November 2007 Issue


‘Keeping the Bad Out’

I’ve said this before, but it seems that every day, new configurations of content blur the lines of media. The TV-radio-Internet-magazine-advertising world has become one big, fuzzy conglomeration. Television producers and characters/actors are blogging online. Magazine and newspaper editors and reporters are doing live video coverage, voice-overs and video editing. Television and radio news stations are putting news stories online. Magazines have television shows (and in this issue, you can read about how Essence magazine created the first-ever online reality dating show), and television shows have magazines (e.g., “Lost”). New business models are being tested (Paste magazine’s use of a “Pay What You Want”

12 Tips for Successful Custom Publishing

1 Focus on the industries you know. What industries do your current magazine titles cover? In what areas do your editors have expertise? Those areas should be your primary targets for custom publishing customers. 2 Use your existing customer base for research projects for custom clients as well as for your marketing strategy. 3 Position your custom clients as experts and publicize their expertise through multiple channels, where appropriate, including publications, e-newsletters, research papers, webinars, Web sites and events. 4 If you have multiple custom clients in one subject area, and the clients do not compete with each other, consider sharing content among publications. 5 Content is king.

3 Rich Data Products Driving Major Profits

As publishers learn how best to position themselves and their products in the digital era, one of the most important realizations has been that new publishing formats can and should complement, rather than compete with, each other. Leading the way into this new paradigm has been the revenue-generating possibilities of rich data (also called business-intelligence applications)—the repurposing/restructuring of content/data that allows companies to use existing expertise and assets to draw existing online audiences back again and again, reach new audiences and realize explosive revenue growth. With the rise of rich data has come a number of disparate applications tailored to the needs of

5 Steps to Success With Rich Data Products

Not all companies will conclude that marketing rich data products makes sense for them, but it’s worthwhile to at least explore these opportunities. Innodata Isogen—a provider of knowledge process outsourcing and information technology services—suggests the following five steps to develop successful rich data products. Step 1: Perform a Customer Survey Ask your customers how you are currently meeting their needs, and how you can help them realize their vision for their business. Also, ask your staff how they think your customers are now using your information, and what they believe your customers would like to derive from it. Develop your best analysis of what people are

Budget Forecasting Secrets

One of the joys of Excel is that there are so many ways to skin your calculation cat. You can assemble a budget in any way you like because the ultimate math involved is very simple: Multiply the price times the number of times you buy something, then sum everything. It may even seem unnecessary to layer a little complexity into a budget worksheet, but there are some good reasons to elevate your Excel skills. The hallmark of a great budget spreadsheet is that it contains a little intelligence of its own: the ability to handle a wide range of details more consistently than

Calculating Signature Counts with FLOOR

Definition and Syntax • FLOOR rounds a number down to the nearest number of significance, toward zero. • FLOOR(number,significance) How to Use It • Simply rounding the result of a division or multiplication is all well and good in the elastic world of pure numbers, but not always useful if you’re working on tangible things. Say you have 86 text pages and want to know how many 32-page signatures you can print. Excel would round up the answer to the whole number 3, but there aren’t three full 32s in there, only 2.625. • FLOOR solves the problem by rounding down to the significance you specify. FLOOR(86/32,1) equals 2.

Content on the Go

In today’s publishing world, content must be easily and instantaneously manipulated—no matter whether it’s headed to the Web, a magazine or a directory, burned to a CD or DVD, or broadcast in the form of a podcast. “Content repurposing … should certainly be top-of-mind for magazine publishers,” suggests John Kreisa, director of product marketing, Mark Logic Corp., San Carlos, Calif. “Putting the right infrastructure in place is key to tapping into that market. …” But evaluating whether to “build or buy” is often a publisher’s first hurdle. “I think the decision … should be based upon business objectives and expectations for growth,” says Peter

Custom Publishing: Are You Getting Your Slice of This Growing Market?

Marketing, it is often said,is about creating identity. In an era when terms like “guerilla” and “viral” are frequently attached to advertising programs, there’s still something to be said for strategies that are less chaotic, more controlled—that allow time for impressions of a brand or product to actually sink in. If you don’t believe it, just look at custom publishing. By almost any measure—including number of titles, total circulation and revenue allocated—custom publishing is on the rise. According to a recent study from the Custom Publishing Council, the total number of unique custom titles in North America increased last year to 125,044, a

Cycling Through Variations with CHOOSE

Definition and Syntax • CHOOSE selects a value from a series based on an index number. • CHOOSE(indexNumber,value1,value2,value3,etc.) How to Use It • CHOOSE(2,dog,cat,pony) will return cat, the second value in the series. It’s only an interesting formula when the index number is a variable on the worksheet. For example, CHOOSE(escalation,1.02,1.025,1.03) references an escalation cell, where you type in 1, 2, 3, etc. Better still, write CHOOSE(escalation,bestCase,worstCase,LikelyCase) and fill in all four variables on the worksheet. • CHOOSE is limited to a list of 29 values, but your own ability to structure indexed queries probably stops short of that number anyway. When to Use It • The CHOOSE function can help

Extracting Values with LEFT, MID or RIGHT Plus VALUE

Definition and Syntax • LEFT delivers the leftmost character or characters in a text string. RIGHT does the same thing from the right-hand side. • LEFT(text,number of characters) • MID delivers the characters starting from a position you specify. • MID(text,starting position,number of characters) How to Use It • Suppose the binding calculations on your worksheet are labeled 3 pockets, 4 pockets and so forth, starting with cell A22. The number of pockets is right there in the label, but it’s part of a longer text string. We can use LEFT to pluck out of the first two characters, which will cover us to

Magazine Produces First-ever Web Reality Dating Show

What happens when five single women embark on a blind-dating adventure in New York City to find love and romance? Sounds like a tagline for the latest Fox reality show, right? Actually, the recently completed “30 Dates in 30 Days,” produced by Time Inc.’s Essence magazine, marked the first-ever interactive reality dating show for the Web. A great example of a consumer magazine blending Web 2.0 tools with its strong brand and its readership’s voracious appetite for original content, “30 Dates in 30 Days” paired five single women with six eligible bachelors. A daily “webisode” was unveiled to visitors chronicling each date. Essence received

Realtor Magazine’s MAJOR Turnaround

With more than 1.3 million readers, Realtor Magazine is one of the largest business magazines in the country and the leading publication of the Washington, D.C.-based National Association of Realtors (NAR). While the magazine’s closest competitor has only between 30,000 and 50,000 readers, according to NAR, Realtor Magazine was continually in the red for some time. Then things changed. The company attributes its multimillion-dollar turnaround to a few key factors: insightful involvement from NAR and its strong foundation as the nation’s largest trade organization; hiring a seasoned publisher with for-profit publishing experience; and providing timely information that serves the needs of every member of

Rising to the Challenge of the Active Teen Market

You might be tempted to call it a home-court advantage. Rise, a sports and active lifestyle magazine for and about high school athletes, has succeeded in engaging that elusive, yet lucrative teen audience by offering localized content and distributing the publication where teens spend the bulk of their time––in schools. Published eight times a year, each issue of Rise publishes as a national edition, as well as 25 “local” editions that cater to the top 25 designated market areas (DMAs) in the country. Each local edition devotes 50 percent of its content to coverage of that geographic area. Not an easy––or inexpensive––task, but one

Steering the “New World Digital Order”

There is a book by Ray Kurzweil called “The Singularity Is Near.” In this book, Mr. Kurzweil has a theory about The Law of Accelerating Returns, which states that in today’s business environment, “Change happens faster than we are able to forecast or predict it.” This is a departure not only from long ago, but from our more recent past as well. There was, in our lifetime, the possibility of accurately predicting technologic growth. Those days have gone up in digital smoke. Technologic growth that once took multiple generations to achieve now happens in months. Another of Mr. Kurzweil’s concepts is that the rate of

Writing Clear Formulas with INTERSECT

Definition and Syntax • You may have thought Excel’s refusal to allow a space in a formula or a name is a pesky limitation in our digital world. Not quite. A space is actually an operator in Excel, like the plus sign. • It’s called the intersect operator, and it works like this: Find the value when the item in the row on one side of the space crosses the item in the column on the other side of the space. How to Use It • Suppose you have a table of three columns: labels, makeready and run. Then you make rows for all the press configurations