8 Ways to Ensure E-commerce Earns Dollars Without Burning Your Brand
"Even if we'd had [other] ideas, they would have formed themselves as ancillary products, because they would have been hanging off of a magazine. And that is what traditional publishers have done," says O'Connor Abrams. "Our founding mission was always about putting the community in the center. The brands that listen to their community will be the ones that are successful."
2. Use Your Brand
NewBay Media is another publisher that's tight with its community, and leverages its niche brands to better connect with and serve its members.
"The most passionate guitarists read our magazines, and they read them not just for the content that we create but for the ads, too," says Bill Amstutz, vice president and general manager, Music Group, NewBay Media. "There's still a lot of value in the print, but it is a challenged revenue stream, so we're looking for other revenues wherever we can."
Take Guitar World, for example: Its online store launched nearly a half-decade ago. Initially limited, serving as a shopping site for lesson DVDs, it became more popular and grew in scope to include all of the publisher's brands. Today, the e-commerce site not only offers subscriptions and back issues, DVDs and soon digital downloads, but also books, t-shirts and "all kinds of swag," says Amstutz, representing products produced by NewBay, as well as music-themed goods they've sourced from third-party vendors.
Amstutz is relentlessly protective of the NewBay brands, but acknowledges that if sales of products can stave off further fiscal decline, then leveraging the brands in this way is smart. "I believe publishers in five years will look back and more likely think, 'Why didn't we diversify more?' I don't believe that we'll look back at this time and determine that we've diluted our brands."
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