It’s been the summer of graduations, weddings, anniversaries and birthdays. Don’t get us wrong. We’re not complaining. We love a good party. Any excuse for bringing together good food, great drinks and lively conversation is reason enough to celebrate. In fact we were enjoying such an occasion this weekend and found ourselves in an all too common marketing Q&A session.
What started off as small talk and light conversation about their business mushroomed into something a bit more. “Andy” (not his real name) is a successful publisher of a free, local monthly community magazine. At about 40 pages or so, it’s filled with restaurant reviews, coupons, advertisements and features a calendar pull-out of events. It’s well written and looks great. But they also have a so-so website listing only the events with minimal links to anything or anyone. Yes, they have a twitter feed but that hasn’t seen action since 2013. So we talked with “Andy” and offered some small suggestions, “try this,” “have you thought about that?” And we were promptly shut down and shut down hard. Maybe he was nervous about expanding his online presence; maybe he was ok with staying the course. Or maybe he was ok with just being ok.
But the media world is a-changing folks. Fewer and fewer of us actually get our information from traditional sources (i.e. printed media) and publications are closing left and right. The number of smartphone users worldwide will surpass 2 billion in 2016, according to new figures from eMarketer – as more of us will go mobile to get our news and information. But contrary to popular opinion, that does not mean the death of printed material. If done right, printed and online can happily thrive together. So, in the spirit of sharing, here’s our best advice for “Andy.”
1. Embrace Change
Make no mistake. There’s no going backwards. Technology changes on a dime, so as a small-medium size business, embracing new technology is a must. But don’t be intimidated by it. Read about it (we love Fast Company & Mashable), get excited about it and try things that sound interesting to you and your business.
2. Focus on the Website
Get your advertisers and partners on board. Add more content. Get subscribers. Offer coupons online. Make sure all of your events link to something, whether on your site or on someone else’s.
3. Go Social
It’s no secret how we feel about social media. It’s a must-do and frankly, a no-brainer - especially for an EVENT-driven publication. The opportunities are many and the rewards are endless. Get people talking about you. Get your readers actively engaged with your events and the advertisers in your network.