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Tuesday, September 05, 2006

How to Save The Business Magazine Industry. A message for Advertisers and Publishers

Yesterday I claimed that 98% of business to business magazines weren’t very good. I argued that too few were pursuing the cause of excellence in their product, or writing compelling content. Most magazines can’t afford to produce great content. The average turnover amongst the 5000 or so business to business magazines that are produced in the UK is not more than £400,000 a year.

So whose fault is it that standards are so low amongst so many of our magazines. I have spent most of my life as a business magazine publisher and I am arrogant enough to believe that I am not bad at it. So you will forgive me if I say it’s not my fault. I’ll go further and say that isn’t any publishers fault. Publishers produce crap magazine because advertisers let them. Most business magazine readers don’t pay for their magazine, and if they do, it’s usually with someone elses money. Publishers will continue to send dead trees to readers for as long as advertisers will pay them to do it. They will do this even if nobody is reading their magazine.

It’s time for advertisers to take a stand and starve crap magazines of revenue. Here is my advertisers five point plan to campaign for higher standards in business publishing.

1) Phone every magazine you deal with. Offer a meaty schedule but say that you will only book if your client gets some favourable editorial mention in the magazine. Any magazine that agrees, strike from your media list for ever.
2) Read every magazine you advertise in and red line every article that isn’t interesting, well written and well presented and send it to the publisher and the editor with your comments. Do this for eight weeks.
3) After eight weeks suspend your advertising until editorial standards improve.
4) Reward improving magazines with higher rates and more of your clients business.
5) Don’t advertise in crap magazines. Put them out of business by not advertising in them.

My conclusion is that the sign of an improving and vibrant business magazine industry will be fewer better magazines not more magazines.
I might wonder tomorrow how we are doing with digital solutions to the business media content problem

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