper than the majority of academic textbooks and something the majority of students and educators would likely be open to. Take the New York Times as one example. While it isn't b-to-b, the paper offers journalism and communications students a discounted subscription, and the news reported in the publication is leveraged into classroom discussions and courses.
Whatever the avenue, the market is ever changing and looking beyond the traditional audience is not only an effective way to expand circulation, but vital to capturing overlooked bases of professionals.
T.J. Raphael is the Associate Editor ofÂ Audience Development Magazine.Â
Itâs 6 p.m. on a typical Monday and my office e-mail box has logged in 110 e-mails today. As is true of most workdays, about 20 percent of them were from people or businesses I knew or people or products I want to know. The rest were solicitations or introductions from those who shall be know as the âdeleted mob.â
Iâm not complaining, mind you . . . I can tie a chunk of my own compensation to efficient and targeted e-mail as can most modern day publishers. We live by the marketer who wants to use our qualified readers to target, often in some sort of adjacency to content. But does anyone else think itâs just gotten out of hand?
Here are just a few of the things that some publishers are doing today that really irritate me and, I think, help us devalue our brands and our relationships with our readers:
Letâs be chums: Why do publishers think it is okay to personalize e-mail blasts to, among others, âDear Warren N,â or âDear W,â or âDear (insert name) or âWarren?" Iâm a formal kind of guy so, âDear Mr. Bimblick,â is fine for me. Or if you really prefer the familiar, âYoâ works for me more than these just plain wrong salutations.
The sneak attack: Thatâs those publishers who run webinars that I donât sign up for and then email me â âYou missed our client-sponsored webinar on a topic.â Only problem is they donât always tell me the topic.
Speaking of webinar pitches: âTop 15 reasons why . . . â or âA free checklist of the 7 things . . .â Couldnât the marketers of these things be more original. How about, âYour business will self-destruct unless you listen to tips on how not to do email?"
Lousy house ads: So many e-letter published populate their e-letters with house ads for subscriptions or events that are clearly picked of from somewhere else. You canât read the date of the event. Or, there are nine typefaces crammed into a tiny space. And the clip art.
Anyway, time to go home and get through my personal e-mail box.
Warren Bimblick is senior vice president, strategy and business development, at Penton Media.