Canadian Magazine Industry News
24 June 2009,     VANCOUVER
Notes from Magazines West: How to make money online
Martin White
In his two decades in the magazine business, Martin White has worked at such prestigious titles as Time, Toronto Life, WeddingBells and Vantage Magazine. In 2003, he established Online Magazine Marketing, a consulting company focusing on print and online business issues. He lead the Spinning the Web seminar last weekend at the Magazines West conference in Vancouver. Here are his basic points distilled into six web-friendly tips.

1. You need a destination before you can drive your car.

According to White, the biggest mistake for any publisher is to go online without first having a clear business objective. Too obvious? For the last decade publishers have been so worried about being left behind in the scramble to go online that they put up websites without knowing how they were going to make money. Now they're suffering.

2. What makes money on the web?

White says to remember it's your readers that dictate your objective. Why do people go online? They use the net to learn, to do or to buy. Keep this in mind when you're trying to monetize and you've learned lesson one.

3. What do advertisers want?

Like in print, advertisers are looking to create brand awareness. Unlike print, they're also looking for ads that promote instant sales. These ads often contain a direct link to an online store.

4. Use contextual advertising

You can streamline this buying process by using services like Google's Ad Sense. They place ads on your site by analysing keywords in the copy. A reader of your article on dog grooming sees an ad linking them to an online store for dog grooming products. Perfect. You can also do this yourself. Airline companies, without fail, suggest rental cars and hotel rooms while you wait to see if your booking went through.

5. Use all your real estate.

Think of your online content as creating real estate on which to place ads. But real estate isn't exclusive to your editorial content. Look for value in all aspects of your business. Everything from that e-mail that thanks readers for subscribing to your e-newsletter to the loading page on any online forms. You create value from your subscribers by poly-bagging your magazine and sending it out with promotional material. Your e-mail lists are similar advertising gold. Sell access.

6. Have your print and online work together.

Marshal McLuhan noticed that the content of any new medium is the previous medium. As a magazine publisher you already know how to produce content. So stop worrying. Creative online and event spinoffs increase the content's value. This year, 40 %t of the revenue generated from Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit edition will be from non-traditional marketing. This is a tenth of its total annual revenue and it came from digital and event-marketing. Four years ago just 4% of the issue's revenue came from non-print advertising sources.

There's plenty opportunity to make money on the web if you keep your objective in mind.

— Aaron Leaf
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