Niche Media HQ Head Carl Landau questions: what does it mean to be a magazine publisher today?
Putting out fires. Sometimes days or even weeks are like this for magazine publishing, right?
As a niche publisher, it’s easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day demands of running a magazine. Most niche magazines have a small (but mighty) staff, making it even harder to step away to see the bigger picture on a regular basis. So it gets moved down on the list of burning priorities.
It’s critical to the success of your business to keep up with change
It sounds so simple but in reality it takes time and focus to step away from the daily grind. You do this by finding new revenue opportunities to strategically grow. And with that, you must continually re-examine the core focus of your title(s) and its mission, as well as your business model.
Here’s an example: One of my favorite documentaries is All Things Must Pass. It’s about the rise and fall of Tower Records.
Tower Records had been in business since the early 1960s and ultimately went out of business around 2000 because of new technology. No one wanted to buy an $18 CD to listen to a few songs on the album. Tower told themselves they were in the record retail business – when they should have been in the consumer music entertainment business, regardless of the channel used to listen.
I call this “marketing myopia”. This is when a business is so focused on doing what it’s always been doing that it fails to recognize change and adapt to it.
Shift your mindset from publishing a magazine to building a media brand
Trains thought they were in the train business when they should have been in the transportation business. Uber and Lyft now say they’re in the transportation business – have you taken a ride on their electric scooters yet?
So the real question is – what business are you in? (I’m hoping you don’t say the magazine business.) In today’s world you need to be in the media business, offering content on ALL the platforms your readers and advertisers want to engage.
I’ll leave you with this quote by Albert Einstein: “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.”
This article was originally published on the Niche Media HQ blog. Based in the US, Niche Media HQ provides events, education and training for B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city and regional, and association magazine publishers.
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