I’m just back from a web editors’ pub night with representatives from a number of great Canadian mags. It was a fun night (the first of many, I hope), a good opportunity to get to know each other, and a great example of how we have more in common than we like to admit.
The fact is, magazine web sites aren’t generally leading online, to a large degree because of extremely limited resources. We’re all struggling to find the perfect formula, for audience and for revenue. And we’ve all found winning strategies – in some areas. So I think we have a lot to learn from each other.
And one thing I think it’s very important for us to remember is it’s not a zero-sum game online. On newsstand and with sub sales, yes, someone could be choosing to buy Style at Home over House and Home – or vice versa. But online, we’re competing with the entire web, not just with other magazine sites – both for ad dollars and for audience. So for the sake of our industry as a whole, which we all agree hasn’t had an easy time of it over the past year, it wouldn’t hurt for us to make friends and share a few success stories with each other. Ask for advice, find out what works, and pay it forward. I think we’ll all benefit in the end.
I like this report from Min Online about why ew.com and parenting.com have seen such impressive traffic growth over the past year. Their secrets? Better, more frequently updated content, and an effort to reach more readers from elsewhere, pulling them in from search, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.
It’s easy to get caught up in the details, but it really is that simple: push for increased quality and quantity, and the readers will follow. Make a website you would want to read, and others will, too.
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