Thanks to Heather Li for pointing me toward this New York Times article on the Atlantic, which “is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year”—in the black for the first time in over a decade.
How did they do it? Three things: they hired some very good staff, they completely reinvented the staff structure and, most important, they stopped thinking of the Atlantic as a printed product:
Separations between the digital and print staffs in both business and editorial operations came down. The Web site’s paywall was dismantled. A cadre of young writers began filling the newsroom’s cubicles. Advertising salespeople were told it did not matter what percentage of their sales were digital and what percentage print; they just needed to hit one sales target. A robust business around Atlantic-branded conferences took off.
I particularly like the readjustment of sales targets—most interestingly, both digital and print sales went up as a result of this, probably due to a lot more creative thinking and cross-platform sales.
Does your company keep digital and print teams separate, or is it one big happy family? How do you think combining forces would change your business?