Encourage Your Introverts and Survey Your Field, Speakers Urge

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It has been close to a month, but ideas from the SIPA Annual 2017 Conference still ring in my mind (save the date for SIPA Annual 2018 - June 5-7 in Washington, DC). One concept that particularly resonated was when Brian Cuthbert, group vice president for Diversified Communications, said that he insists his editors speak at industry events.

"They've got to get out. It's an incredible branding and business development opportunity. You've got to get them out there. That firsthand knowledge they're going to get is incredible and can be passed over to sales."

Looking back, I wish I had had a boss like Cuthbert. For many editors and writers, public speaking may not come naturally. But it's a skill that can be learned and put to good use. Here are nine other ideas that can be put to good use:

1. Do video. "The most watched times for videos on our site are 7-8 pm Saturdays and 9-10 am on Sundays, with an average watch time of almost 4 minutes," said Linda Vassily, VP of marketing, Cabot Investing Advice. "We have a lot of consumer content, so our videos are most popular on weekends. The videos run about 8 minutes long. We've gotten almost 700,000 page views. People don't have short attention spans if they're interested in your content."

2. Create a place where you can bring people to brainstorm, said Elizabeth Petersen, chief people and strategy officer of Simplify Compliance. "Every person has ideas but they need to be coaxed... I have introverts and they need to be encouraged—having a structured agenda is a great way to get people talking."

3. Start an advertiser advisory board. "Before you roll out a new product, you would take that product to the board," said Ryan Dohrn, founder and CEO of Brain Swell Media. "'Is this a product that you would pay for?' Advertisers will give you plenty of feedback. The publisher of the magazine is probably not best person to run that advisory meeting. She might get upset when advertisers shoot something down."

4. Don't underprice, said Krystle Kopacz, CEO of Rev. "In media we're so used to discounting, and then not accounting for all costs." She also said that ignoring program management is a huge pitfall. "Great customer service can overcome a lot" of negatives. She added to be careful not to disrupt yourself too much as you move forward. "The key is to be on the side of your client."

5. Use data to make your content more valuable. "We look at data in real time," said Nikesh Desai, CEO of InvestingChannel. "If gold is up yesterday and down today then my message needs to change. Data should expand across the organization and help optimize your pricing and ROI. [But] it needs to be good. Bad data will lose 30% of your operating margin.

6. Create products for a changing marketplace. "Of the products I've already developed, what can I reuse in a practical way?" asked Terrie Goldstein, publisher of Hudson Valley Parent magazine. "Products have cycles." She created a following of moms 27-45 "who trust me and my company as a resource." This allowed her to survey that group and find out what products they wanted.

speaking of which...

7. Survey. One of the first things Anne Holland and Cassandra Farrington of Marijuana Business Daily did was conduct a survey of businesses in the field. What did people really want from an information company? "They didn't want to know how to run a dispensary better," Holland said. "They wanted a free daily news website that connected them to the cannabis industry across the country; they desperately needed business and financial benchmarks, and industry numbers. And they wanted a conference, with other mavericks who were running dispensaries."

8. Find new niches. There are clues to new opportunities that you should look for, said Lesley Norins, vice president of Medvostat. They include:

  • new laws and regulations that may soon take effect;
  • spreading technology;
  • newly formed groups or associations;
  • new innovations;
  • people who already have a job getting more responsibility (such as a manager of tank car safety).

"Then you want to investigate the topic before your competitors," Norins said. "Is anybody covering this? Don't assume anything; check it out. In our field of 60 newsletters we rarely enter a field where someone's already there. And, of course, act quickly."

9. "When you hear big data, don't be intimidated," said David Foster, CEO of BVR. "Emphasize the context between connected data points, rather than the connection. Look upstream to have ideas. There's value in data tiers and different price points."

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…