Events Take on Greater Importance as City and Regional Publishers Seek Diversification
When luxury title publisher Palm Beach Media Group announced in October the launch of a new venture called Illustrated Events, the move offered yet another piece of evidence that signals the growing role events will play in diversifying a publisher's business model.
Events are not an original concept for Palm Beach Media Group or many other publishers. However, as I highlight in the Trends in City & Regional Publishing feature in the new Fall issue of Publishing Executive Magazine, every publishing executive that I spoke to said their company plans to increase its focus and investment on events going forward.
“We've been hosting events for more than 20 years but we launched this new division not only to develop events in conjunction with ad sales but to seek out and produce events on their own, separate from magazine revenue and advertising agreements," said Terry Duffy, group publisher of Palm Beach Media Group. "We plan to use our reputation and relationships to build the business and create events to the greater community while providing unique branding opportunities for our clients."
Events are not only an effective means of generating brand awareness and revenue, they're fun. It's a grind publishing a monthly magazine for everyone involved and events provide a unique opportunity for readers to interact with those involved in producing each issue as well as a way to bring clients and their customers together in a relaxed atmosphere.
Potential ideas for magazine hosted events are endless and can vary by region, area of specialty, and demographics of residents in the area served by the publication.
An event celebrating different ways of eating crab may be popular in Maine or Baltimore where a taco festival may prove more popular in Phoenix.
Other event ideas include, beer or wine tasting, live music festival, home tours, health and fitness expos. The list of events a magazine can host is almost limited only by imagination.
Most regionals feature "Best of" issues or numerical lists on various topics such as top doctors or best communities. Each of these issues could have an associated event. The potential for a high ROI is great if executed properly.
Whatever your choice, the main objective is to create buzz around your brand, build a sense of community and generate new revenue while also offering partners a new and fun way to expose their brands to existing and potential customers.
"We've done events for a long time but typically more from a branding angle or community benefits," said Dan Brogan, president & editor-in-chief of 5280 magazine in Denver. "We didn't do them to any great extent to make money but we are starting to do more.
"Events are an advantage a local publication has," Brogan continued. "It's an opportunity for us to get face to face with our audience that national publications can't do as easily."
Diversification has become a must if a publishing company is going to thrive during this period of transition. The days of living on magazine advertising alone are over and events appear ready to take center stage as a means of helping publishers do so.
Ron Matejko is the President of Phoenix, Ariz.-based MVP Media, an award-winning digital publishing company. Matejko has 16 years of publishing experience in print, Web and mobile and has worked on the staff of two award-winning publications.
MVP Media publishes MVP Magazine, the first interactive sports publication, which won a Bronze 2010 Digital Magazine Award for Best Sports Magazine, besting entrants from 26 countries around the world, and was a finalist for Designer of the Year. MVP Media will launch its own magazines on the iPad in 2011.
MVP Media also helps existing publishers convert their print products into dynamic publications for the web and tablets. Visit the MVP Magazine website at www.mvptoday.com. Contact Ron by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or connect with him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @mvp_media.