What a week! Super Niche (Almost) Live took place Tuesday-Wednesday, April 14-15 — and nearly 1,300 niche publishers came to our virtual party! (All the sessions are on our Recordings Page right now.)

We had a great time hosting all of you. We picked up some awesome takeaways from our live session keynotes too! The live sessions were:

  • Drew Davis: Building a Media Brand Backwards
  • Niche Publishers Forum: Managing Your Business During COVID-19
  • Wendy Clark: The Whole (Niche) Enchilada – Owning Every Part of Your Niche

Grab your coffee for this blog post, you’ve got a 7-minute read ahead.

Takeaway #1: Rethink the Customer Funnel

Drew Davis walked us through changing from the traditional, linear customer journey funnel you sell your advertisers to a “Loyalty Loop.”

Your magazine or website should be doing more than just serving ads for awareness. You can drive far more ROI for your advertisers, and build your brand trust and audience reach, by building advertiser solutions directly into your content.

Don’t worry – this isn’t going to turn your beautiful content into thinly veiled ad promos. Instead, consider addressing the moment of reader inspiration by anticipating what your reader’s trigger questions might be, and removing all friction from answering them. For example:

  • Article: Comfy “Stay at Home” Work Wear!
  • Photo Spread: chic stretchy pants, cool hoodie, slip on sneakers.
  • Under each item: where to buy it/a discount code/more info link.

Partner with your advertisers to provide direct connections so readers can act on that moment of inspiration (“man, I need those stretchy pants”), answer their trigger question (“where can I get those?”) and remove friction (“oh, here’s the website url, and there’s a discount code, sweet!”) to get them to the moment of commitment (“let me grab my credit card”).

By the way, that discount code or dedicated url, whether in print or online, proves engagement and drives revenue for the advertiser. And your readers trust you as their source, and will continue to come back for more recommendations, plus keep taking trackable actions.

Takeaway #2: Be Flexible and Transparent.

Maybe this is already your MO, but this mantra popped up over and over in the Niche Publishers Forum on Tuesday. It truly applies to all areas of your media biz – now more than ever.

Some of you are laying off staff or enacting salary reductions to cope with business downturns. How do you have those conversations? How do you keep good staff on board and committed? Be Transparent.

Being 100% open about the state of company finances, next steps you’re planning to shore up business, and why changes are being made goes a long way in helping staff understand how this may impact their employment. And it gives them opportunities to offer ideas and contributions to help the business pull through.

Many publishers are also dealing with advertisers pulling ads or asking for discounts. Be Flexible.

Use this time to solidify relationships with advertisers and sponsors. Understand they are going through the same challenges you are, and work together on creative solutions, like extending contracts out to future issues, offering ad deals, or adjusting print vs. digital distribution.

Find creative ways to feature advertisers, especially if their goods or services fit the times. Pro Tip: check out the Ad Sales recordings for a ton of tactics you can do right now!

Takeaway #3: Now is the Time to Go For It

Now is the time to assess all your revenue channels and go for the gold!

The audience has never been more forgiving than right now, and you likely have some time to think through a revenue idea you’ve wanted to try while other parts of your business slow down or go on hold. Starting small now with minimal investment can be the start of a new revenue stream that answers an audience need.

What about a podcast dealing with business downturns in your B2B niche? A video series showcasing activities for kids at home on your regional parenting website? A “recipe of the day” using pantry ingredients for your food newsletter?

Wendy Clark showcased the “go for it” mindset in her keynote on Wednesday. Her company, Bird Watcher’s Digest, took a big step when a birding optics (read: binoculars) advertiser moved out of the bird watching space. BWD launched Redstart Birding Shop to sell optics directly to their audience — and they have exceeded revenue goals since day one! Publishers can be retailers!

Wendy’s latest idea: launching a sponsor focused podcast called Birdsense this summer (yes, in the middle of all this other business change.) The podcast will ask advertisers to “pay to play” if they are featured in the bird watching product recommendations. So far sign up is solid!

Three keys here:

  • Meet your audience in every channel they expect to find information
  • Develop content and resources to answer their trigger question (see Takeaway #1)
  • Get advertiser and sponsor dollars behind it all

Takeaway #4: You All Rock

We loved putting on Super Niche (Almost) Live for you! All the emails, chat box questions, and feedback tell us you’re out there working through this crazy time and willing to try new ideas. Keep watching all the session recordings, and let us know how you are doing!

 

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More about Kristi: Kristi Dougherty is the Content Queen (VP, Marketing & Programs) for Niche Media’s unique and dynamic conferences and resources for niche publishers. She has worked in media since the heady days of dot com magazines in the 90s and managed B-to-B, consumer, and association publications and events. Kristi has spoken at many media conferences, including Niche. When she isn’t obsessing over email design and building the perfect event agenda, she is hiking, snowshoeing, cooking, reading and napping. Sometimes all in one day.

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Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.

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