Publishers Reap Rewards for Delivering on Audience Requests

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At the 2nd annual PubTech Connect conference in New York last week, Elisa Kreisinger, executive producer and podcast host of Refinery 29—a large digital publisher— told attendees that their 4-million-download, award-winning podcast concept originated as a video series.

"But research into the interests and wants of the brand's core users revealed, among numerous other insights, that what R29's audience really wanted was a podcast," wrote Access Intelligence's Folio:. "Sometimes user research doesn't bring you the answers you want," said Kreisinger. Examine your own resources, see what competitors are not doing well, and look at the potential ROI.

Backing up this mindset, Rob Ristagno of Sterling Woods Group recently wrote an excellent case study of three SIPA members. "CW Research launches new products in a low-budget capacity and uses their subscribers as a focus group, which worked when it came time to promote CW+ AsiaHub," he wrote. "They watch, listen and learn, and only then make an effort to expand the initiatives with potential."

Longtime SIPA member Lessiter Media came up with their own warmly affecting podcast series titled How We Did It: Conversations with Ag Equipment's Entrepreneurs. Sponsored by GKN Off-Highway Powertrain, the podcasts feature Editor Mike Lessiter sitting down for a conversation with one of their subscribers/members

Of the six excellent podcasts that Lessiter has posted since December, my favorite features Jon Kinzenbaw, founder of Kinze Manufacturing, and daughter and company president Susie Veatch. "He tells a story about making me a wagon when I was a little girl," she says. "He wasn't making it quite fast enough to suit me because in my mind I thought we'd just get the parts and we'd have a wagon, not something that was a project."

"So I got the parts all made and then sent her after the tires," Kinzenbaw recalled. He gathered and paraded the parts until she finally asked, "Dad where is this wagon we're building?' Wasn't quite fast enough for me. I wanted to ride in it," she added.

It's a wonderful interview that drives home the powerful stories that a publisher can tell—and get sponsors for. It reminds me of former UBM events executive Robyn Duda's story about taking over a specialty chemicals conference.

"Finding the beauty in that was difficult," Duda said. "So I decided to make the trip to Cleveland, Tenn., to visit the chemical plant there—HAZMAT suit and all. I ended up sitting at a table with a grandfather, father and son of this company, hearing why they weren't happy with the brand...

"This was a salt-of-the-earth, American family, and [we] have to appeal to that. This year we launched an event on pharmaceuticals and held each of their hands, and made them feel like they were on the journey with us... and part of the family."

So there are many ways to respond to your audience's needs.

SIPA member MedLearn Media spotlights a Compliance Question of the Week on their site. "Get answers to tough questions relevant to your specialty." This week's question is: "What codes can be assigned for extremity arterial non-imaging Doppler studies?" At the end of a long answer, they write: "This question was answered in the 2018 edition of our Peripheral & Cardiology Coder. For more hot topics relating to cardiology services, please view our store, or call us."

Cablefax, another Access Intelligence brand, sports a Video Series sponsored by CSG International. The video I just watched begins with a 15-second sponsor ad that moves fast and does not diminish the video at all. Then it begins with Alex Silverman of Cablefax interviewing Cablelabs CEO Phil McKinney on the event floor. There's a lot of activity in the background, making it a place we'd like to be.

In Ristagno's case study, he quotes Greg Hart, director of marketing for PSMJ: "It is important to remember that innovation is not the ultimate objective. Nobody should wake up wondering how to make it an innovative day. Rather, we all need to get so close to our clients and customers that we understand their biggest challenges very clearly. Then, we step back and find a content-based solution to that challenge."

It's good to see so many SIPA members responding creatively to this challenge.

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…