[responsive][/responsive]Despite the potential risks, events are quickly becoming part of the business model for many publishers. And it’s a strategy that can really pay off, notes Gretchen Peck in Publishing Executive Magazine.
“Publishers understand the need to diversify, and there are plenty of smart channels in which to extend editorial brands, including live and virtual events,” Peck writes. “Events have the potential to unlock new revenue, solidify audience engagement, and bolster advertisers’ integrated marketing campaigns.”
Your magazine can be a cornerstone in your event success if you leverage it to your best advantage. Peck advises that a magazine is the natural vehicle to “play matchmaker” between readers and potential advertisers in specific niches.
“Magazines are perfectly poised to make these relevant introductions—whether it’s bringing businesspersons together with suppliers, or bringing together everyday folks who enjoy common interests.”
“Santa Fe, New Mexico may be well known for its cultural arts scene, but its lesser-known beauty lies in its natural setting for outdoor enthusiasts,” Peck continues. “It’s a secret that Outside magazine has been hip to for some time, but now the magazine co-hosts and sponsors the annual Outside Bike & Brew Festival, and sees the event as a way to introduce new audiences to Santa Fe and to the publication.”
Revenues from events can come from sponsorships and ticket sales – ideally both, Peck asserts. And the best events often are driven by content themes popular with your readership Peck explains, citing the example of Philadelphia magazine.
According to the magazine’s Tom McGrath, “Food is a natural for us. It always does well in the magazine and online. We know our readers are interested in restaurants and food in Philadelphia. [Hosting] a food event makes a lot of sense to bring people together with the restaurants and chefs they’re interested in.”
Peck cautions that any publisher looking to sponsor or be affiliated with an event must be careful that it’s a good match, and notes that in the planning stages of any event it “is the absolute requirement that the magazine’s brand is preserved.”
She has some good suggestions on how to make that happen, and the possible need for outside professional help to pull it off well.
“Depending on the scope and depth of a publisher’s event business, existing magazine-organization teams may need significant supplemental help in managing the day-to-day operational responsibilities of event planning,” she notes. And be prepared to spend some money upfront to make a good impression.
“It’s somewhat of a leap of faith, and you fear the classic scenario of throwing a party and no one shows up. But we felt there was strong enough potential for this, so we decided to take that leap, and it’s been a nice additional revenue source beyond the magazine,” says WineMaker‘s Ring of their self-produced WineMaker Magazine Conference.
Events can help not only bring on a new revenue stream for publishers, but by the nature of the relationship-building effect of live events can serve to enhance the traditional advertising revenue for the magazine overall.