Posts Tagged ‘publishing’

Print magazines
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 21, 2015

The Future of Print in the Digital Age

When it comes to news, there can be no doubt consumer behaviour has shifted from print to digital.

Trashy headlines, comedy distractions and celebrity exclusives now belong to the likes of BuzzFeed, the Huffington Post & TMZ rather than the tabloid press. Twitter breaks news faster than any newspaper ever could, while engaged political bloggers arguably have more sway than columnists ever did. Legacy newspaper brands are struggling to make it pay online, whereas digital-first blogs like TechCrunch and Mashable thrive with the ability to satisfy its news-hungry audience multiple times per day.

So print is dead.

Or is it?

Wil Lee-Wright

Wil Lee-Wright

“There is a vacuum in print and it is open for entrepreneurial journalists to explore”, claims Wil Lee-Wright, Editor-in-Chief at The List, a new English language print magazine for Trondheim, targeting foreigners living in and visiting the town.

“Myself, our team, my friends and family all actively seek out print publications. Of course we’re engaged with digital content but print is something we all crave. A digital platform alone won’t satisfy the needs of our audience. New international workers, asylum seekers, business travellers and tourists won’t necessarily know about the digital platform, but they will see our magazine out on the streets. We also offer digital content and anticipate doing more in the future, but the print magazine will remain our way of introducing people to the brand.”

A sustainable business?

Even if there is a demand for print publications, is it possible to build a sustainable business given the powerful targeting available with online media? Wil is convinced it is.

“From our pre-launch research we found that in places with saturated markets like London, there has been a move towards the free press. The List is a free publication but with high production values, so much so that some people aren’t quite sure if our magazine is free! This quality, together with the fact that no other publication is targeting this audience, means we have a very attractive proposition for advertisers. We are already achieving sustainable advertising rates because we offer access to a unique audience, whilst remaining accessible to all.”

Tarmo Virki

Tarmo Virki

Tarmo Virki, co-founder of CoFounder magazine, agrees.

“The differentiator is being able to reach a very specific target group. Newspapers and general interest print magazines aim as wide as the internet does, but there is one key difference. On the internet you can target advertising, so today print has to target too.”

The Finnish-Estonian publication targets the thriving technology startup scene in Europe, and launched its debut issue at the Slush conference in November 2014.

“We have seen a lot of free media like the Metro newspaper trying to create a platform through distributing the paper publication to as many people as possible. We will operate a subscription model, but continue to distribute at industry conferences too. Issue 2 will be available at the CeBIT conference in Germany.”

A credible voice

Both The List and CoFounder are professionally designed, quality publications, the kind of magazine you’ll leave on your kitchen table and refer to again and again. This offers readers – and advertisers – something they struggle to find online, a long-term, permanent relationship. That print ad lasts forever.

Print offers journalists the chance to unshackle themselves from click-bait headlines and SEO keyword-driven copy, and explore topics with a depth and narrative that’s increasingly hard to find online.

This article from Niemann Storyboard suggests “Launching a print magazine today is courageous; some would say foolhardy.”

I say courageous, yes, but foolhardy, no. A future in which we consume news online but read more thoughtful, longer-form interviews and features in print is one I’m all for.

What do you think?

Living together
60David Nikel

David NikelJanuary 9, 2015

Startup Marketing 101: Make Your Voice Heard

If you’ve decided 2015 is the year you finally launch your startup, I’m sure you will have many marketing questions. What do you focus on? How do you get the word out? How do you find investors? Customers? Can you market your startup without spending a fortune?

Our new Startup Marketing 101 series will help you find the answers. First up: a guide to publishing in the digital era, why do it, and how to use it to your advantage.

Content marketing

Content marketing is more than a trendy buzzword: it isn’t going anywhere. In 2015, content marketing is all about establishing authority, whether that’s to attract investment, partners or customers.

Working on a startup in silence is pointless: share your story.

Publishing thought-leadership articles, detailed tutorials, educational infographics, and solving people’s problems will get you and your startup noticed not just in your city, but around the world too.

Content marketing is often misunderstood and like any form of marketing, it requires a strategic plan to see any benefit. Spending hours toiling over a blog that noone reads, sending press releases to journalists that remain unopened, creating white papers without a clear idea of your target audience: if you’re doing these things then stop!

Here’s how to do it properly.

Blogging

Once the domain of lolcats and food pictures, blogs of today are powerful business tools. Used correctly, they can build a killer brand, inspire viral sharing of your stories, generate new customers and destroy the competition. Used incorrectly, they are a simple time-suck.

As a professional blogger, I advise most startups to start a blog. But do it as part of a clear strategy, knowing your purpose and intent. Is it to build your brand or is it to generate leads? Stick to just one of those aims and your chances of success will improve.

Examples:

  • Buffer Blog – the blog of the social media scheduling tool attracts new clients by tackling common pain points of its target audience: social media power users
  • The Cleanest Line – the blog of the online adventure travel store Patagonia builds the company brand by telling compelling adventure travel stories with barely a mention of their products
  • Crunch Blog – the blog of this online accountancy firm generates leads by offering hands-on business advice to its target market: small UK businesses, contractors and freelancers.

Evergreen content

Churning out blog post after blog post is exhausting work (I should know, I’ve been doing it since 2007!) but there’s also another downside: blog posts disappear off the radar after a week or two. Develop some high value, evergreen content alongside the regular posts and your startup can really make an impact.

Evergreen means content that will always be fresh and useful. Something that your target market can refer back to again and again.

White papers demonstrate in-depth knowledge and expertise on a topic and are considered a valuable marketing tool despite the lack of sales language. They should inform a reader about a specific problem and a specific solution from a technical perspective. They are common in large ICT companies but there is no reason why startups can’t utilise the format to great effect. Infographics are a visual way of representing data, while instructional videos also use a visual medium to explain: really important in these days of short attention spans and especially for explaining a new technology or process.

Examples:

Video and audio

Audio podcasts are growing in popularity, although it remains to be seen whether video-podcasts will move beyond the realm of attention-seeking teenagers. If you are developing a product, or simply prefer to talk rather than write, telling your story via video or audio could be best for you. New media and social networks are becoming more focused on video and audio, so it could be a smart move to start now.

Don’t invest in expensive equipment if you’re just trying it out. The newest smartphones and a white wall in a well-lit room will give you a “good enough” video quality, while a quality podcast microphone can be had for under $100. Also, keep them short: 2-4 minute updates should hold people’s attention, any longer, and they will switch off.

Examples:

If you have the energy, publishing a mix of all of the above is a great, albeit time-consuming, strategy to pursue.

But if you can’t justify the time investment that quality publishing requires – and as a new startup that’s a fair call – there is another emerging option: publishing on other people’s platforms. Content marketers will tell you it’s important to own your publishing platform, but if you approach this with specific aims in mind, publishing on other platforms can be incredibly effective at demonstrating authority and building your network.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular.

LinkedIn Pulse

No longer just a social network for professionals. Just like Facebook has moved from social network to advertising platform, LinkedIn has morphed into a publishing platform. Do you receive those emails from “LinkedIn Pulse” or “LinkedIn Influencers” with content targeted towards your professional interests? Your knowledge and experience can be in those emails, targeted directly at potential customers, partners and investors. As LinkedIn’s publishing platform is still new, you can strike while the iron is hot and potentially make a big impact.

Examples:

Medium

The storytelling platform Medium is gaining popularity as an alternative to business blogging. Unlike with your own platform, you don’t control much of the look and feel of the published posts, but there is an in-built audience and the best posts will “rise to the top” and reach a much wider audience than you could hope for with your own fledgling blog. Here in the Nordics, Neil Murray closed his The Nordic Web blog and went all-in on Medium last year. He explains why here.

I don’t think Medium is a viable long-term strategy, but it could provide a real boost to your startup just when you need it most.

Examples:

Guest articles

If you operate in a defined niche, your best option could be to submit articles to online media covering that niche. Media giants like the Huffington Post accept guest articles but if you’re not a known name and lack a published portfolio, start smaller. If your startup is working on a new widget for the energy industry, consider articles for energy publications. If your aim is to build credibility in a specific niche, writing guest articles could be a winner for you.

Per Harald Borgen of Disco Fingers published a guest post here on Technoport about his experiences pivoting from one idea to another, an issue faced by many entrepreneurs but rarely discussed in the media. In sharing his story, he raised the profile of his new startup.

Examples:

Share your story

If you are a startup founder, student of entrepreneurship, or working on innovation within a company and you have a story to share, there could be a place for it here on the Technoport blog. To find out more details, get in touch with us at hello (at) technoport (dot) no

I firmly believe telling your story and sharing everything is the path to success. Good luck!

Next up in Startup Marketing 101: social media.

Share your startup story in person

Join us in Trondheim, Norway, on 18 & 19 March as we seek to awaken the entrepreneurial mindset at Technoport 2015.

Photo credit: Living together by Sergio Alvarez