Archive for January, 2012

The number one rule for gaining and keeping subscribers

January 31, 2012

Magazines might have a place in our connected future, but they risk losing a generation if they don’t modernize their subscription systems instead of trying to compete with Angry Birds.

Gregory Galant on Paid Content offers an entirely rational look at magazines’ antiquated distribution system – and how making things hard for people will hurt your business.

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How to make a paywall work

January 31, 2012

1. Have content that people want and can’t get anywhere else, to the extent that they’re willing to pay for it.

2. Ideally, have an audience that can expense or at least write off their payments.

That’s about it – and it’s not easy. For a good example out of Nova Scotia, check out this Nieman Journalism Lab story on AllNovaScotia.com.

Don’t think too big when creating apps

January 26, 2012

I love this advice from Peter Meyers presented as a pre-SXSW Q&A on e-books. He’s talking about giant book set Modernist Cuisine and how one would successfully create an electronic version.

The short version of my advice to them would be: don’t publish a digital edition of the whole multi-volume set. Instead, distill out an app that’s highly focused on handling some of the in-the-kitchen reference chores and computational wonkery that any modernist chef has to perform.

And the same goes for magazines. Yes, there’s step 1: a digital version of your magazine so that people (like me) who are trying to switch to e-versions can do so. But when it goes beyond that, don’t try to do everything in one app. Think about how your brand can translate into an e-version that is using the technology to its fullest rather than just duplicating paper.

Nice one, Runner’s World

January 23, 2012

Download your free nutrition guide – right after you give us your email address. I’ve seen this used elsewhere and it’s very effective, particularly with a niche market like this. After all, if they want the free training guide, they’ll likely be interested in the running books too.

Some tips on using Pinterest

January 16, 2012

Pinterest is the latest darling of the social media world, with its pleasing focus on saving, organizing and sharing images. And a number of Canadian magazines have joined in, including House & Home, Canadian Living, Style at Home and Weddingbells.

Min Online has a new story on Pinterest, quoting Mashable as saying that the top (American) media brands on Pinterest include Martha Stewart, Better Homes & Gardens and Real Simple. Why?

Pinterest tells Mashable that good behavior on the site means posting items from many sources, not just one’s own. “Repinning” someone else’s image in your feed is a sort of visual retweet that is regarded well. And creating multiple themed boards on one’s page to categorize and segment different topics is considered good Pinterest form.

Do you use Pinterest? What do you like or dislike about the platform?

If you do social media, make sure to do it right

January 10, 2012

I’ve long been a believer, when it comes to social media, in only committing to what you know you can achieve. Yes, your brand should probably be in the space, but if you’re only going to get around to checking your Twitter account once a month, then you might as well not be there at all.

I’ve had personal experience of this as a consumer. Twitter has become an easy and efficient way to communicate with companies for customer service reasons. (And the companies should be happy – wouldn’t you want all communication to be forced down to 140 characters?) When it’s a good experience – they write back promptly, listen to what I have to say – it boosts my opinion of the brand. When the opposite happens – they have a Twitter account, but my request goes unheard – it makes me think, well, not-so-nice things about them. (I’m not going to name any specific brands here, but I have a few on my list. Ask me after a drink.)

And according to this article on Brafton News, I’m not the only one. They report that a study by Conversocial showed that pretty much half of respondents have an extremely negative view of a brand with unanswered questions on its Facebook page.

Now, this doesn’t mean your entire interaction with a customer has to occur in public. But always, always, answer people, even if it’s to say “We’d like to take this conversation offline – please call or email us at ___.” And if you don’t have the bandwidth to manage all your social media accounts, then kill one. Cut back. Just make it clear to followers that that’s what you’re doing, and why, and give them alternative ways to contact you.

Oh, and if you are staying on Twitter? Make sure to set up a search for your brand name as well. People aren’t necessarily going to tag you properly, and you might catch some feedback that way, too.