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  • #999099
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8

    Hi everyone,

    I have a roundabout/circular problem I need help and advice with.

    I created a magazine that contains information aimed at short term residents that come to Australia, like international students and backpackers. The magazine is not a tourist or travel guide, instead, it has information about things like driving rules and work/housing scams and how to avoid them (Cause backpackers and IS tends to be exploited). Thus the content won’t change often, and my plan was to make every issue last 6 months and each issue be ‘updated’ with ads or non-compulsory content. Apparently the official tourism guides like the Official Sydney Guide (I am from Sydney) and the Melbourne guide survive on this method extremely well – I followed a few free magazines for awhile and noticed their content does not change in each issue.

    I intended the magazine to be free (so must be 100% ad funded ie not resold) because backpackers and international students are short on money in the first place, and making it free means they will be picked up more, and advertisers will be interested more. I also can’t sell them because they are distributed directly at hostels and hotels (which is fantastic). If I sell them through newsagents, people are less likely to buy them, not to mention the distribution costs and tax involved.

    Previously I decided with my chosen distributor to try 3000 copies. An advertiser said it is too low to invest in, I agree.

    Here’s my circular problem:
    If I increase the quantity and the outlets, sure the reach is greater for the advertisers, but due to increased printing and distribution costs, I’d have to increase the ad costs, which means companies are even less willing to pay, which means I can’t print at all, making any samples pointless. At the moment, the cost of 3000 magazines can be barely/not covered if a lot of small businesses buy small directory style ad slots, so I may be able to print if I use this method and keep the quantity low (but if I keep it low…). But with this method, I’d still need at least 50 high level small business ads to [not even] break even. (I have 3 tiers of small business directory ads, a $200 one, a $100 and a $50 one). I’ve had 1 person reply so far to ask for more info only.

    I’ve even asked small restaurants if they are interested in free ads in the form of a voucher for my readers to redeem – only had 2 people express interest, and the discounts and deals don’t even need to be exclusive to me. Need 18 to fill the page.

    What’s really annoying to me is, all the companies that declined keep saying my idea is really good and good luck with my magazine. Like, I hate conversation starters/ice breakers, lies to make you feel better and pointless conversation. If it is not a good idea, just tell me the truth. Why get me to call, don’t reply and then when they finally do, tell me it “is a good idea but [they] aren’t interested”? (That is literally what some have said, others have said some variation of it).

    Does anyone have any practical advice on how to get revenue to print it? Putting it online is not a solution, it is an alternative, one that I already intended (printing AND having a digital one for free download, and a website later). I also intended on making a profit so website/web ads are not the solution, or a viable alternative.

    EDIT
    I have edited the above for brevity due to text limits. Adding more edits here so I don’t have to repeat what I say in replies.
    Thanks to everyone for the advice but to be honest, I’ve already covered a lot of them.

    What I’ve already researched:
    – Similarities between backpackers and international students (text limit, won’t explain)
    -Language. IS and BP all have decent levels of English, especially international students (it’s a language requirement at unis and tafes) so a guide in simple English is fine. To cover the rest of the people (such as students here to learn English), I intended on having translated copies. To answer the question why when I can use google translate – that is a terrible idea that I would never even consider. This is essentially a manual, imagine if you were a student in another country or an expat and needed to know these info. A printed thing with everything in the same book would be more convenient than having to search 10 different sites, which is why I want to print it, and, auto translating anything useful is a terrible idea when accuracy is important – you would never auto-translate anything for publication with instructions or descriptions etc.

    Ad-funded magazines
    There are already quite a few purely ad-funded publications, newspapers included. Think about your local free newspaper. The official Sydney tourism guide is printed in several languages and is completely ad funded and despite them having a website, their website is not the same as their magazine. Rather, it’s a website made by the official Sydney tourism government (or department etc) and has things to do, attractions etc, but then also made a magazine (that’s what it seems like to me).

    What I have done so far:
    – Approached every type of relevant industry and company to my target audience:
    health insurance, SIM cards, Officeworks/JBHiFi/Harvey Norman/similar retailers, Coles, Woolworths, Aldi, car and caravan rental places, car insurance places, restaurants (small directory ads for loose change, a single such ad won’t even cover delivery so what I really need is a large advertiser like the others), banks, events such as the Easter Show, quick meals such as Birds Eye, Masterfoods, student housing … won’t go on but you name it, I have contacted them.

    I’ve given all of them a copy of the magazine to preview – I’ve had quite a few compliments but they all said no, no matter how small or large the company.
    All said no or didn’t reply or maybe next time. Thus I have completely ran out of places to approach.

    – Research: I have done the research into my target audience. I got statistical data from the government tourism and education websites to see how many people from each group came during what time and go to what city/state and which country they are from etc etc. I know the things they need (see advertising point above) and asked people in a backpacker forum. To make the magazine appealing, I’ve asked small businesses near the hostels I planned on distributing at, if they were interested in small free ads in the form of discount vouchers. I’ve contacted countless ones, less than 10 replied and only 2 said yes.

    – Setting up a website would be to supplement the physical thing because digital things need to be found, whereas a physical magazine distributed right in their hostel is already there in one place. A website or purely digital version earning cents per click will get me no where, it will just become another website in the piles of gazillion backpacker/travel/expat blogs out there. Think about how many websites talk about travel in Sydney, or Melbourne etc. But there is only 1 official printed tourism guide for those cities. It would be entirely non-sensical for me to spend extra time setting up a website after spending months writing the content and doing all the layout myself, then putting the content online and essentially tossing it into a pile of ‘just another expat info blog’.

    – I’ve already pointed out certain ads will get shown on the website (eg, cheap $50 directory ads for services like international cuisine restaurants or grocery stores won’t)

    My problem:
    At the moment, I don’t have a single advertiser and I don’t have any more places to contact.
    The other problem is, more places for distribution = more exposure so maybe advertisers will be interested more BUT higher distribution cost + more ads = more pages needed = higher printing cost = higher total cost = need to charge higher for ad spaces.
    More quantity = higher printing cost = more advertisers needed = higher advertisement price AND more pages = higher printing cost.
    It’s very hard to get a formula to calculate the price of the ad (determined by quantity and page number), according to page number (determined by number of advertisers).

    #1217749
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173

    Hi And Welcome to Flying Solo [USER=112583]@stephanieq[/USER] . It is great to have you!

    Thank you for joining our community and posting today.

    I feel it would be worth asking those people that have said great idea but no thanks, what kind of numbers they would need to consider your proposed publication a good fit for their business.

    Trying to gain a “following” is very hard work and takes a very long time – with web and with Insta (infographics would be a good medium) and Youtube but are worth considering if your motivation is more about community service than profit.

    If your primary motivation is profit, I feel you should really listen to what the market has already told you which is that it is really hard to get the numbers to work – no matter how hard you work – and it sounds, to your credit, like you work really hard.

    A key tenet of business is to look for problems that you can solve for people that would be willing to and have the means to pay for the problem that you can solve at a price that would make a profit after all costs.

    It sounds simple but it seems like you are not solving a problem for your prospects (advertisers).

    Cheers

    #1217750
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    Ok, it sounded like you failed to do your market research in the beginning to see how this project would take off.

    But now you have done the market research by talking to potential advertisers (your target market), and they don’t want it, they don’t see value in it, they are not prepared to give over their $’s for it. They are you clients listen to them!!

    Sure they may say it’s a good idea, but the fact they aren’t handing over $’s, tells you their true thoughts on the value proposition. If they really thought it was good they would be giving you bucket loads of money.

    My suggestion, I got a new job notification from Bunnings today would you like me to pass it on to you. Sometimes what is a great idea to us, is not really to the consumer, and the best thing a good business person can do is recognise when they are flogging a dead horse and walk away.

    #1217751
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691

    The question I’d ask (if I was wanting to advertise in this demographic/space). Is why would I use print media in the first place?

    All the back packers I’ve experienced are young digital natives, that live with and rely on their phones for all their connections.

    Also, for many English is not their first language, so I can’t see how print (even free) is a very attractive proposition to advertisers.

    The technology to make a web based app with the capacity to deliver to any language (even right to left text) with one code base is now an “off the shelf” option. Add in Googles preference for mobile optimised information in search results, targeted ad delivery, plus the ability to analyse and fine tune results (ROI)…I wouldn’t be touching print media unless the advertising was so cheap it was worth a try with some kind of incentive (coupon maybe) so I could measure results.

    I’m not anti print media, I think for many demographics it’s fine. I’m just not convinced with back packers.

    Back packers/students are notoriously frugal with how they spend their dollars, apart from the hostels that are already doing distribution, who would be advertising?

    Sounds to me like the players that are established already have the economy of scale to hold their market for any print demand there currently is…tough gig and a lot of risk capital to knock them off at their own game.

    #1217752
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691

    PS

    Seeing as you have the content (which is very important) you are a long way down the track in terms of development costs if the digital option appeals. I would of thought to wrap it in a mobile optimised code base would be well under your 10K option.

    Ad in Google Adsence (free) and let them deliver well targeted ads, and you could experience immediate cash returns without the drama.

    How successful you could be, would be directly proportional to the value of your content to users and how good or bad your online competition is.

    #1217753
    RunicConvenience
    Member
    • Total posts: 186

    Search for startups selling to international students. Offer it as a service they could offer in their welcome to Australia packages example sounder.com.au I believe they are called. Your other issue is language students get the most trust to there own language. what articles could generate better options also ads should be cheap and take advantage of Asian markets

    #1217754
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Paul – FS Concierge, post: 262589, member: 78928 wrote:
    Hi And Welcome to Flying Solo [USER=112583]@stephanieq[/USER] . It is great to have you!

    Thank you for joining our community and posting today.

    I feel it would be worth asking those people that have said great idea but no thanks, what kind of numbers they would need to consider your proposed publication a good fit for their business.

    Trying to gain a “following” is very hard work and takes a very long time – with web and with Insta (infographics would be a good medium) and Youtube but are worth considering if your motivation is more about community service than profit.

    If your primary motivation is profit, I feel you should really listen to what the market has already told you which is that it is really hard to get the numbers to work – no matter how hard you work – and it sounds, to your credit, like you work really hard.

    A key tenet of business is to look for problems that you can solve for people that would be willing to and have the means to pay for the problem that you can solve at a price that would make a profit after all costs.

    It sounds simple but it seems like you are not solving a problem for your prospects (advertisers).

    Cheers
    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your practical advice, appreciated!
    I noticed you are a staff member of this site, so I have a question… when I posted my post, I ticked ticked the box ‘follow thread’ and ‘get email notifications when there are replies’. But I never got any?…

    #1217755
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    RunicConvenience, post: 262598, member: 112020 wrote:
    Search for startups selling to international students. Offer it as a service they could offer in their welcome to Australia packages example sounder.com.au I believe they are called. Your other issue is language students get the most trust to there own language. what articles could generate better options also ads should be cheap and take advantage of Asian markets
    Hey, thanks for the idea. I was planning on releasing versions in other languages first, but then not only do I need to translate the content, the advertisers would need to (pay) to translate their ads, which is just extra cost for them. But, definitely something I wanted to do! Also, big thanks to the idea of including it as part of their welcome package, that is a great idea!!
    #1217756
    Peter – FS Administrator
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,889
    stephanieq, post: 262613, member: 112583 wrote:
    Hi Paul,
    Thanks for your practical advice, appreciated!
    I noticed you are a staff member of this site, so I have a question… when I posted my post, I ticked ticked the box ‘follow thread’ and ‘get email notifications when there are replies’. But I never got any?…

    Hi Stephanie – that’s an odd one! If you follow a thread you should get alerted of any new threads since you last visited the thread. It doesn’t then alert you of all the new ones if you don’t return. Have you got alerts since you last read it?

    #1217757
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Peter – FS Administrator, post: 262636, member: 1 wrote:
    Hi Stephanie – that’s an odd one! If you follow a thread you should get alerted of any new threads since you last visited the thread. It doesn’t then alert you of all the new ones if you don’t return. Have you got alerts since you last read it?
    Hi Peter
    This is the first email notification I got. I saw the previous posts only when I decided to log in and check for myself if there were updates.
    #1217758
    Peter – FS Administrator
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,889

    All good. Paul is another moderator who had replied earlier so you got the name right :) Hopefully from here on the notifications will work when new posts are added to discussions you are involved in. Spam filters can also sometimes block alerts.
    Cheers, Peter

    #1217759
    SuzsSpace
    Member
    • Total posts: 692
    stephanieq, post: 262617, member: 112583 wrote:
    Hey, thanks for the idea. I was planning on releasing versions in other languages first, but then not only do I need to translate the content, the advertisers would need to (pay) to translate their ads, which is just extra cost for them. But, definitely something I wanted to do! Also, big thanks to the idea of including it as part of their welcome package, that is a great idea!!

    I don’t understand why you’d want to go to all the trouble and expense of translating a physical magazine when Google can do it for free. I’ve used Google Translate in a number of countries just this year and I’ve survived to tell the tale. Survived? I’m anaphylatic to the onion family and I only had one issue in seven countries.

    I know I’m addicted to the print media but even I agree that this might be one time when you should go digital. If you want to leave the printed magazine as an option for down the track when you’re bringing in money that would make sense financially. But as a start up you need to be getting the information to the people in the format they use. Many backpackers use digital and need a quick translation.

    #1217760
    mikejjwells
    Member
    • Total posts: 2

    Hi @stephanieq
    Some thoughts from a a former backpacker who worked in publishing for a number of years.

    Firstly: Target Audience – without an in-depth analysis it would seem Backpackers and International Students are very different. Whilst their may be overlaps in their interests and buying habits the information they choose to consume would be different. This means your content (editorial) might not appeal across the board… you therefore lose value.

    When developing any publication, advertising material my golden rule is to always put the audience first. Constantly revisit this statement to ensure this because as the publisher, and probably the financial controller too it’s all too easy and tempting force the available content or advertising to fit when actually it might not.

    Printed publications do work for the backpacker segment, backpackers if not English speakers generally have a good level of English or are developing their language skills so I don’t see that as an issue. They also have lots of free time whilst in hostels or on the road. Unless your content is hyper localised to an area or to a genre – road trips, jobs, cheap eats. I don’t think an app has the appeal. But links to extra content on your website could be valuable in terms of increasing engagement as well as adding an addition revenue stream / incentive for you advertisers.

    From memory there are a number of well established magazines/paper with much bigger circulations that have been operating for years… why is yours different? Why would someone pick it up over a rivals? They are generally throw away items so it’s vitally important the content is valuable enough to hold onto it!

    Secondly: Advertiser funded publications are a grind… the sales teams at free mags I’ve worked at are always up against it. You need to devise ways to add extra value to the advertiser… discounted inserts, banner ad rotation on your website, special offers, advertorial pieces etc…

    I couldn’t see this mentioned – What’s the current page count and size and stock for your magazine?

    Goodluck! Mike

    #1217761
    Paul – FS Concierge
    Keymaster
    • Total posts: 3,173
    mikejjwells, post: 262737, member: 78979 wrote:
    Hi @stephanieq
    Some thoughts from a a former backpacker who worked in publishing for a number of years. Good luck! Mike

    Valuable insights Mike.

    Thank you for joining Flying Solo and contributing!

    Cheers

    #1217762
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Peter – FS Administrator, post: 262636, member: 1 wrote:
    Hi Stephanie – that’s an odd one! If you follow a thread you should get alerted of any new threads since you last visited the thread. It doesn’t then alert you of all the new ones if you don’t return. Have you got alerts since you last read it?
    Hi Peter, I am still not getting email notifications. I am subscribed (I think) cause at the top under the title, it says “Unwatch” which means I am watching this thread now. I logged in today (Nov 1) and noticed I have several unread replies from at least a week ago. Meanwhile, I have been getting newsletters from Flying Solo.
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