A DIGITAL EDITION: BUILDING NEW REVENUE OPPORTUNITIES
Multiple revenue streams can safeguard cashflow and drive your business forward, facilitating innovation. Below is an outline of one of my recent consultancy projects on developing a digital edition as a prelude to building a membership provision.
*The publisher has requested anonymity due to the current transition in their business.
Situation: Charting the way forward for B2B publishing companies has not been easy. Following digitisation, declining advertising sales, then Covid, many magazines have had to regroup and reconsider their business model. This led one well established online publishing company to get in touch to explore new revenue-generating opportunities.
Intervention: A review of the current provision revealed an opportunity to develop a new digital edition and simplify the web-based primary vehicle. This strategy offered their existing audience a clear rationale and motivation to subscribe to the new product. The solution provided good value to the audience as it was likely to enhance their professional knowledge while keeping a degree of their free access to the publisher’s digital as well as web magazine offerings.
Resolution: Developing additional products to enhance the value proposition for little cost while increasing revenue and audience participation with an option also to develop a membership strategy in the long term.
Client’s testimonial: The publisher – who wishes to remain anonymous – says: Being so close to our own projects, our career ‘babies’, our original business development model, often leads us to fail to see the woods for the trees. In providing a much-needed overview, Mary’s advice and guidance has been invaluable. By putting the client first and more importantly listening to all the different objectives and sources of frustration before making her recommendations, Mary, through her knowledge, crystalised a vision that has been vital to moving forward. Always professional and dedicated in her approach, I have no hesitation in recommending her consultancy practice. Thank you Mary.
NEW TITLE LAUNCH
Magazine launches are my speciality so I was delighted when Henry Leveson-Gower approached me for advice on starting a new magazine.
Inspired by the campaigning genesis of The Economist, Henry was an expert in his subject but had little knowledge of magazine publishing. He was determined to launch a magazine, and after scraping together a shoestring budget, asked for my help to develop a blueprint for the title.
Extensive market analysis prompted me to recommend a membership strategy for this concept. Fast forward four years and The Mint is on the way to making a global impact.
Henry shares his publishing journey – it is an uplifting story.
The Mint evolved because I wanted to raise awareness and develop a deeper understanding of economic systems and how they interact with political, social and physical systems. A digital magazine seemed the perfect platform to share knowledge and ideas. Start-up costs were minimal, around £5,000 to produce and launch the magazine with £1,000 spent on the launch party. Funding came from a personal business loan and The Cambridge Trust for New Thinking in Economics, which helped finance initial research into the viability of the concept.
Although the magazine has yet to become profitable, I’ve realised that promoting the magazine to those more ‘converted’ to economic reform and pluralism for non-profit organisations is potentially a more successful approach.
Overall my experience has been a steep learning curve, with one of the biggest lessons being not to forget about the user interface.
In the long term? I want to make The Mint a monthly title, but it’s got to pay for itself. Production costs are kept low, working out around £4,000 an issue. While the editor and designer both work on a freelance basis, there is a network of writers who produce the content, volunteering their services to gain a voice and share knowledge.
My goal is to achieve a much higher readership and international distribution – creating a global community within the next 18 months to three years. The idea is to grow events on a worldwide basis all on the same URL but with different versions of the site for each country.
Key lessons to be drawn
- Be determined and believe in your ideas – providing of course that they are viable and that you have undertaken in-depth market research.
- Change your perspective. Nothing is static, so if something isn’t working try a new strategy – the worst thing publishers can do is continue doing what they did yesterday.
- With specialist magazines building a community and magazine in tandem is essential to ensure both become sustainable.