Mission Critical for Local Niche Titles

brparentsThere’s one key element at play when localized, special interest print titles thrive in niche market scenarios.

The niche magazine market is strong in southern Louisiana, according to April Capochino Myers in the Greater Baton Rouge Business Report. The article highlights the success of Baton Rouge Parents magazine, along with several other titles that are successfully reaching their niche audiences.

The secret, as Myers notes, is that “local niche magazines are maintaining longevity by mastering readership demographics, advertising sales and content. Media experts say if independent niche magazines can stay focused, their future is bright.”

A local university administrator agrees that this is the critical element.

“To make it, they need to assemble and keep a good audience that’s focused on that niche,” says Steve Buttry, director of student media for LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication. “Deliver a good product that the audience wants, find good businesses to keep the audience and if they can serve that niche well and help businesses with a particular interest, that’s their sweet spot.”

The titles range across the board, from the Healthcare Journal of Baton Rouge published six times a year, to the monthly Country Roads and the weekly lifestyle magazine Dig. Not only are these magazines finding local success, they often branch out to other areas, as Smith Hartley of the Healthcare Journal has.

“We started at a fantastic time and were able to make a lot of mistakes when it didn’t matter that much,” says Hartley, president and chief editor. “As the media industry started to shrink, our publication had gotten better. We keep our publication lean and focused. It’s always our intention and will continue to be our intention to make health care better. Ultimately, if we are not creating something that helps the health care industry, then we are just out there. If we can provide a good product, we will be fine.”

Hartley now publishes two additional journals, one in New Orleans and another in Little Rock.

We’ve written before the growing optimism in local and niche markets; the titles that succeed are relentless about targeting the right advertisers and readers, and staying true to their mission and their secret sauce.

“We gave ourselves a motto and a mission focus: ‘Our business is helping promote your business,’” said Margot May, co-publisher of The Livingston Business Journal and The Business Journal – Zachary/Point Coupee. “We have grown to where we are today because we have constant business connections and continue to grow them.”

As more publishers find a space in the migration from mass to niche and embrace digital as a way to engage their audiences, titles like these will continue to find solid footing in the print media landscape.