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  • #1217763
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    mikejjwells, post: 262737, member: 78979 wrote:
    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
    Hi Mike, I don’t get notified of replies, so sorry this is late. Thanks for your suggestions. I am frustrated because I already did the things you mentioned. I researched, quite thoroughly might I add, I even contacted the Tourism Research people at tra.gov.au for extra data on where backpackers come from, where they go in Australia, and got similar info on IS as well.
    I have no real choice except for it to be 100% ad funded – there are many ad-funded publications that work quite well for them, or they won’t exist. As I point out in my edited post above, a digital version would be a last resort because finding a website is like finding a needle in a haystack, a physical product has all the research done for you and everything ready to use. So website ads would only be supplementary and secondary. I’ve already told the advertisers they can get a web ad too. As for page numbers: This is one of my problems. I have 82 pages of content including covers and less than 10 whole blank pages potentially to be filled with ads. They have to be there because of the layout (eg, editorial content for one topic ends on a left hand page, but the next topic must be a double spread so the right side page is empty). So minimum 82 pg. But, depending on the print qty, less than 10 whole page will not be enough to fund the printing and distribution, so I will need to add more pages to hold the ads. Which makes it more expensive to print and my ad slots more expensive to buy. Therefore, inserts are definite no nos, they will increase the cost when it is much cheaper to print the contents of the insert, into the actual magazine.

    #1217764
    Greg_M
    Member
    • Total posts: 1,691
    stephanieq, post: 262587, member: 112583 wrote:
    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).

    It’s obvious you’ve done a huge amount of work and research to get to where you are now, but it seems to me you’ve ‘hit the wall’ if you can’t get any advertisers.

    If they don’t see any ROI from taking up your ad slots now, what’s going to change even if you can get a print run happening?

    It appears your only option at the moment is to print and run it at a loss, assuming you have the capital to do that, and hope the ads will come if the magazine has a successful take up going forward.

    That’s an awfully risky strategy considering your current lack of traction.

    My previous post about going digital was admittedly “shooting from the hip” to some extent, but it wasn’t meant to sound flippant. Seems to me you risk getting stuck with a large amount of well researched content that’s probably worth zip unpublished, regardless of whether it’s print or digital.

    I hope you find a solution.

    #1217765
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485
    stephanieq, post: 262861, member: 112583 wrote:
    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.

    The newsletters come from a different address, have you checked Spam folder

    #1217766
    bb1
    Participant
    • Total posts: 4,485

    or is your replies to watched threads ticks, it has to be ticked even if you are watching a thread..[ATTACH=full]1617[/ATTACH]

    #1217767
    stephanieq
    Member
    • Total posts: 8
    Greg_M, post: 262864, member: 38207 wrote:
    It’s obvious you’ve done a huge amount of work and research to get to where you are now, but it seems to me you’ve ‘hit the wall’ if you can’t get any advertisers.

    If they don’t see any ROI from taking up your ad slots now, what’s going to change even if you can get a print run happening?

    It appears your only option at the moment is to print and run it at a loss, assuming you have the capital to do that, and hope the ads will come if the magazine has a successful take up going forward.

    That’s an awfully risky strategy considering your current lack of traction.

    My previous post about going digital was admittedly “shooting from the hip” to some extent, but it wasn’t meant to sound flippant. Seems to me you risk getting stuck with a large amount of well researched content that’s probably worth zip unpublished, regardless of whether it’s print or digital.

    I hope you find a solution.
    Thanks Greg. Just wanted to reply to say I got an email notification for this one, seems like I only get notifications for the first replies I get in any time period.

    #1217768
    mikejjwells
    Member
    • Total posts: 2

    Are you too close to the project to be able to see that perhaps it’s just not viable – it certainly sounds that way because as other have pointed out it appears you’ve done the huge amount of research. It’s just not showing you what you want to see.

    Some other personal observations:

    You’re flat plan sounds incredibly rigid – unless you’re editorial content is sponsored I believe you’d find it hard to stick to plan A. Simply because it’s so tough to source the advertising. The flat plan for an in-house 48 page advertiser driven quarterly that i work on with a team consisting of writers and sales staff – changes at least 8 times over the course of production.

    Big business probably don’t want to / can’t advertise for a number of reasons: a) You’re unproven b) You’re a brand alignment risk c) perhaps most importantly you’re not on the radar of media buyers. Nationals, multi’s, Banks, FMCG’s etc would be extremely unlikely to buy their own advertising and they probably would not buy 1 off ads.

    I’d be sticking to SME’s initially – but this has repercussions for your distribution strategy. Bob’s Kebabs might be excellent value for International students on cheap night, but those students need to be on his doorstep.

    Print can’t be 82 pages, it’ll be 80 or 84pages and at that size it’ll be perfect bound. So are you looking at approx $8-9k print on 3000? So I guess the next problem is your pitch to the potential advertiser.

    Would you consider a test run, hyperlocal to 2-3 really hot suburbs for you target market?

    As I said just some thoughts. Goodluck

    #1217769
    SuzsSpace
    Member
    • Total posts: 692

    I was coming back to mention your 82 pages won’t work. It’s a printing thing, it needs to be in multiples of 4 pages.

    mikejjwells, post: 262888, member: 78979 wrote:
    Are you too close to the project to be able to see that perhaps it’s just not viable – it certainly sounds that way because as other have pointed out it appears you’ve done the huge amount of research. It’s just not showing you what you want to see.

    Some other personal observations:

    You’re flat plan sounds incredibly rigid – unless you’re editorial content is sponsored I believe you’d find it hard to stick to plan A. Simply because it’s so tough to source the advertising. The flat plan for an in-house 48 page advertiser driven quarterly that i work on with a team consisting of writers and sales staff – changes at least 8 times over the course of production.

    Big business probably don’t want to / can’t advertise for a number of reasons: a) You’re unproven b) You’re a brand alignment risk c) perhaps most importantly you’re not on the radar of media buyers. Nationals, multi’s, Banks, FMCG’s etc would be extremely unlikely to buy their own advertising and they probably would not buy 1 off ads.

    I’d be sticking to SME’s initially – but this has repercussions for your distribution strategy. Bob’s Kebabs might be excellent value for International students on cheap night, but those students need to be on his doorstep.

    Print can’t be 82 pages, it’ll be 80 or 84pages and at that size it’ll be perfect bound. So are you looking at approx $8-9k print on 3000? So I guess the next problem is your pitch to the potential advertiser.

    Would you consider a test run, hyperlocal to 2-3 really hot suburbs for you target market?

    As I said just some thoughts. Goodluck

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