Following the Leader in the Regional Niche

faces-spread-1024x662This idea is spreading fast and making regional magazines the place to be seen…and sometimes it’s okay to follow, not lead.

As Steve Jobs famously said, “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”

Innovation certainly has its place, especially in times like ours when the “old ways” of doing things have lost their effectiveness. And sometimes it makes perfect sense to follow, explains John Palumbo, owner of Rhode Island Monthly Communications.

“For me, the past 20 years in the regional magazine business have been a throwback to those better times in the newspaper business,” Palumbo writes in Folio:. “Unlike national titles in the beauty, shelter, or food categories—where creative concepts are as secretive as certain presidential candidate’s tax returns—in the regional magazine business, great ideas with staying power are often found ‘traveling’ coast to coast and, in this case, from Birmingham, Alabama.”

Palumbo is referring to the “Faces of…” ad campaign run by B Metro Magazine in Birmingham, which offers exclusive ad opportunities for one “face” or business in each business category.

“Essentially advertisers buy into a formatted section of the publication exclusively owning a category such as ‘real estate, fine dining or spa works.’ The advertiser gets a profile photo provided by the publication—more than a headshot—usually in the place of business (a florist with flowers, a chef in the kitchen) with a few hundred word description of why they are THE place on the market for that service. The categories vary by market and opportunity,” Palumbo explains.

The idea has spread to regional titles in Memphis, Detroit, Denver and Rhode Island so far, with more likely on the way.

It’s a solid idea and one more way that regional titles are rocking in this new media landscape. Regionals are uniquely qualified to give the local audience what it wants, without competing with similar titles outside their area. In this way, the idea of sharing and climbing on board right regional ideas like this one can help the entire industry.

Of course, this niche has to be especially careful, as Palumbo notes in an earlier article, of getting their hands dirty with sponsored content opportunities. As long as those lines between business and editorial stay clear, the risk is alleviated.