If You Have Something Popular, See What Else Can Be Created Around It

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When you see a successful enterprise—let's say the Broadway musical Hamilton—you often see it marketed and monetized in many ways. There's the cast recording (in CD or vinyl), productions in other cities, tee-shirts, caps, water bottles, special appearances by the actors, even Broadway Carpool Karaoke, etc.

Though it's on a smaller scale, good ideas in niche publishing should be creatively marketed and monetized in different ways as well. A popular webinar can become a live event or white paper. A well-read series of articles can be turned into a video. A well-received weekly quiz can become an interactive game at one of your events. If a writer is popular, she or he can host a podcast or keynote session.

"Most of our popular sessions turn into webinars later," said Pat DiDomenico, editorial director, Business Management Daily, during a SIPA 2016 session on making the most of your editorial. Events are a great place to see what information your subscribers/members covet most.

Here are six other ideas to help you monetize something popular.

1. Make your outreach more personalized. "No two attendees are equal," said Dan Hanover, VP for Access Intelligence. "Different people are coming for different things." They map out six types of people who come to their events so they can segment messages. The personalization drives the open rate way up. Links go to different areas of the website. "And they're even getting different things in their bags," added Hanover.

2. Experiment with live streaming. The video can be then used in other places as well. "There's an untapped market of people who can't go [to our event] but really want to hear what [a speaker] has to say," said Jeff Grizzel, director, quality and enforcement group, FDAnews. He advises to charge a little bit less to those people but not much less, and then promote it from the beginning. "The cost can get expensive but it's been profitable for us. All that footage can be used in 100 different ways, put in training libraries, [sent out] as a traffic generator. 'Here's Director Smith at our recent conference...'"

3. Pay more attention to audience behavior. "One of our mistakes early on [in moving to events] was to not listen enough to editorial feedback." said Florence Torres, group show director, Penton. "The historical knowledge of your audience and readership is important. Listen closely to what they're saying [in relation to] what your audience wants"

4. Make the most of any special guests. Matthew Cibellis, director of programming, live & virtual events, Education Week, spoke about when the Secretary of Education "just walked in" to their event. "How do we do this?" Cibellis asked. "We want those big-name people at events, so how do we get them here? [And when we get them], how do we leverage that in an appropriate way. My intern live-tweeted a picture with one of our [more famous] speakers." That's one way. A testimonial would be another.

5. Niche the niche. Business Management Daily looks for ways to optimize hot topics. It's publisher, Adam Goldstein, said that in the HR field, a topic such as, "How to Do Your Legally Complied Employee Handbooks" can be "roadmaps to get you sued. Everyone has mistakes in them." Their webinar to prevent such suits did well but they further niched it out and a conference on digital handbooks outperformed the original one. He also mentioned international as another possible niche.

6. Dress it up to make it even more special. Arno Langbehn, CEO, B. Behr's Verlag GmbH & Co. KG., showed a SIPA 2016 audience an M&M store in New York that considerably raises the prices for their special packaging and personalizing—and does good business! So if you have a popular product, you might be able to add whistles and bells and make a live event out of it. Just bring some M&Ms—can't hurt.

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…