Magazine Money Makers
When times are tough, it pays to consider new ways of generating revenue. After attending sessions at MagazineTech 2001 in New York City recently, the following tips were suggested by successful magazine publishing professionals.
1. Digital ads: Film costs money to buy, process and print. Never mind that we live in a digital world, there are still many advertisers who are sending film, publishers who aren't requesting otherwise and standards that have yet to be established to make everyone's job easier. To get the ball rolling, communications between all parts of the publishing puzzle need to be examined. If so, digital ads will become the norm.
2. Reprints: As a kid selling lemonade, wouldn't it have been great to be able to sell the same cup to more than one customer? The same can be said for content. With electronic publishing and digitization being what it is, it's possible to make money from preexisting content. Republish it! More and more customers are requesting new forms of reprints in electronic form. If you have the content, you might as well reuse it. Think of it as recycling: everyone wins.
3. Web publishing: You can only sell so many ads in a magazine, despite what even the most successful salesperson says. But there's nothing stopping you from also developing a top-notch Web site for repurposing some of your content for revenue's sake. Web publishing enables a publisher to reach wider audiences, not to mention snag new advertisers and readers. Online content acts like teasers to print publications. Plus, with enough people driven online, in addition to magazines, advertisers may be very willing to tap into this new outlet—especially if it can also drive traffic to their own Web sites.
4. E-newsletters: We're addicted to them, whether we like it or not. E-mail has replaced the phone calls and faxes that once characterized the office place. So, while we're logged in, why not create a value-added service for readers? E-mail newsletters create the opportunity to reach a diverse cross-section of readers right on their desktops, as well as opens the door for sponsorship opportunities. It's a publishers way of giving something back, as well as getting more and faster exposure.
5. Buyers guides: Depending on the industry you serve, a magazine can also be a more formulaic guide to buying. From trade publications to consumer cash cows, buyers' guide issues, and special editions and bonus listing sections are common ways of measuring the industry served, as well as providing a cross-section of services and information. Whether you want to learn where to buy the best skis for your next trip to Vail or who the top 10 printers are throughout North America, a buyers' resource guide can make this information accessible to readers—while providing the chance to court relevant advertisers.
6. Remote proofing: If you're already sitting in front of a desktop computer, why not sit in front of that same desktop computer and proof work remotely? Also called "soft proofing" or "online proofing," the idea is to dial into a network to evaluate a project before it goes to press. It's an especially helpful option for people who travel or who may need to make approvals faster—faster than waiting for proofs to arrive via the postal service or even on disk.
7. E-procurement: Your printer says it can print a job for (insert fee here). But how do you know that your printers estimate is the most feasible? Or, if you are a paper buyer, how can you be sure that you are securing best prices? E-procurement and online bidding is another way to research and compare prices before you buy into any publishing service. All it takes is time to log online and cast your project out for vendors to nibble in a number of available industry forums. Once you have determined that price and service is compatible with your final expectations, reeling in the deal is as easy as a click of a mouse. Because many of these services are managed differently, it's important to evaluate how much or how little intervention you require to seal any deal.
8. Archiving: If you already have content and are willing to digitize it, there's little stopping you from archiving it. Luckily, there are more and more vendors who are offering digital asset management solutions that not only allow for e-publishing opportunities, but also republishing solutions. For example, if you're a magazine that also publishes international satellite editions, it may be feasible to create an archived database of images to exchange among partners throughout the world, rather than tediously send and resend images via disk. Or, even if you are a small magazine publisher who intends on pursuing revenue opportunities with reprints, organizing your assets could mean the difference between reusing content for profit and storing content inefficiently.
9. Standardization: Though you have made the move towards digitization, the question remains about which file format best suits advertisers, publishers and printers. As a result, many printers have outlined suggestions on how to standardize. These rules include how to get on the same page with ad agencies and their customers (your advertisers), as well as how to better transmit digital files to printers for best quality printing. Experimentation is no excuse for disorganization. Most experts agree that when you detail your expectations to all parties involved in the publishing process, getting on the same page will be a lot easier, not to mention it will make the page look better in the long run.
10. Computer-to-Plate (CTP): You've heard the old adage, "It takes money to make money," right? It's never been so true as with CTP technology. More proponents of CTP technology boast that time, money savings and quality control measures are benefits of the process. And while conversion may mean training, investing and even rescheduling, the end results deliver a better-looking product in less time for less money than it takes to work in analog.
-Natalie Hope McDonald