Although quality and meaningful content are cornerstones of successful magazine publishing, they are no longer enough to sustain it. As subscription fees are increasingly difficult to depend on and advertising revenues continue to shrink, publishers are turning to other methods to leverage their brand and platform. Innovation will be key to keeping your publication viable and profitable.
Trends and opportunities
Innovation means introducing something new. Innovation in publishing often leads to a diversity of offerings and expanded reach. Currently, podcasts are a hot trend. Unlike video, podcasts don’t require much equipment and staff to produce an informative or entertaining podcast. Podcasts allow audiences to listen at their own convenience, even while commuting to work. Podcasts connect with audiences on a deep level, inspiring loyalty and helping to convert listeners into subscribers.
E-newsletters are another great way magazine publishers are engaging with audiences. Because of their low cost to produce and deliver, e-newsletters are an excellent platform to engage with specific audiences. They can be focused on subtopics in your niche and can be yet another vehicle for advertisers, as well as a driver for subscriptions.
Events are a powerful way to build and promote your brand while bringing in revenue. We’re not talking about industry conferences and expositions, but events surrounding a particular niche. For example, a cooking magazine may host cooking demos or wine tastings, while an outdoor title might sponsor fishing contests, gun shows, or sporting expositions. The possibilities are endless.
E-commerce is another area publishers are exploring. From simple affiliate links to marketplaces for related products, publishers are taking advantage of their audience’s interests to sell them related products.
Today, magazine publishers are not only concerned with creating and implementing a publishing strategy, they are devoted to building their brand. The most successful publishers will integrate multiple channels ― from videos, newsletters, and podcasts, to online learning courses and prestigious in-person events ― which create revenue streams while strengthening the magazine’s brand. Here are a few of the latest strategies:
- Partner with other brands for mutual promotion opportunities. Partnerships with the right brands on the right projects will help you reach new customers and boost your brand identity. For example, People magazine partnered with dating app Tinder to feature 50 of the sexiest men of Tinder across America. It also partnered with M&M’s candy to name its yellow the “Sexiest M Alive.”
- Many publishers are leveraging their content into membership models that consist of subscriptions plus access to special collections, email newsletters, a print magazine, etc. This is a smart way to give extra value to your readers.
Use your data
The data you collect is one of your biggest assets. It will tell you how well you are meeting the needs of your audience, what channels are most effective for reaching your audience, and where you are lacking. Are you meeting expected goals, such as revenue, subscribers, or engagement levels? Make sure you collect and analyze data across all of your channels and platforms to get a complete picture of your audience’s behaviors. Your data will help determine where you need to focus your efforts to better engage with readers and increase revenue.
Magazine publishers today are not simply creators of a print or digital publication for a specific audience. They also head up franchises that engage readers with relevant high-quality content, audio and video learning opportunities, and social media groups. There’s no denying the magazine publishing industry is changing ― those companies that can move into other areas through innovation and creative thinking will be the ones who succeed in this evolving industry.