As mass-market publishing continues to struggle, there is a bright spot for publishers who, instead of trying to appeal to a broad audience, narrow their focus to a specific niche. And it’s not just small independent publishers who are profiting from niche publishing.
Meredith Corporation knows the value of focus. It recently scored a huge profit, tripling its revenues for the first quarter of 2019 by selling off titles that don’t fit its focus on women’s magazines. Meredith sold Time magazine and expects to close on the sale of Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and Money in fiscal year 2019. The company is using the proceeds to pay off debt and focus on serving its mostly female audience with its stable of lifestyle magazines and digital properties.
Cut to the chase
With the glut of information available both online and off, it’s easy for audiences to get overwhelmed. They don’t have time to sift through all this information to get to what they want or need. Niche publishers do that for their audience. Niche publishers take a narrow topic that has a passionate following and serve up the valuable content that helps develop engaged, loyal readers. A niche publication fills a unique space rather than trying to appeal to a broad audience.
Niche publishers understand what their readers want, and they nurture the connection with their readers by providing the content they crave and by engaging over social media. A relatively small subscriber base — but a very passionate one — is a win for both the publisher and advertisers targeting a specific audience. And because the subscriber base is small, publishers can be nimbler. If one strategy doesn’t work, they can make changes more quickly and less expensively.
Exploiting the niche
Having a narrow focus and providing content for a specific passionate audience doesn’t necessarily mean a successful publication. In today’s digital age, you need to engage with your readership in every possible way. For example, your print publication should drive readers to the website and your website should be discoverable, create buzz, and drive subscriptions. Use email messages to touch base and announce new content. Build community through interactive devices such as quizzes, author chats, and forums as well as online and in-person events. Boost interest and understanding by using visual elements such as videos and infographics. Social media needs to be a key element of your overall publishing strategy, and it’s important to be actively engaged in the relevant channels.
The depth of knowledge you can glean from a focused and engaged audience is immense and invaluable. You know their likes, dislikes, needs, pain points, online activity, and buying behaviors. That knowledge not only allows you to better meet the content needs of your subscribers but also provides premium advertising opportunities and sponsorships for companies wanting to reach your highly targeted audience.
Contact your Sheridan representative for a consultation or visit our contact page to learn how Sheridan professionals can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.