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61539_cover-k9magazine-issue27_small (1)1. Re-use and recycle content for new channels

In many specialist markets, editorial content is essentially evergreen and can be enjoyed by readers for several years.  It’s not a repeat if you haven’t seen it the first time!  K9 magazine makes sure no content is ever wasted; new digital subs get the back catalogue, and past content is turned into ebooks and used as a subs premium.

2. Exploit your history

Established publishers have a fabulous asset in their archive.  By digitising it they can drive search traffic and ad revenues, capture email addresses and even charge for full passes.  Gramophone grew their site traffic by 30% when they added 250k pages.

3.  Develop new distribution channels

In  niche markets in old-fashioned print publishing, it’s worth working out where your customers might be and building partnerships with suitable outlets.  Five Star Magazine has distribution partnerships with marinas, spas, luxury hotels and private jet hire. Great Food Leicestershire sells copies through farm shops and delis and tops up with targeted free distribution.

4. Provide data/ analysis not news

B2B publishers can no longer charge for news, but they can charge for data and analysis.  Journalists at VRL Financial learnt to deliver fewer words and more graphics and that helped the publisher sell company site licences rather than individual subscriptions.

5. Create bespoke campaigns for advertisers

Rates on banner ads are ridiculously low, but specialist publishers do have an edge: their editorial expertise and access to communities.  Creating campaigns that engage readers has won Military Times and Made for Mums big budgets from major advertisers.

6. Build partnerships with key retailers40589_sma11itunes_med

What does your niche audience spend money on and which retailers do they use?  Building strong relationships with important online and offline retailers is a good strategy for a niche publisher. Songlines has used its Music Awards to obtain promotion with itunes, amazon and HMV, driving traffic back to its digital edition.

7. Get your community together

Specialist interests groups love to get together: so many publishers are now hosting live events and creating online forums.  Stylist Network has developed sponsorship and ticket revenues and is also seeing editorial benefits.

8. Encourage your community to create content

Specialist communities are experts and keen to share their knowledge.  They often have greater expertise than the editorial team.  Chrommunity is a free community in the chromatography market launched by Advanstar; it now has 3500 members and many of their blogs are published in the magazine.

9. Help develop their skills

Business communities and enthusiastic hobbyists want to improve their skills.  So many publishers are actively developing online and face to face training, even professional qualifications in partnership with academic organisations.  Econsultancy now have almost half their revenues from skills development among their membership.

10. Turn conversations into commerce

B2B communities crave peer insights, and value the views of expert practitioners.  Accounting web runs a community with 600 questions and 3000 answers a month.  They sell sponsorship of surveys, reports, debates and awards to commercial organisations, while it is free for the accountant members.



This article is based on a presentation Carolyn Morgan of Penmaen Media gave in a workshop at the Specialist Media Show on 25 May 2011.

See the presentation on Ten New Specialist Publishing Models here.


Penmaen Media work individually with niche publishers to help them develop a bespoke digital publishing strategy, drawing on case studies from the Media Pioneers and recent research among 200 publishers.  If you'd like a no-obligation discussion about how we can help your specialist media business grow, please contact Carolyn direct


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