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Create your own channel!

It is official, social media has changed the way we advertise (as if it weren’t official years ago right!) Perhaps the most under utilized tool in your marketing campaigns is YouTube. As Kyle Blades of Rebel stated in my previous blog: “YouTube – With an expected 90 percent of web traffic viewing videos, you better catch up, as this will become a major part of all marketing campaigns.”

Recently, I had the privlige of speaking with a CEO of another printing company about how he is using YouTube as part of his marketing campaign. He went on to tell me that you can go so far as to separate each video into its own category. For example, think of it as a blog, all blogs that are about the USPS fit into one category, all blogs about different advertising vehicles fit into another category and so on, …making it easy for your target market to find exactly what they are looking for as well as positioning yourself to your target market.

As I was listening to him, I jumped onto YouTube and checked out his videos, right away I thought to myself “this looks really expensive” as his videos looked as if they were of very high quality. Trying to be courteous, I worked it into the conversation by saying,  “These look very high quality”, right away he knew what I was getting at and told me how easy and economical it is to actually get started. You don’t have to have a thousand dollar video camera, or a professional cameraman.  Its really as simple as getting a tripod, an inexpensive video camera and you are well on your way to becoming your very own anchorman!

My thoughts started running through my head, a short video to introduce my newsletter each month, a video replacing some of my written blogs, showing you how a QR code works and how to get one, a video showing you the great people who work at my company….talk about Brand U! (I think Tom Peters would be proud!)

To me there just seems to be something more personal about a video for your marketing campaigns than a banner ad on the side of my computer screen or friending someone on Facebook. I can truly see how the brand loyalty would only be strengthened as your market can now put a face to the “voice”.  For instance, maybe you would do a contest by asking your market to create a video for you, whoever wins will have the privilege of having their video viewed by thousands of people! How is that for interacting with your customers?!

At this point I’m sure you are asking yourself, “But how does this relate to the publishing industry?”. Let’s say you have an association publication, you interview members who all give great recommendations about the benefits of the organization followed by a personal welcome speech from the board.  Or, let’s say you have a city regional magazine, you could go Jay Leno “Jay-Walking” crazy on people in your city (for you Letterman fans, Jay-Walking skit is where Leno surprises every day people and interviews them right on the street). You interview people from your great city, all whom talk about what a wonderful city it is, then you close the video out with “If you want to see more of our beautiful city every month, subscribe to our magazine!” Let’s say your magazine has recipes in it, test out the recipe that are in the magazine and make a video of yourself doing it (it’s always more interesting to see an everyday cook just like you!) Maybe your magazine is about dogs, and gives training tips, video tape yourself showing how to properly give orders…..the possibilities are endless and now I am rambling! The point is, YouTube can greatly improve the readership of your magazine while strengthening the relationships and growing  your readers.

Sure it is easy for me to think about, but I too have yet to take advantage of creating my own channel and adding value to the most important thing branding yourself! Rest assured, I have a million ideas in my head, and soon you will be seeing this big Norwegian’s face anchoring my very own video! I never thought I would end up on the big screen (your computer), but with YouTube making it so easy I will be coming to a screen near you! Keep posted….hope to see you there too!

September 30, 2010 Posted by | Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Plain Jane or GI Jane….Which one are you?

How many of you remember the movie GI Jane with Demi Moore? If you saw the movie, I am sure you still remember it. If it were simply a movie about some women trying to make it in the military, I doubt it would have had the impact it did. Instead, the movie was about a women who was in the military not just to prove the point that she could do it, but that she could do it better than the men, and kick their ass (excuse my language) while doing it! She was one fierce trooper! To this day this movie is still remembered by many, because she was no Plain Jane!

Now, think about your publication, how do you take it from being a Plain Jane to an ass kicking GI Jane? Sure QR codes and Augmented reality are cool, innovative, new, and helps to bring the web into your printed product, but does it make you any different than any other publication? I am not saying stray away from using these, but let’s take a look at some other things you can offer to make you more memorable.

The other day my wife opened up her new issue of Elle, and as she was paging through it, she said “Holy cow honey, come look at this!” I thought there must have been a major printing error, but instead we pulled out this wierd looking advertising piece that was tipped on to a page. It was a printed 3D advertisement for underwear, and it had a women modeling the underwear over the past three decades. Now this is cool! And I am sure my wife could tell you the name of the advertiser that utilized this advertising vehicle.

So what are some things that you can use, I understand a 3D printed piece that gets tipped on to a page may not be economical for all of you. So let us bring it back to the basics, inform your sales reps so that they can inform your advertisers of all the unique things that are available to them:

  • French Door Cover- Think of this as two doors side by side both needing to be pulled open on your cover. Underneath lies a hidden ad, talk about unique, you still have the cover, and an ad under your cover!
  • Gatefolds- These can be 4 panel or 6 panel. Think of this as several connected pages on top of each other. This works well for an advertiser that wants to have an ad that is bigger than just a page in your publication. Maybe the reader could tear it out and have a poster!
  • RPN- These are your average sticky notes with an ad on it. You can place these on the cover or inside of the publication.
  • Bellybands- Think of this as a belt for your publication. It goes around the outside of your publication and the ends glue together.

Don’t forget about polybagging, this is a great way to offer an advertiser a way to send their catalog or digest sized ad along with your publication as on onsert. Also, printers can pretty much tip on or bind in anything into a publication, from a cd, dvd, to a BRC. You will want to give your printer ample notice so that they can perform an analyses of the object to show you how to utilize the greatest efficiency of binding or tipping the object in. As well they should be able to tell you how this will effect your mailing rates.

Finally, if you are really looking at spicing things up or opening your ad sales market up, check into a flip book. For exampley,maybe your publication is Tucson magazine which is all about the city of Tucson. You typically cover the night life of Tucson.  However, in one issue you can have 32 pages about the night life, then you can flip the publication over and you have 32 pages of a dining guide for the area. This allows you to find new advertisers that you normally would not call on, as well as keeping your publication fresh.

These are just a few ideas for you, if you want to see samples give your printer a call to see what they look like (or myself, and I would be happy to send you samples!) Ultimately it is going to be the advertisers call, but if you are not advising them of what is available (or if your printer isnt advising you) then going from Plain Jane to GI Jane just isn’t possible!

September 27, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

QR Codes for Dummies!

Do you still have questions about QR Codes?

I know it has been covered in the media quite a bit, but I personally never realized how easy it was to get one until my interview with Kyle Blades from Rebel (check out my blog “A Rebel with A Cause” for more details). Kyle handed me his business card, and when I looked at it there was a QR code next to his name. I thought to myself, what a great and unique way to be remembered, but then immediately wondered how much time and money went into that. I was dumbfounded when Kyle told me no money went into it, and all he had to do was go to a website he found on the internet to generate a QR code for him. If you are like me, and still learning, I couldn’t believe how easy it was. Immediately after I got back to the office, I jumped onto Google, typed in “Free QR Code Generator” and up popped several websites dedicated to do exactly that!

I always knew what a QR Code did, you scan the code with your reader (ie iphone, smart phone, webcam, etc) and it takes you to what the QR code is linked to, such as your website etc, but never realized how easy it was to get one. I went to one of the QR code generator websites, typed in the URL to link up with the code, hit generate, and out came my very own QR code! You can even customize the artwork if you would like. From there it is as easy as Copy and Paste to where you want it. Then shoot it off to the printer and you are set! All this time I thought I would have to get a firm that specialized in these types of things, now I know that just isn’t necessary! It feels great when you empower yourself, although I feel kind of like a dummy too!

Needless to say, I will be using QR codes a lot more often! It is easy to see how such a simplistic advertising vehicle can be used to your advantage. You can link it to your website. How about a commercial you make on YouTube? Other thoughts….. LinkedIn page or Facebook page, the possibilities are endless.

So there you have it, QR codes for dummies (like me!)

Want to see a demo of how a QR code works? Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7a33uCPOywA

September 23, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Rebel with A Cause!

 

A marine who has served two tours in Iraq, co-publisher of 4PM, business owner,and someone who rebels against the norm are only some of the many things that describe Kyle Blades. When you speak with Blades, it is easy to see that he is an innovator who has the ability to help organizations effectively market and promote themselves via social media.

Upon Kyle’s return from his first tour of duty, he went to work in marketing for a well known organization. He saw them struggling to utilize several social media mediums back when social media sites such as Facebook weren’t as commonly utilized as they are now. However, as a progressive and innovative person, Blades knew there was a need for organizations to utilize new channels of communication in order to engage their community of customers. Through social media, Blades saw both an opportunity and a way to fulfill a dream of becoming a business owner. Out of this, Rebel was born.

“The main goal of social media,” Blades says, “is to be a source of value. If you are not giving away free information, then your market will go somewhere else to find it.” Blades goes on to ask me, “When you are watching TV, and a commercial comes on, does the advertiser say, ‘check us out at our website’, or ‘friend us on Facebook’?” I thought about it, and realized that most ads, not only on television, but also in print magazines, have a “Friend us on Facebook” and “Follow us on Twitter” message in their ad campaigns. The relevant point is that the way we communicate has changed, and is still changing. “There is no longer one central message distributed on one medium like there was before; now there are several messages over several mediums – print, radio, television, the Internet and you have to do your best to utilize all of them,” Blades pointed out. “So what does this all mean?” I asked Blades, to which he simply responded “Content is king!”

It is all about establishing a community, a feeling of belonging and building loyalty, which hopefully spreads to multiple new customers. “The best thing about social media is that it provides trackable information, so you can target your message to your market, see how they are responding, and what you need to do to get the responses you want,” says Blades.

Things have changed so much over the past three years alone, how could they possibly continue to evolve anymore? For that question, Blades also has an answer. “Video interacting and advertising are going to become more prevalent. Google predicts by the year 2013, 90 percent of web traffic will be viewing videos such as those on YouTube. Today, 1.2 billion people view videos on YouTube every day,” says Blades. “Becoming more visible to your audience is going to be key, and video allows you to do this in a creative way. ”

The biggest difficulty in social media is rising above the white noise, says Blades. There are so many people on social media, all trying to do the same thing you are. Getting your voice heard, even though you may think it is easier, is actually harder these days because it is easy to become lost in all the noise on the web. “Patience is the key. That is why I tell my clients that we work on a time line of results over a 12-18 month time period. This isn’t something that is going to be a one day quick fix,” says Blades. Through showing up consistently, he says, you become a credible source, a resource for others, and show the community that you care what they are saying by engaging with them.

Lastly, I asked Blades to break down his opinions on these social media sites:

Twitter – This is the least understood one; you have millions of people and businesses tweeting away. Does anyone try to engage with their followers, ask questions, re-tweet others, respond, and answer questions? Engage!

YouTube – With an expected 90 percent of web traffic viewing videos, you better catch up, as this will become a major part of all marketing campaigns.

Facebook – “The golf outing,” says Blades. Whether you are B2B or B2C, you need to be here. You connect with others on a more personal level, strengthening loyalty and bonds.

LinkedIn – Most people have this one figured out, Blades says. Get active in groups, post questions, and become a resource for others. The most under-utilized tool is the Advanced Search feature – a very strong search tool to help you locate your market. Take advantage of it!

Blog- This is a necessity, and is the first thing I tell all of my clients to do if they are not already.

Blades ended our interview with a challenge to us all, “Be a rebel against the norm!”

FYI….Rebel ( http://timeforarebel.com/ ) is a company dedicated to helping companies promote and market themselves via social media. Blades’ main goal while working with clients is to expand their reach and help them build brand loyalty among their customers. When consulting with a client, he helps an organization define its target market, why its market is buying (or why not), as well as any other issues the organization may be experiencing. Through this consultation, Blades and the business owner set agreed upon goals to reach in the time they spend working together, typically 12 to 18 months.

September 21, 2010 Posted by | Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why, So, Serious?

Why So Serious? The last time you heard those words, you were watching “The Dark Knight”. The demented Joker, brilliantly played by Heath Ledger, was describing how he got his facial scars, and you’re just not sure if the story he was telling you was the truth. The Joker’s only goal seemed to be to cause chaos for the city of Gotham.

I know what you’re thinking, “Is this guy a film critic now? What does this have to do with the printing market?”

Think about the chaos in our market right now. How many Jokers can you identify running around attempting to create chaos? Are you still calling for the death of the printer?

The facts have come in, and print is still growing! Sure, technology advancements such as iPad apps, digital magazines and the like should be used to supplement the printed magazine. In the end, print will still be standing. We, too, have found ways to bring the web into print with QR codes and Augmented Reality. We, too, are adapting to the changing market just like any other industry. In the end, the role of the printer may change from someone that puts ink on paper to a full blown marketing provider, but we still will be printing! In fact, printers will fill a more important role for publishers than ever before, and a printed product, you will see that it will be just as relevant as ever before!

Like Batman, we are here to stop the spreading of chaos and to show you why we are so serious: because we are here for you and we are not going anywhere. Our roles have been expanded and we realize that, but like any great superhero with a worthy villain, we are up for the challenges that lie ahead.

September 17, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Apples and Oranges and Grapes—Oh, my!

Putting your magazine out for bid isn’t always fun and games. While, there is no right or wrong number when it comes to how many bids you request, here’s how to get the most out of your print bid process.

Putting your magazine out for bid isn’t always fun and games. There is no right or wrong number when it comes to how many bids you request, but I can share with you my experience.When bidding with six or more printers including the incumbent, the month-long process you were hoping the bid would take will now last an additional month, without any other unforeseen circumstances. However, by making the most out of your bid process, and making it as informative and efficient as possible, you can then make the best decision for your organization.

A good bid package to get the closest apples to apples comparison should include the following; anything more is unnecessary and anything less might leave you confused.

  • A sample of your publication(s). Printers often times call things by different names. For example, one printer might use the term UV coating while another uses Snap coating, etc. If you send a sample of your magazine along in the bid package, the printer can see for themselves.
  • Blanked out invoice. Include a blanked out invoice (remove pricing from a current invoice) that matches up with the issue of the sample of your publication(s). This way the printer can go through the blanked out invoice and make sure to give you an “as is” cost.
  • Mail file that matches up with the sample of the publication(s). If you feel uncomfortable providing this, you can always have the printer sign a non-disclosure clause first. This will allow printers to produce a co-mail or co-pal analysis for your organization, if you qualify for it. Also, make sure to ask about expected increased delivery times if co-mailing or co-palling.
  • Expected production schedule. Including a production schedule will allow a printer to analyze whether they can meet your expected turnaround time as well as improve it. Many times printers will offer you an incentive if your production schedule fits a hole in their press schedule. If you are open to a change in your production schedule for an incentive, note this in the bid package.
  • Questionnaire. This could be a list of your ten most important questions.You would interview a new employee; why would you not interview your printer? For example, included in a bid package developed by Eric Reese, managing editor for hfm magazine (the flagship publication of the Healthcare Financial Management Association),was a list of questions that were designed to help them pick the best partner that fit their organization. Questions ranged from “In what percentile, roughly, would hfm fall across the publications you print, from smallest to largest?” to “What are your capabilities for handling specialty advertising vehicles?”

“We wanted to include in our RFP questions that would address our future goals for hfm (such as co-mailing) and questions that into areas that have proven to be a concern for us over the years,” says Reese. “Deciding which questions to ask was, in part, just taking time to look for potential ‘bumps in the road,’ based on our previous experience.”

Ask questions that are relevant to your organization. It does not have to be ten questions, but you want to have a pretty good understanding of who would be the best fit for your organization other than “the best price.”

  • References. Ask for references!! Make sure to ask for references that are similar to your publication, i.e., another “like” organization they print or an organization similar in size and paper stocks.
  • Ask for samples. Get samples of publications they currently print that are either an exact match or comparable to the paper stocks you currently print on so that you can review the quality of the printing.Now I am not being naive here: We all know samples are the “best of the best”, but at least now you have something to refer to should the printer print anything of less quality than what they have sent you.

To get a good feel for who is going to be the best fit for your organization, ask thorough questions about technology such as social media, digital magazines, etc. It is clear to see that the publishing industry is moving in this direction, and although print will be around for some time to come, you want a printer that will be able to help you grow in all aspects of publishing.

Finally, all publishers should have the best possible relationship they can with their printer. Yes, the questionnaire should give you a pretty good feel for who might be the best fit for your organization, but it is still a very important step in this process to meet with your top selections face to face. After all, the true foundation for a great relationship starts with a hand shake.

September 16, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Worried about being too droopy?

USPS Deflection or “Droop” Requirements I promised to examine some current postal issues in this column. Since the new deflection test started June 7, and postage “penalties” start October 3, this is a good issue to start with. Deflection refers to the flexibility of the mail piece. The Deflection or “droop” test only applies to flat mail pieces. Flat mail, for the most part, refers to: a) pieces more than 11-1/2 inches long, or more than 6-1/8 inches high, or more than 1/4 inch thick and b) pieces not more than 15 inches long or more than 12 inches high or more than 3/4 inch thick. The USPS requires that flat mail pieces not be too rigid or too flexible.

The deflection test is necessary to help the USPS determine whether a flat mail piece will go their flat sorting equipment. The ability to automate a piece is one of the foundations for USPS discounts. Extensive testing was done to determine these standards. Despite the testing, there is and has been a good deal of debate about whether this test should be applied.

The current deflection test requirements are that flat mail pieces that are less than 10 inches do not “droop” more than 2”. Flat mail pieces that are over 10 inches cannot “droop” more than 3”. The post office will assess non- machinable or non automation rates depending on the class of mail and sortation category. The severity of the penalty varies with the sortation category, but is significant regardless of the category.

 One of the complaints about the new test is that the USPS does not provide guidelines or standards for passing the deflection. A mail piece is tested each time it mails (even if it is the same paper, dimensions and page count). For pieces that are borderline it is possible you could pass one time and fail the next! The USPS will not give pre-approval on a design. With that said, our staff is prepared to work with you to help you figure out what will work.

I have provided some links to the Federal Register write up on this rule and a link to see how the test is conducted. I also have a link to the FSS (Flat Sequencing System) which is relevant to the new deflection rules. Please contact your local MDA (Mail piece Design Analyst) or let me know if you have further questions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WEfS2EOnFhc

http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Deflection_final.pdf

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xzHw2b0Nis
(Guest Post by Bill Carter, Distribution Manager, J.B. Kenehan)

September 14, 2010 Posted by | Mailing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Knowledge is Power….More Changes from the USPS

Over the last 4 years, the rate of change in the USPS has increased exponentially! As the USPS attempts to bring the revenue for each class of mail in lines with the cost (per the postal reform act of 2006) and institute accountability measures (Sarbanes/Oxley accountability act or SOX for short) many new rules and rates are being introduced. For the rest of the year, I will take a closer look at some new rules and or rates that are proposed or enacted. Of particular importance are the proposed rate increase for January 2011, the new deflectance rule for flats that went into effect in June (otherwise known as the “droop” test), and the relaxing of ride along and supplement requirements for periodicals (I need to give you some good news!).  Below are some links where you can get more information on these items. Your local PCC can be an excellent resource for postal information.

Federal register notice for periodical changes: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Periodicals_Content_final.pdf

Federal register notice for deflection (droop) rule change: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Deflection_final.pdf

Federal register notice for rate changes: http://pe.usps.gov/FRN/Domestic_Jan_2011_Exigent_proposed.pdf

Actual proposed rate table for Jan 2011: http://pe.usps.gov/prices/Prices_Jan2011.xls

September 11, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The new face of Conley…JBK!

 It brings me great joy to announce to you that Conley Printing is now owned by J.B. Kenehan. Our two facilities compliment each other very well, over the past six years we have had a close working relationship with one another. It just made sense to team up to provide you the most in house capabilities that a printer can offer. You can now consolidate everything from your magazine, newspaper, catalog, specialty advertising needs, down to your calendar right here at one place.

To give you an example of some of our new capabilities:

  • Various trim sizes such as digest, slim jim, and delta fold.
  •  Specialty items such as media kits, belly bands, BRC’s and die cut inserts.
  • Spiral binding, loop stitching, scoring, drilling, and UV coating.
  • Ability to economically print runs of any size.

 All this sounds good but what will be changing you are asking yourself. Our values, reputation for quality, dedication to meeting your goals, quality customer service, right down to the people are all still staying the same. The only thing that is changing is our name from Conley Printing to J.B. Kenehan.

 Please read the press release for more information: http://www.jbkenehan.com/gfx/NewsRelease090210.jpg . With our new capabilities, we will be more efficient in turn around time and less expensive in costs for your advertising vehicles due to less outsourcing of work. Please give me a call if I can answer any questions for you, or so that I can tell you more about this exciting news! I would love to see what else we can do for you and your advertisers.

For more information about J.B. Kenehan please go to this website: http://www.jbkenehan.com/

 PS…. You will notice my signature and email changing here in the near future……just remember it is still me!

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

10 tips to reduce cost and still meet your goals!

  1. If you are open to a change in your production schedule, speak to your printer about the possibility of a discount for moving to an open time of the month to fill a hole in their press time.
  2. Talk to your printer about lower basis weight paper stocks. You know what’s best for your publication, but there is always an alternative that will save you money, not only in printing costs, but also in mailing/freight costs due to the lesser weight.
  3. Where you print, sheet fed vs. web, and the equipment your vendor has will determine the number of pages available in each form. A web based printer is more efficient in printing 16 and 32 page forms for signatures. An additional 8 pages can be done, but you could get 16 pages for less than the cost of 8. How about that for helping you sell ad space! Now apply that logic to your current vendor – ask them where the greatest efficiency is for their equipment.
  4. To reduce costs, ask your vendor about an aqueous or varnish coating if you have a UV coated cover. They are very similar and typically will provide a savings. If you have a dull UV coated cover, ask your printer about a dull varnish, once again very similar and usually there is a savings.
  5.  If you print more than one publication on the same paper stock and the same trim size with the same vendor, ask about ganging them up. This means printing them one right after the other. Why should you do this? Printers will often give you a discount called a Repeat Make Ready for not having to do an additional setup. This savings is often significant and is worth checking into.
  6.  If your cover is “cover weight”, consider text weight. Its lighter (saves in mailing) and less expensive. If you don’t know what you use now, ask your vendor before you go out to bid to ensure you get an apples to apples comparison with no surprises.
  7. Are you printing a tab sized publication? For a savings in printing and mailing, consider moving the trim size to 10-3/4×12. This trim size allows you to be unique and oversized, yet can be printed in 24 page forms instead of the regular 16 page forms.
  8. Are your inside pages light gloss with a heavy 4 pg cover, for example, 36 pound gloss inside pages with a 4 pg 100 pound cover? If so, consider this: lose the cover, bump up your inside paper stocks to something like a 50 pound gloss and make your publication a self cover. You will save money, and have a quality product throughout. The same holds true for a transition from uncoated to coated.
  9. Maybe you want to stay on the uncoated paper stock because it fits your publication, but you still want an upgrade. Or maybe you use an uncoated paper stock, want an upgrade, but aren’t quite ready to go to a gloss. A heatset printer like us can offer the upgrade in quality that a coldset printer simply can not. What is heatset? When you finish reading the morning newspaper, look at your hands; chances are they are black from the ink that rubbed off. This is coldest: the ink easily smears and rubs off from one page to another and picture quality isn’t as crisp. In heatset printing, the web is run through a heater to set the ink, yielding crisper images and ink that will never smear. It offers an upgrade that you, your advertisers, and readers will be very happy with. This upgrade is often very economical and is another step toward obtaining your goals.
  10. Work with a printer that will be your greatest asset. In times like these with an ever changing paper market and postal regulations, your print representative should be your consultant, advisor, and greatest source of information on maximizing your marketing efforts, improving your publication, reducing costs, increasing efficiencies, and forecasting for the future.

September 7, 2010 Posted by | Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment