Kalmbach has seen huge success with its yearly Bead and Button Show in Milwaukee and regards it as a template for possible future projects. "We love that event and we like the implications it has for other things in the future," Keefe says.
Not surprisingly, enthusiast publishers have jumped into social media as a way to further galvanize and inspire special interest crowds. A Facebook campaign by Active Interest Media spoofing the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue asked Yoga Journal followers to post poses for a mock "model search," and get friends to vote for them. "We blew out the servers," Zimbalist says. The second year, the event was sold to a sponsor for six figures.
Yoga Journal also promotes a 21-day yoga challenge on Facebook and its website—also sponsored.
F+W Media interacts with millions daily on social media, Domville says, with content from experts in various fields. "We test new audience development initatives on an ongoing basis through social media, from free ebook downloads to exclusive offers, promotions, contests, sales and more. Social media is just one part of our larger, shared responsibilty across the company to grow our audience via all channels, on- and offline. For F+W, social media is an entry to the company, not a passive follower/fan relationship."
For Kalmbach, growth in digital has not changed the fact that most of their money comes from selling print magazines like Trains and Model Railroader.
"Our magazines dominate the various fields they are in and no one has come along with an exclusively digital product that has been much of a competitive threat," Keefe says. "I still believe people in these markets want print magazines or, increasingly, the next closest relative of a print magazine, which is a rich digital [replica]."