Roy Reiman, founder of Reiman Publications, opened the 2nd annual FOLIO: Publishing Summit Tuesday, offering this keynote message for publishers, "The goal is to have a magazine that is so informative and in such demand that you can get by on subscriptions alone," he says, adding "Then the ads are the frosting on the cake."
That thought was echoed in later sessions at the two-day conference at the Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago by speakers Dan Woods, associate publisher of marketing for Make, and Robert Osborn, senior vice president and group publisher for the Journal Group of Dowden Health Media.
Five hundred and eleven publishing professionals, which included more than 82 presidents and CEOs, 132 vice presidents and senior vice presidents and 75 publishers, attended the FOLIO: Publishing Summit, a better than 62 percent increase over last year’s attendees. And the expo hall in The Innovation Arena was sold out.
Reiman told event participants how he used his $6,800 life savings to start a publishing empire he ultimately sold to the Reader’s Digest Association for $760 million in 2002.
But it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Reiman.
"I lost my life savings," he explained of his first venture into publishing. "That was my master’s degree in publishing. But I learned a lot. You learn a lot more by your mistakes than you do by your successes."
Reiman said, above all else, publishers should get people talking about their products.
That sentiment was echoed by Make’s Woods, who spoke at a session titled "How to Get Noticed Without Breaking the Bank."
Woods attributes it all to word of mouth. "We’ve been mentioned in Newsweek, two New York Times op-ed columns, the Wall Street Journal, MTV, CNN and Techtv and we did it all through buzz marketing," he says. Woods’ advice, "Blog like there’s no tomorrow," and make everyday people part of the stories.
Osborn, of Dowden Health Media, says his company, which publishes medical magazines, partners with physicians and other clients on exhibitions and Web sites, and repurposes content to bring in revenue without relying on advertising. His company had 45 percent growth in revenues between 2003 and 2005, most of which came from non-ad sources.