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It’s Time to Realize Value

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“You can hate me, choose not to work with me anymore, that’s ok, but I have to say this guys” my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke (whom we call PJ which stands for Papa Jeff), said as he took on a more serious look than his normal natural easy-going and fun ways.

I shot a quick look at my wife, then at my four-year old son, concern grew through me as I knew he had something very important to say.

“I need you to start seeing the value in these homes I am showing you. I am taking on a completely different message from my prior stance of, be comfortable with your decision” he paused  “to see value in your decision,” PJ said now waiting for our reaction.

At first I was a bit taken back, why would that statement make me angry? Why would that make me want to fire my father in law as our real estate agent? It didn’t, but I wasn’t sure what he was getting at so I filled the air with “Well PJ, I know we lost on three homes now, but I don’t think I would have been comfortable going any higher than we did,” he stopped me right there after those words escaped my lips.

“Noah, if I could show you how to take a dollar and make it into a $1.30 or even $1.50 within five years, wouldn’t that be of VALUE to you?” I nodded my head to agree “Then Noah, the three homes we lost on, there was value to them. You made a decision based on being comfortable, and we lost. The value is, that those homes would have had a significant return on your investment in the very short-term, even if they were a bit more than what you were comfortable with.”

Before you all start shaking your head and saying “yeah right, what housing market is this guy in?” keep in mind the majority of the homes we have been looking at are short sales and very good deals to be had!

PJ was right, I was still kicking myself over the last bid war we lost on, but I was caught up in nickle and diming and feeling like I got the best price possible that I completely failed to realize that even at full purchase price the house was still a great deal because it had value…..unfortunately someone else was able to see that, and we lost out on the house.

This entire time PJ was waiting for me to come to this resolve myself, but when he saw that I was getting too caught up in “best price possible” and not seeing turning a dollar into a $1.30, he knew he had to say something.

That very moment, as we walked out of the house we were viewing, I came to a stark realization, I was a hypocrite! I have been through so many bid processes for catalogs, brochures, and especially magazines as of late only to have lost it by a very slim amount (sometimes more, sometimes less) that I don’t understand it as I am confident I have shown the Publisher or Print Purchaser how working with us will change a dollar into a $1.30.

I understand it now, sometimes we all get polarized by the day to day events of our lives, the economy we live in, or just trying to get the best deal possible and nickle and diming everything they can.

Friends, I come to you today to repeat a message my Father In Law, Jeff Zuelke, said to me this very night……” I am taking on a very different tone with you, you can hate me, choose not to work with me, that is fine, but it needs to be said. It is time to start making decisions because they hold value, not because you are comfortable or because they are the cheapest deal.”

In the end, when you find a printer that shows you value, you will be very comfortable. Consulting on digital, print, and advertising vehicles, not leaving once the sale is made, establishing relationships, friends, is their value you to that? If so, don’t be like me and realize it before it is too late!

March 2, 2012 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Digital Magazine, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Sales, Social Media, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Staying Power?

In the printing and publishing industry we talk alot about whether magazines and the like will be sticking around, and if so, at what capacity? I truly believe the honest answer to this is that there are so many different mediums now days that the consumers can choose to interact with your publication/message, that  it is bound to shrink. With that said, I do believe that printing is not going anywhere, and in fact will become more specialized, meaning higher quality products will be a must in the near future in order to compete.

With that said, one printed product that I truly believe is not going anywhere, and in fact will grow, are marketing collateral products. (ie literature, brochures, catalogs, postcards, direct mailers, and the like).

“Yeah right Noah, I can create a Facebook page, LinkedIn page, Twitter Page, to market my business and not have to pay a thing!” Ok their guy, take a look at this years sales amount and compare it to last years when you abandoned printing all together..what did it cost you?

Here is why I believe this:

1.

I was watching a news cast the other night, I can’t remember if it was 60 Minutes or something else. They were doing a feature on people ordering products online, thinking it was the authentic product, but when the product came to their house, it was a fake. They were using Rosetta Stone as an example, and spot lighted several people that thought they were ordering the authentic Rosetta Stone software to only find out they were duped.

The news cast then went on to interview the CEO of Rosetta Stone, and he showed the news anchor 100’s of different websites using the Rosetta Stone name, and some even using his image on their website. How the heck would a consumer know the difference? They wouldn’t, even the CEO himself admitted that. So my point, where is the credibility and trust? Print is still the most credible marketing/advertising vehicle out there, and think about how that plays back to your brand……

2.

It has staying power. If I see something online that I like, the chances of me finding it next week when I am ready to purchase it seem to be slim. If I want to find out more about you next week I don’t want to jump on my computer to read about you, I want to lay on my couch and hold a physical printed product in my hands that allows me to see what you do. If I am interested, then I will jump on the internet and find out more about you! If I am not ready to partake in what you have to offer, I will hold on to it. Chances are, within the next several months, your catalog, brochure, etc will catch my eye as it sits on my counter top and I will be interested as I am now ready.

3.

People love to receive things. I have to admit this, and you can try to deny it all you want, but you know it’s true! When I receive a message in my email box trying to solicit me something, the first thing I do is “delete”. However, when I receive something in my mail box at home, I can’t get rid of it even if I wanted to!

My son Owyn (4 years old) loves to get the mail, in fact he calls it “his job”. The bills and letters come to me, the solicitations he waits patiently for as I hand them to him. He loves mail, doesn’t matter what it is, it makes him feel special like someone is writing to him. I found myself the other day going through his shoe box of stashed mail, and there were actually really great offers that I am now researching and willing to find out more about. I then realized, I too love to get mail!! (Trust me, this isn’t a shameless plug for the USPS, I don’t have alot of love for them, they need to get their act together, but the fact remains, everyone likes to receive something!

I chose the image I did of the baby, because it goes to show you how many businesses are out their fighting for your attention, and that isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. The image has staying power, images in print have even more staying power, and credibility. Don’t take my word for it, just turn on the news!

February 26, 2012 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, Relationships, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Social Media Through The Eyes of a Child

 “Dad, when are you going to be done with the computer? I want to go on Youtube!” my 9-year-old daughter said with annoyance in her voice. “Yeah dad, get off the computah, I want YouTube and watch Goosebumps, hurry up” my soon to be 4 year old chimes in right behind his big sister.

This literally happens every day in my household, several times a day. I never thought I would be competing with my kids for computer time, because when I was a kid I was playing with GI Joes and Monster Trucks. Oh, how times have changed!

“Guys, you like YouTube?” and both of them shook their heads while jumping in the air as if the Packers just won the Super Bowl all over again.

“What is it that you like so much about YouTube?” They looked at me as if they couldn’t comprehend the question, as if it was “the world’s dumbest” question ever asked!

“Well duh dad” my 9-year-old daughter began, ” I can watch i-carly clips, Lemonade Mouth music videos” ….”Don’t forget Goosebumps, I like that” my son with hand raised was squealing through his wide smile.

“Well guys, what if I told you I was on YouTube?” They both looked at me as if to say “Yeah right dad, you’re not that cool!” It’s a sad day when your kids stop believing your cool 🙂 ! So I pulled up a video I had made on YouTube, and hit play.

Their faces said it all, my son screamed “you’re a star” and my daughter asked “How did you do that? I want to be on YouTube!” The astonishment they both were feeling made me feel happy, because I once again became cool!

But there is more to learn here than “How to get your kids to still think you are cool!” So I took it a step further, and asked my son and daughter, “What if I told you I was in a magazine?”

I was half thinking they wouldn’t care, but they both again told me to “prove it” with the same excitement. I pulled out a magazine that used some of my quotes and had given me credit for them, and showed the two miniature YouTube experts that were standing in my office. They couldn’t believe it, and were just as excited.

The next day I came home from work, on the fridge hung the magazine article I was mentioned in cut out, and pasted to an orange paper background that had hearts all over it. When I walked into the living room I could hear my own voice, but I wasn’t speaking. So I walked into the office, and there were the two of them watching me on YouTube.

Sure my kids were proud of me, but that isn’t the lesson I am looking to point out here. What I am saying is the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Change is inevitable, I never would have thought kids would be so caught up in things such as social media. I recently read a blog that stated 72% of internet users are on social media, I can’t believe it isn’t more than that!

However, because there is change, doesn’t mean that things from our past aren’t as relevant as they ever were before. Maybe even more relevant? Studies have shown print still offers the highest credibility to your message and ad.

Take it from my two YouTube experts, seeing their dad on YouTube was pretty cool and “in the now” trendy, but being in the magazine solidified that I was still their cool dad!

May 25, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Relationships, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Flipping For Flipbooks!

What’s going on with flipbook frenzy!?! I LOVE it! Whomever was the first person to do this, please accept my high five, and give yourself a pat on the back!

First, what do I mean by a flipbook? The magazine you love and can’t wait to for it to show up in your mailbox finally arrives! You begin reading it, get through about half, then all of a sudden the pages become upside down….or flipped! You look up, and see you are still standing on your feet, and think to yourself ” What an error the printer made!” You quickly call up the Publisher’s office, “Hello, I got my magazine, but at page 96 all the pages are upside down, can you send me a new one? What’s that you say? Flip the magazine over?” You slam the phone down before you can tell them your name, now feeling your cheeks getting quite rosey from feeling a bit embarrassed. You see there are two magazines in one. One side, which you thought was the front cover, was the normal magazine you were used to, when you flip it over and see the back side, it too has a front cover featuring the night life of your city. Now your cheeks are getting rosey again…..not because of embarrassment, because of all the nightlife scenes you realize you haven’t taken advantage of yet!

I don’t know if the official term is a flipbook, but thats what we call it over at JB Kenehan. If you want to see a sample of one, contact me and I’ll send you one no strings attached.

Here are some ideas of how you can take advantage of a flipbook:

  • If your city regional magazine, and typically cover the lifestyle of your city in your publication, now you can expand to cover the night scene, restaurant scene, gardening scene etc…
  • If you are a musical publication, and typically cover one genre of music, now you can expand to other genres, or musical styles.
  • If you are an association publication, you can still cover information pertinent to your association, but on the flip side, cover members and what they are up to.

The ideas are endless for you! Here are some of the benefits of a flipbook:

  • Increase your readership! With new content you will expand into new markets that may not have found your publication before.
  • Increase your advertising! With new content, you will be able to show advertisers why they should advertise in your publication. This opens up a whole new market of advertisers to attack!
  • Increased page counts! New content, new advertisers, means a thicker publication!
  • Low Costs! You had been thinking about starting up a new magazine to supplement your publication, but were afraid of the additional costs. Now there is no additional Make Ready costs, no additional mailing, and don’t need to worry about making a page count for it to make sense economically for you!
  • Diversity! Allows you the opportunity to diversify your publication and keep it cutting edge and new….which will keep the readers and advertisers coming back!

These are only some of the many advantage of a flipbook. Worried about creating one? Don’t worry! Just create the publication like you typically would, we at JB Kenehan will “flip” it for you at the page number you tell us.

It’s simple, beneficial, and will increase the diversity of your market, which will only lead to your long term success!

So start flipping today and join the flipbook nation!

 Here is a short video with an example of a flipbook for your viewing…Enjoy! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNnIbqWZ3eY

April 17, 2011 Posted by | Books, Catalogs, flipbook, Paper, Printing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Random Little Dots….

Do you ever feel like a random little dot, on this big canvas, unsure of where you fit in to the bigger picture being printed or painted? If you look at a printed product under a magnifying glass, what will you see? A bunch of scattered little dots that look like they don’t make up anything. However, when you pull that magnifying glass away, what do you see? A beautiful picture that all the dots have come together to make.

What’s the point to this philosophical start to my blog? This week, as I am sure many of you know (thank you all for the warm wishes) my wife gave birth to our second son. The only way for me to describe this instant bond is to compare it to the movie Avatar when they connect the end of their hair piece to their “flying dragon” and they are instantly connected….it is immediate and forever.

The next day, a big beautiful bouque of flowers showed up at the hospital. My wife looked at me and said “You shouldn’t have!” I looked back at her a little confused and said “I didn’t!” After looking at the card, we found out it came from my co-workers, and today, a big beautiful bouque of cookies came….again from my co-workers! (The best co-horts in the world I might add!)

To add to our wonderful new experience many other warm wishes have been sent through email, cards, social media, tweeted, and posted…… from friends and connections, all which have meant so much to me and my family.

Although he made me eat catfish on my last visit to Georgia to visit him(I won’t hold it against him), one of my clients I have inherited is now the Godfather of my newborn (begin scene of Jerry Maguire 🙂 )

I have had the great fortune of speaking with people like Paul Castain who have helped me along with my career in sales, without keeping any score board. Now I have the privilege of calling him a friend and mentor!

So what’s the point to all of this?  The point is that relationships matter! Without relationships what do we have? Nothing, we are just a random little dot, but with relationships we come together to make a great big beautiful picture.

I know we must all be fiscally responsible, but when only looking at numbers you are limiting the potential of a profitable, successful, and caring relationship that may have more value than someone with a “best price”. I urge you all to evaluate the relationships you have and what you can do to become a better partner to encourage each others success not only in business, but also in life.

After all, this is what social media is about, is it not? Creating new relationships that are long lasting and add value to our lives…

Take it from me, it doesn’t take having a newborn to have your eyes opened for you, but when I did, I saw all the people that care about me and my family. These are relationships I will treasure forever, and will always remain fiercely loyal to. Put the extra time in to get to know the other person, there are more than just numbers to consider.

In uncertain times like these, we need one another. Relationships still matter!

April 9, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, Relationships, Sales, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Wonderful World of Catalogs!

“Honey, have you seen the IKEA catalog? I swear I left it right there on the coffee table” my wife said with her finger extended towards the table sitting in the middle of the room. Fighting back my dimples from showing (she knows I am fibbing when my dimples show) “No honey, I haven’t seen it.”

She walked out of the room, I thought I had finally won! I threw that catalog away, and wasn’t about to tell her! For the past few weeks, new items have been showing up at our doorstep, and from where?, you guessed it, from IKEA! It’s not that we don’t need these things, we do, especially with a newborn on the way, but I was just afraid this would continue to happen once we had all the things we needed.

“Oh well” my wife said as she walked back into the room, “I found this Target catalog I got last month.”

I am thinking many of you can relate to this! 🙂 So what’s the point?

Recently I have taken on a massive research of catalogs. The main point of this is to see how many are now PDF or digital only. All in all, I went through about 1,500 company websites that either print a catalog, or had printed a catalog and now only have a digital version. Of those I went through, about 15% were now digital,and typically only a PDF was posted on the websites. I was surprised by this information, but I also understood it. (Disclaimer, the above percentage may not represent all catalogs throughout the entire market, this is only my own research). By saying I understand these results, what I mean is I understand increasing paper and postage costs, as well as the overhead and time involved with printing and mailing catalogs has.

However, I have come across several sources showing that a printed catalog not only increases your sales, it also increases traffic to your website. Some sources have sighted an increase of 84% all the way up to as much as a double in your profits, so although there are some mixed messages, the fact is that it is proven to increase profitability and here is why:

  • Longevity- If you noticed, I had mentioned my wife found a catalog she got from Target a month ago. Just because we don’t order something right away, doesn’t mean we are never going to order something. Having the catalog on hand allowed us to pick what we wanted when we wanted.
  • Increase Brand Awareness- By receiving your catalog, if you were to call me, send me a piece of direct mail, or if I come across your store, the chances of me opening your mail, taking your call, or stopping in your store would be much higher because I already know who you are.
  • Convenient- I no longer have to call your toll-free number or get up and get on the internet to order your products out of a catalog. Make it easy for me, put a QR code on your catalog so I scan it with my phone and I can order the product from the convenience of my couch or while I am waiting for my flight in the airport.
  • Tier your mailings- Here is a cost savings tip. Instead of holding the inventory which takes up storage, and then mailing each catalog as a new mail order comes in tier them. Let’s say you print 45,000 catalogs, then do three mailings per year or whatever your heart desires. Why? We at JB Kenehan have storage space to hold these for you, in addition, we can handle each tiered mailing for you so it isn’t taking up time out of your day.
  • Pass Along Rates- Printed pieces have a valuable function, they have pass along rates. So although you may send your catalog to my household, my mother is at our house at least once a week (seriously, ask my wife!) and she too looks at our catalogs. I know this isn’t unique only to our household.
  • Less Cluttered- While going through a digital catalog or PDF, I couldn’t help but to feel overwhelmed with all the information. It seemed very cluttered, while in a printed catalog I can easily find what I am looking for.
  • Get me Excited!- Throw in a tag or augmented reality code next to some of the products that I can scan with my smart phone. If you are an outdoors retailer, put a tag next to a tent and show me the easiest way to set the tent up so I feel more comfortable purchasing it (because you are making me look like a rockstar and manly man in front of my family!). If I am looking through a food catalog, take me to a video of how I can use the product in recipes etc…the ideas are endless!

Now I am not saying abandon your digital reproduction of your catalog, but what I am saying is, do not abandon your printed catalog. Although it hurts me to say that (well it hurts the pocket-book anyway) whether it is a B2B or B2C, whether you are a major brand or a less known brand, a printed catalog will only increase your profitability and awareness.

April 2, 2011 Posted by | Catalogs, Mailing, Printing, Publishing, QR Codes, Sales | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Throw a QR Code on it!

Recently, I have had the privilege of participating in some great discussions on LinkedIn about how people, and organizations are utilizing QR codes to enhance their brand and message. I was surprised to see all the new, creative, and unique ways that QR codes are being used. Below is a list of most of those ideas, I hope it gives you some inspiration!

  • Real Estate signs- This is one I am seeing more of. I walk my dog quite a bit, and scan the QR codes on the signs all the time…this is genius! By linking the QR code to the listing, you are immediately allowing the buyer to make a decision if they want to see the house or not.
  • Business Cards- Input your information into the QR code so that it saves right to the potential client’s Outlook when they scan it. OR, link it to a short Youtube video that introduces yourself to them.
  • Catalogs- To me this is kind of a no brainer. With studies showing that a printed catalog doubles your sales, think about what the convenience of a QR code would do to increase your sales even more! Link it to your website, where they can easily order the products they want, whether they are on the go or just don’t want to jump on the computer…it would be an avenue worth exploring!
  • Publications- Offer this to your advertisers, anything you can do to help increase their sales and website traffic will only build more loyalty!
  • Devices- In one group, a gentleman said that a company that makes prosthetic devices was putting QR codes with them, linking them to a manual of how to utilize the device. Now that’s a great idea!
  • Packaging- I see them on food products everywhere now, most of the time linking to a URL….but what about a text message showing the health benefits of your product! That’s information I want to know, make it easy for me to find though!  I don’t want to have to search for it on the package!
  • Direct Mail- I am running a direct mail campaign right now that is based around a QR code which is linked to a short “skit” on Youtube. The idea, make it more than another “piece of mail” and give it a face.
  • Products- Link it to your Youtube commercial. If its a bow, show me a hunting video of the bow I am about to buy being used to shoot a 10 point buck….get me excited to purchase your product!
  • Restaurants- Try putting one on a menu, or your placemats.  If you do delivery link the QR code to your phone number.  That way I don’t have to keep searching through my junk drawer for an old menu that has your number on it!  If it’s a dine in have a welcome you tube video from the chef.

QR codes can be used in a variety of promotial, informative, and fun ways. Even better, they are easy to use, easy to get, and allow for a simple way to track your efforts. I don’t see how you could lose!

I told my wife today that I am going to find a way to put a QR code on my dogs name tag. If he were to get lost, someone could just scan the code and a text message would pop up of where to return him. I love my dog that much, I hope you love your business that much!

For great groups to join on LinkedIn where people come to share insight, ideas, and actually discuss topics (and played a vital role in ideas for this blog) check these groups out:

Sales Playbook!

Association Media & Publishing

Chicago Publishing Network

March 26, 2011 Posted by | Publishing, QR Codes, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Supplementing your magazine with a book!

I know what you are thinking, I haven’t heard from this guy in three weeks, and now all of a sudden he is telling me to do twice the work and publish a book in addition to my magazine! Hey! Get off my back, I had fallen and couldn’t get up. Truth be told, things are so exciting right now that I have been “catching” myself up on many things, it’s a great time to be alive! Secondly, yes, I want you to do twice the work…..hard work pays off!

I have been speaking to many publishers across the country, there has been a resounding idea, so I can’t take credit for it, but I know a good thing when I hear it! Here is the basis behind the idea: publish a book to supplement your magazine. For example, let’s say your magazine is a city regional magazine, why not publish a book about the history of the city, the main attractions in the area, or just to tell your own unqiue point of view about the city. Or, if you have a pet publication, publish a book about the different breeds of dogs/cats, give tips on training them (by the way does anyone have good potty training tips for a Black Lab?), or write a story about a featured animal in your publication. If you are an association, write about the history of your profession (members take pride in their roots), or simply feature the many events you will hold annually.

These are just some thoughts, but I think you get the idea.

Now, here is why I have bought into this strategy:

1. Readers hold on to books! – I still have books from when I was a kid on my book shelf. Books I bought two years ago and read immediately, I am now going back and reading again. For some reason I get a new message from them, the story and message hasn’t changed, but my point of view has!

2. It can be inexpensive.- There are printers that will print on demand so you don’t have to hold inventory. Otherwise, printing a small quantity is typically an efficient way to test if it will work for you before jumping all in.

3. It transfers easily to digital.- With the Kindle conquering the book publishing industry, you may not have to print very many. Here is a quick story for you: I was on travel for business this week and was watching CNN in my hotel room. Anderson Cooper comes on and is doing a story about how the Kindle is taking over the printed book, he goes on to say “printed books are supplementing the Kindle”. I shake my head in disbelief, shut off the tv, and head to the airport thinking this guy is fabricating the story…must be a slow news day. I get to the airport, minding my own business when I see out of the corner of my eye a women, probably in her 40’s, looking like she is reading. Me being the nosey guy that I am, look over to see what the book is, and it is a Kindle! Already being pissed off at Cooper from the morning I had to ask her what was so special about the Kindle and how she liked it. Big mistake on my end! She ranted and raved about how great it was because, it stored books for her, it fit in her purse, it was light, easy to see, flips pages easily, and best yet it was cheap! (Now I know who Anderson Cooper interviewied for his story I thought to myself), but then she handed it to me and said “see for yourself”, she must have noticed I was looking at her quite skeptically. I flipped through with ease, could actually read the screen (no glare), and when she showed me all the books that were stored on it, and how inexpensive each download was I was sold! Please, someone tell Santa I want a Kindle for Christmas! Anderson Cooper I owe you an apology!

4. Several options available.- There are several options available for your printed book, it doesnt have to be a hard cover with opaque or offset traditional style trim book. Make it a glossy book, with uv coating, pictures, oblong trim, or if you like the more traditional style that’s fine too!

5. It can be interactive (No, I’m not talking about the Kindle).- How about adding Augmented Reality into your book, much like a QR code but an actual short commercial or movie that plays both before (introduction) and at the conclusion (recapping) of the book.

6. Profit Center.- Not only can you easily sell the book for a profit, you can also easily tie it into your magazine supplementing your profits for your publication as well.  For example you could say, Subscribe today and we will offer you our special book on “how to become a millionaire” at half price today. You can polybag the book in with the magazine, or sell it seperately.

7. Books spread across many demographics.- We all love books! From a very young age we are taught that reading is good.

8. Credibility.- Print still offers the most credibility out of any marketing channel available. Use this resource to enhance the readshership of your publication. Who doesn’t want to be an author? We all do! Why? Because we know that it offers us credibility in our field, think about how you can use that to attract more readers and advertisers alike.

There are a lot of ideas and tips here, only you can decide if supplementing your publication with a book would work for you. It doesn’t have to be a monthly thing, make it special, maybe bi-annually. If you want my advice, in a saturated market, utilizing credibility and uniqueness to stick out is never a bad thing! You don’t have to have 200 pages to publish a book, you just need to be a resource.  Finally, it doesn’t have to be hard to get started, ask your printer about how to get started and for some options. If your printer can’t print it, chances are they know someone who can, utilize your resources!

 The older I get, the more I want to re-read the books I got years ago, so they will always have a special spot on my bookshelf! I think many others feel the same way.

November 14, 2010 Posted by | Books, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

What does your digital magazine do for you?

There are many digital magazine providers in the market, so how do you choose one that is right for you? First, you should assess what your goals are for a digital reproduction of your printed publication. Are you looking to replace your printed product at some point in the future? Maybe you are wanting to supplement your printed product…for example, some readers and advertisers are demanding it, but you don’t see the printed publication going away? Or maybe it’s to eliminate your foreign mailing? We all know how expensive that is!  Are you just giving it a try to see what all the hype is about, or attract a new market segment? So you asked yourself these questions, and you have your goals in mind, now you are ready to move forward!

What now? You research digital magazine providers on Google, up comes 20 different digital magazine providers and you have no idea where to start. No, I am not going to mention any digital magazine providers in this blog, because this is about picking the right one for you, not me endorsing what I think is best.

 Let us say you are looking at replacing your printed product with a digital reproduction at some point in the future. Are you thinking you want to pick a digital magazine that is what I call a “page flipper” ?(example:… the reader clicks on the corner of the page and it flips, that’s it…which by the way are the most abundant type of digital magazine out there) Probably not, why? Because if you are planning on transitioning to a digital magazine only, wouldn’t you want your brand to transition from your printed piece to your digital piece? How are you planning on doing that with a regular page flipper? The simple answer is that you can’t, and if you believe you can you are probably going out of business. Instead, my suggestion would be to pick a provider that offers rich media (videos) that you can add into the digital reproduction, offers Google Analytics (so you can track your readership and clicks on the URL’s within the digitial magazine), embedded links (so readers can be taken right to your advertisers websites), archivability (so that readers can still read past issues), and audio (maybe an advertiser wants to speak right to the reader), these are only some of the many qualities that you would want to look for. Sure, it’s going to cost you more than a page flipper, but if this is now becoming your brand, I suggest you invest in yourself!

Now let’s say you are only looking to supplement your printed publication with a digital magazine. If you see the value in a more interactive version of the digital product, by all means go for it! However, if you think the value isn’t behind the increase in cost, a page flipper might just be what the doctor ordered! These days, many page flipper providers offer embedded links, my advice is to at least make sure you have this. If you are looking at cutting your foreign mail with a digital magazine, make sure your provider offers translation tools, your foreign readership just might grow!

What I look for in a digital provider is someone that can offer both options. A company that has the best of both worlds, is able to help with your ipad app needs (if this is a direction you are looking at), someone that can help you grow and consult you. These are the type of providers I look for.

I am a true believer that digital magazines are here to stay, but I also don’t see them taking over the printed industry like so many are forecasting. Should you be supplementing your printed publication with a digital magazine? I believe so. However, if you are worried about giving away your content for free, rest assured that many providers offer a “teaser” option where the reader can only read the first few pages, if they want to read more they have to subscribe. Should your goal be to stop printing? My answer is no, this would be a big mistake. Print still has value, from being beautiful (a work of art), having credibility, and still offering advertisers the highest amount of action per ad.

So from a printer’s stand point, jump into a digital magazine if you think it will help you with your goals. I certainly think it will help, but my suggestion is to supplement not evict a printed piece. Call me crazy but I actually think more readers will subscribe to your printed piece if you do!

 So,Chicken Little, the sky isn’t falling, it’s just a digital magazine.

PS….If your printer is offering you the opposite advice, you may want to ask whose interest they have in mind.

October 6, 2010 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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