Our world, is fast and specific and in a world that is fast and specific traditional media lags behind. I mean, does anyone read the The New Republic, The Atlantic, The Nation, The Weekly Standard or Newsweek (being sold to anyone at all available outlets) any more? And more importantly when they disappear, who will really miss them?
The problem that I’m noticing is that they are both slow, boring, bland and average .
And if you’re in this line of business, the question you should be asking is, “Is there a future market here?”
Because I believe that micro-magazines, on the other hand, are the future and have components that make them very attractive to advertisers and readers.
I’ll define one as:
- Being digital (probably a PDF), that’s free to ‘print’, fast to make and easy to share. (Newsweek spends seventeen million dollars a year on paper.)
- Having subscribers, either by email or RSS
- Focused on issues that appeal to some, but not all
- Having a very specific audience (call it a tribe)
- Enabling that tribe to connect by sharing the ideas in the magazine among them, as well as supporting it with a forum or blog
- Containing ads that are relevant to that audience
- Being longer than 140 characters or even a blog post, so significant ideas can be exposed in detail
There’s room in the market for thousands of profitable micro-magazines because the internet connects people. That’s what it does best and it connects people to a tribe, to a group of people who share a passion. Why not have one about your local town, city or state, for example? If all the people who vacation in there could read about the city in detail every month, read about restaurants, resorts and politics, for free, in an easy to share format… Multiply this by every destination, every interest group, every type of profession (how about a micro-magazine for dermatologist?)
Surely you can think of a group of people who share a demo- or psychographic, that are appealing to an advertiser base and want to learn and share what they learn… for free.
Take a look at Stephanie C. Harper’s, CAREER Magazine. It’s jammed with good stuff, it’s engaging and it begs to be shared. While the audience for Career isn’t as vertical as some, it clearly should resonate with some advertisers, the sort that might pay for an ad in the soon to be irrelevant newsweeklies. And the big difference is that instead of paying for an office building and paper and overhead, the money for an ad in a micro-magazine can go directly to the people who write and promote it and the ad itself will be seen by exactly the right audience… (Aside: Newsweek has 427 employees and a guaranteed circulation of 1.5 million. Fearless will probably end up reaching 100,000 people with 2 employees.)
Don’t expect overnight successes in this form of media, but certainly expect that once someone figures out how to be the voice of a tribe, the revenue will take care of itself.