Best foot forward

Yesterday, I posted about an upcoming Association Media & Publishing "lunch and learn" program in New York.  Scheduled for March 5, the first session covers opportunities to use content to acquire new members.

A couple of weeks ago, marketing consultant Scott Oser wrote a related post, "14 ways to expand your publication's audience" that provides a useful overview of some of those opportunities, including:

  • Reprinting popular articles
  • Including sample content in membership recruiting efforts
  • Distributing copies in "public-place" locations (medical offices, health clubs and the like)
  • Selling subscriptions to libraries and research institutions
  • Giving copies away at conferences and trade shows, to staff and volunteers, to audiences who have come to hear an editor or writer speak, and (with a digital version) on the website

Oser offers a good list, with only one idea that gave me pause: newsstand distribution.

For most magazines, single-copy sales have been weak for the better part of the last decade.  Newsstand racks are already crowded, and the average magazine sells about a third of the copies it places there. Many niche titles struggle to sell even that.  An association looking to try single-copy sales should start small and evaluate the costs carefully.

Association publishers might also consider collecting topical articles into published collections. These can be distributed as eBooks or perhaps using one of the emerging platforms that deliver works that are longer than a magazine article but shorter than a printed book.  That's a useful variation on the idea of "write once, read many".

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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