FinePrint - July 2010

In this issue:

New Design Updates MMPA’s Image

MMPA unveiled its new, improved website at the 2010 Summit & Expo, and Kathy Forss, Vice President of the MMPA Board of Directors and owner of DaisyMaeDesign, was on hand to talk about her process for creating a new image for MMPA.

"MMPA's visual brand needed an update, for sure," said Forss, "And this was a great opportunity to make its look more contemporary, while better reflecting what MMPA members do."

"As I thought about what this logo needed to communicate, I considered what sets MMPA members apart – our professionalism," she said. "MMPA members produce and sell content that is journalistically sound, well-researched and expertly-packaged. It's targeted and designed to be easily and quickly consumed and used by our readers. We are the source of quality, expert, useful information that can be trusted."

"The green circles on the logo are meant to tell that story a little bit," says Forss. "The large, green circle in the middle suggests the core information that our members produce, and the smaller circles represent the way that information radiates out in many directions and via various media."

The color palette updates the brand with livelier, more contemporary hues that Forss hopes will help MMPA communicate more efficiently.

"I designed a palette of five colors. These colors update the blue/green combo of the old logo, and they offer MMPA a palette to be used in many ways."

Kathy Forss can be reached at kathryn@daisymaedesign.com.

» back to top

2010 Summit & Expo Takeaways

By Lynn Keillor

The MMPA Summit & Expo attracted publishing enthusiasts from students to top-level professionals. Tracks offered focused on the specific areas of circulation, design, editorial and sales – while some participants stuck within their specialty, others moved between tracks depending on their interest.

Lane Uherka, senior advertising sales representative at Affinity Powersports Media

Lane Uherka went to the Summit hoping to get some tips on selling online advertising to non-internet-savvy clients. He attended the sales track sessions by Daniel Ambrose. “He was a pretty engaging personality who seemed passionate about teaching us about what he knew,” Uherka said.

Uherka found the topics relevant, and came out with some new strategies.

“One of the most interesting things I learned at the Summit was why setting up an advertiser on a pay-per-click online campaign doesn’t make any sense for a publication,” he said. “When the advertiser gives you a bad piece of creative to run, and the ad is a dog, it’s just sitting on your site burning up impressions that you could have sold to another advertiser. I also enjoyed learning about some other ways to sell custom online campaigns such as webinars, e-newsletters, and personalized micro sites. Right away, a couple of clients popped into my head who would be perfect prospects for products like these.”

Jared Pfeifer, publisher for Grand View Media Group

The Daniel Ambrose session was on Jared Pfeifer’s schedule, too. He wanted to learn different sales techniques for online products, as well as learn what other publishers are doing to boost online revenues.

“I should be able to use several of the ideas that were discussed on website sales. I thought Mr. Ambrose’s take on ad pricing was interesting, specifically the idea that online advertising, unlike print pages, is not unlimited and thus has a potentially higher value,” he said. “I also thought that webinars, and micro sites could be a profitable addition to our current online offering.”

Vivian Cowan, account manager for IFAI

As a newcomer to the online sales realm, Vivian Cowan said, “It’s hard to imagine what you need because it’s all such new media.” Her company has upped its online presence in the past year, and Cowan said that the sales staff is still figuring out what to do with it.

“Days could’ve been spent on this topic,” she said. “[Ambrose] was very good at trying to answer questions. I got the sense that a lot of the attendees were like me: at the beginning stage.”

Her first takeaway from the Ambrose sessions was new nomenclature to use when referring to online products. She’s already begun using the term “influentials” to describe key print/online crossover readers, and now knows the value of “impressions” vs. “page views.”

“I wish we could have had our whole sales staff there,” she said.

Lynn Keillor is a freelance editor and writer.

» back to top

Social Media: Like It or Not, It’s Here to Stay

By Tricia Cornell

Does this sound familiar? Two years ago, the server at your office blocked “time-wasters” like Facebook. This year, you’ve been asked to draw up a plan for using social media to develop and promote content. Oh, and be sure to mention how you’re going to monetize it.

“2009 is the year everyone who had been reprimanded for using social media at work was invited into the boss’s office to explain Twitter and Facebook,” Tom Elko, news director of BringMeTheNews.com, told a crowd of about 75 writers and editors at the May 20 MMPA Summit & Expo.

At least a few hands in the audience had gone up when David Brauer, media reporter for MinnPost.com, kicked things off by asking, “How many of you are here mostly defensively?” Those brave souls were admitting what some others who sat quietly must have been thinking: Social media has changed our jobs as journalists in ways that we don’t necessarily fully understand and we aren’t all sure we’re going to like.

After more than an hour of upbeat, fast-paced conversation, however, one or two minds might have changed.

“[Using social media] has been an unquestionable success for me,” said Jason DeRusha, a reporter and anchor at WCCO television, who has developed a reputation for being the Twin Cities TV guy who best “gets” social media. “My work is much better because I have people giving me tips.” (His Twitter handles are DeRushaJ and DeRushaEats.)

Brauer, who admits to having an addict’s relationship with media of all sorts, agrees. He updates his Twitter account (dbrauer) several dozen times a day with observations on local media, politics, and, lately, the Twins. “Twitter is a source convention,” he says. “All the people I cover are already there. It is a way to build relationships — for good or ill.”

Elko, whose BringMeTheNews.com aggregates local news, says that using Twitter and Facebook to push stories out to a larger audience — including people who rarely bother to go to individual website’s home pages anymore — brings a moderate return for very little investment. He says that, together, Twitter and Facebook drive about 15–30 percent of his traffic.

At the same time, he urged social media newbies not to feel overwhelmed and not to try to “play catch up.”

“You’re all right starting where you are,” he said. “The Internet is going to be there tomorrow. Facebook, I’m not so sure.”

Tricia Cornell is the Editor of Minnesota Parent and Minnesota Good Age.

» back to top

Selling Hybrid Media: Two Sales Are Better Than One

By Tricia Cornell

Is your ad sales strategy like a hybrid car? Daniel Ambrose thinks it should be.

Ambrose, managing partner of Ambro.com and a magazine sales veteran, told an audience of about 50 salespeople and executives at the MMPA's Summit & Expo on May 20 that online and print ad sales can work together, rather than compete for the same dollars.

Think about it: a hybrid car is more powerful and more efficient because it has two engines. The same can be true of your sales strategy. Many people fear that offering online ads to existing print customers — or vice versa — would just encourage them to shift the same dollars around, rather than increasing a sale. In some shops, an entirely separate staff may work on online sales, creating internal competition.

But, by offering clients a hybrid package, one that includes both online and print ads, Ambrose says you can help them reach the most coveted readers of all: the Influentials. Those are the 10 percent or so of the population who consume the most media and tell the rest of the population about what they read.

Ambrose says you’ll find them in the overlap between a single publication’s print and online users. These folks — the ones who read your magazine to stay up to date and go to your web site to read archives and share articles with friends — are your hard-core readers, your biggest fans, and a coveted target for your advertisers.

Another common complaint among sales staffs is that they just don’t have enough page views to get clients interested. Ambrose wants to turn that attitude on its head.

“Be happy with your limited supply of advertising,” he said. “With online, you can’t sell everybody. You don’t have enough inventory. So treat it as highly desirable.”

When you sell online ads by the page view — as Ambrose strongly suggests you should — rather than by the week or month or on a performance-related basis (for example, based on click-throughs), your inventory is limited to the number of people viewing each individual page.

Ambrose wants you to take that to your best client and say, “I’ve got a limited supply. I’d like to sell it to you because you’re my most important advertiser,” and then offer online category exclusivity, something print publications rarely offer.

It all boils down to the flexibility and power of hybrid media. “When you can sell two or three media, you can offer more solutions to your clients; you are more powerful, more important to your client.”

To view Daniel Ambrose's handout for the session and more resources from this year's Summit, visit the new MMPA website.

Tricia Cornell is the Editor of Minnesota Parent and Minnesota Good Age.

» back to top

Lakewood Media Group Acquires Nielsen Business Media’s Training Group

Lakewood Media Group has acquired all of the print, online, event and database assets of the Training Group from Nielsen Business Media. The assets acquired include Training magazine, Training Top 125 and the Training Conference & Expo.

Lakewood Media Group is led by managing partners Mike Murrell and Bryan Powell, also the owners of Mach1 Business Media, LLC, based in Minneapolis. Joining them as a managing partner is Philip Jones, a former editor of Training magazine who launched the brand’s highly successful newsletters – now published online – as well as several leading industry events including the annual Training Conference & Expo. All three managing partners are former Lakewood vice presidents. Powell functioned in the role of Training’s business manager for a number of years.

“We’re excited to be continuing the 46-year-old Training brand. It’s the market leader and has successfully expanded its online, social and event offerings,” Murrell said. He noted that several former Training employees will be continuing with Lakewood and support services will be provided by current Mach1 staff.

Mach1 publishes SalesForceXP magazine, which focuses on sales management in mid-market companies. The acquisition from Nielsen includes Sales & Marketing Management, a leading title in the space that is currently published online.

Lakewood plans to publish six print issues annually of Training; continue and expand all of the brand’s websites and online certificate programs; and enhance the industry’s premier recognition program for excellence: the Training Top 125. Training’s 2011 Conference & Expo – which includes the Training Top 125 black tie gala – will be held at the San Diego Convention Center February 7-9, 2011.

For more information, contact
Mike Murrell at Mike@SalesForceXP.com or 952.401.1283
Joyceann Cooney-Garippa at JCooney@trainingmag.com or 917.923.8052

» back to top

Q & A With Aileen Gallagher

By Lynn Kiellor

The Summit sessions with Aileen Gallagher, senior editor of New York Magazine, inspired some great question-and-answer. Here is a sampling from her presentation, “More Real Life Tips and Tricks for Working on the Web”:

Q. How do you repackage print pieces for the web?
AG: By posting more pictures, supplemental documents, a service component, or something that’s actionable. “We use a lot of commands, such as ‘what to eat tonight’ or ‘where to find…’”

Q: Does the ad revenue cover the cost of producing the website?
AG: “To my knowledge, yes. I don’t think they’d continue to expand if it wasn’t breaking even.”

Q: What are you generating revenue from?
AG: “I don’t know exact breakdown, but display ads are No. 1. No. 2 is sponsored newsletters. We also have ads that play before our original videos and sponsored slideshows.”

Q: Do you have a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) consultant on staff?
AG: “SEO is more a function of advertising department, but I don’t think we have one on staff. ”

Q: How much do you change story content when transferring from print to web?
AG: “Very little.”

Q: How do you drive readers between print and online when they’re two different mediums?
AG: “There’s not an easy answer to this. Our magazine comes out on Monday, and we have the most Web traffic on Monday. You may want to create a newsletter and direct your web-content to readers that way. Then, is the online content worth reading? If it’s more of the same, it’s a tough draw for readers. Let them know why the online content is so great that they should go and see it.”

Q: Do you have premium content?
AG: “No, but we have original content. It’s probably 80 percent original and 20 percent from the magazine.”

Lynn Keillor is a freelance editor and writer.

» back to top

Young Professionals Group Off to a Promising Start

by Margaret VanEchaute

When Brad Spychalski and Jared Pfeifer arrived at the first ever Young Professionals Group happy hour in St. Louis Park on June 3, they had no idea how the event would be received.

“We didn’t know what to expect,” says Pfeifer, publisher at Grand View Media and co-chair of the newly formed group with Spychalski. “We didn’t know if it would just be the two of us standing around or if anyone else would show up.”

But show up they did. Nearly 20 publishing professionals under the age of 35 gathered at Cooper Pub that night not only for happy hour, but to engage in casual peer-to-peer networking. Many of the eager attendees stayed nearly the entire time—almost two hours—and displayed a level of enthusiasm that only reaffirmed for Spychalski and Pfeifer just why they volunteered to spearhead the creation of the group in the first place.

It all began in March, when a focus group of under 35-ers gathered at the board’s request to discuss ways in which the organization could better connect with its younger demographic. As Spychalski points out, a lot of young publishing professionals in the Twin Cities area aren’t aware they are members of the MMPA. Or if they are aware, they don’t view attendance at the organization’s regular events as a priority.

This is exactly the mindset Spychalski and Pfeifer have set out to change. They want to get the word out about just what their peers can gain from attending regular networking events and building relationships with other publishing professionals—especially with those of similar age, experience and skill levels.

According to Pfeifer, there has always been a distinct level of disconnect between established veterans of the publishing industry and newer, “greener” members. But by hosting a series of low-key, casual networking events specifically aimed at this younger demographic, he hopes to break down these age-related barriers. And if the success of the first event is any indication, this strategy appears to be a good one.

“It wasn’t awkward,” says Spychalski, senior editor for The History Channel Magazine and coordinating editor for the MLB Insiders Club Magazine. “Everyone there was on common ground.”

In addition to social networking opportunities, plans are in the works to implement a casual mentorship program. Younger participants will pair up with an established professional for informal Q&A sessions and for the chance to build business connections on a more personal and less intimidating level. Also in the works are plans to invite MMPA board members and other seasoned speakers to the group’s (tentatively) bi-monthly events, because as Spychalski points out, “We can only do so much for each other.”

By getting rid of traditional formalities and introducing a jeans-and-t-shirt vibe into the MMPA’s cultural lingo, Spychalski and Pfeifer are hopeful that more and more young people will keep checking out the events—not only for enjoyable happy hours, but for professional growth and career advancement. And with the full support of the board behind them, they’re confident the Young Professionals Group will continue to be well received. As Pfeifer says, “You can’t know too many people.”

Margaret VanEchaute is a recent graduate of Drake University with degrees in both graphic design and magazine journalism. She is currently working on Delta Sky Magazine as an editorial intern at MSP Communications.

» back to top

Becoming a Mentor or Protégé

by Hervey Evans

Over the past fifteen years, I have had the privilege of introducing several friends to one another so that they could share their knowledge. One of these friends was always an experienced magazine professional in one specialty or another (the mentor) and the other was a younger, less experienced professional just starting out in the same specialty (the protégé, or mentee. Or was it mento? I forget...)

These friends would arrange to meet for coffee to see how they liked each other and to schedule a regular meeting and check-in schedule. Occasionally, these initial meetings came to naught. More often, they resulted in mutually satisfying conversations and friendships that lasted for years. The conversations ranged from "How do I do this?" to "Who is a good vendor for this?" and "How do I handle this tricky situation?" After that first meeting, most would meet once a month or would check in by phone monthly and meet once a quarter. I had one friend who would meet with her mentor once a month at a restaurant for dinner.

We at the MMPA have been asked to sponsor a mentorship program. We are in the early stages of planning it but, if you are interested in being a part of it, please contact us and let us know.

Hervey Evans is the President and Owner of Erasmus Inc.

» back to top

Circulation Round Table—My Audit Bureau Understands Me

by Christy Rice

Whether a they audit their circulation with a bureau (such as ABC or BPA) or demonstrate the value of their readership through other tools, all publishers use readership analytics to turn prospects into advertisers. The June 23, 2010 roundtable focused on the topic that takes up much time and energy – auditing.

There are key things publishers should be doing in order to maximize the use of auditing. Look at competitors’ media kits and websites – is their circulation information there? How can you use this to your advantage? Then provide side-by-side comparison of circulation data.

There are definite pros and cons to auditing titles. The audit can be good for advertising/sales staff – it creates a stronger sales tool with recognition of the audit bureau’s brand and provides advertisers with information they need. The audit also drives discipline within the circulation department because it creates the need to keep lists and data organized.

The main downside is cost. However, the expense can be money well spent if an audit sells an advertising prospect even one or two ads. In some cases, audit firms offer additional services beyond the basic magazine circulation audit. The cost of these services needs to be weighed against the advertising advantage they would yield – often it they aren’t worth the expense.

Audience development staffers grapple with challenges outside audit bureau data, as they are increasingly pressured to provide for new media. These days, advertisers are looking for web measurement statistics. Variations exist within different web measurement tools, and often these are hard to explain to advertisers.

Whether it’s audit bureau statistics or internal web measurements, working with ad sales staff is paramount.

Advertisers are under pressure to prove response rates on both print and digital ads, but sometimes lack the knowledge of how to track responses. Sales people are becoming marketing support to advertisers to help them create better marketing packages and determine how to track responses to their ads.

Some examples are:

  • Creating unique URLs for promotions
  • Utilizing promotional codes
  • Ensuring that URLs work
  • Providing easy access by having information about an advertised product in one location on the site

Should you audit if your competitors don’t? It depends on your publication. If it will help your title to stand out, then yes. If you’re a niche magazine with virtually no competition, an audit is most likely not worth the time or expense.

With the rest of publishing changing so dramatically, what does the future hold for audits? Auditing may be becoming too complacent and too flexible which could reduce the value of the process. Auditing may change drastically in the next 10 years due to the changing digital landscape.

The session concluded with these overall thoughts: auditing is a necessary, essential evil that can be used to great advantage when sales staffers feel comfortable and confident using the audit results effectively.

Christy Rice is the Production Coordinator for Experience Life Magazine.

» back to top