Glossy Anglers Journal Proves the Power of Niche
What was the general idea behind the plan?
Basically, that the world does not need another fishing magazine. There are some very good ones out there, and we didn't want to do a "me too." What we wanted to do was something that was completely different from what anybody else was doing.
The philosophy here at AIM is that the print experience has to be an exceptional experience. (We don't believe print is dead, by the way.) So the vision was to put a product out that was almost a bespoke product: A magazine that talked to the experienced angler, but not about the process of how to fish. These guys know how to fish. They've been fishing their whole lives. What we're going to do instead is to share their experiential situations with each other. So the book is very much about educating on some level, but educating deeply on another. It'll have in-depth stories about grandpa fishing with son and grandson, and how that came about.
Was it tough to get the top brass on board?
Well, when we first sat down with [AIM's CEO and COO], they were a little reluctant. But once we really explained what we wanted to do, they were completely on board. And that sounds really simple, but at AIM, their philosophy is to allow people to run their businesses and do their jobs. There's nobody here saying, "No." But they do say, "Go, run with it. If you have the passion and the commitment, and you think it can work, go for it."
Was the launch more challenging than some of your other titles?
I think the most difficult thing for us was sticking to our guns. We had a plan on how to monetize it, obviously. And yet when we weren't as successful with the first issue as I wanted to be, it would have been very easy to cut circulation, and cut the paper quality or not use original photography. So we had to be disciplined to say, 'We're going to put out the product we envisioned, no matter what.' We wouldn't put out an inferior product and then hope we could grow it into the product we knew it could be. So I think a lesson learned is that if you have the vision, stick with it.
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Dan Eldridge is a journalist and guidebook author based in Philadelphia's historic Old City district, where he and his partner own and operate Kaya Aerial Yoga, the city's only aerial yoga studio. A longtime cultural reporter, Eldridge also writes about small business and entrepreneurship, travel, and the publishing industry. Follow him on Twitter at @YoungPioneers.