39 New Subscribers the First Week for This SIPAward-Winning Collaboration

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Editor's note: This is the third of an ongoing series profiling the 2018 SIPAward winners.

"The team built three detailed reader personas that describe who reads NOCO Style. The personas defined why readers like the magazine and what other media and content they are reading. To help round out the reader personas, January Spring researched social networks and groups that attracted these types of readers, the keywords used to attract them, and the hashtags those readers use to find content and other like-minded people."

That's from SIPA member January Spring's second-place, SIPAward-winning entry in the category of Best Editorial and Marketing Collaboration.

January Spring teamed with NOCO Style, "Northern Colorado's Premier Magazine," to create a new digital version that brought in many new readers, subscribers and advertisers. Even though the magazine is B2C, there are many B2B lessons to be learned from this winning collaboration:

Launch with a focused goal. For NOCO Style, the goal was branding and awareness. New owner and publisher Tonja Randolph knew she needed to invest in a digital transformation. The magazine was 33-years old and had a loyal following but was not acquiring new readers. Taking full advantage of the great content, January Spring built a new, mobile-optimized, search-engine-friendly, easy-to-update digital presence featuring the magazine.

Put all the digital tools at your disposal. "We employed the right digital tools to best engage the desired audience," wrote Charity Huff, CEO of January Spring. "Wordpress, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mailchimp, Wufoo ecommerce, Soci, and January Spring's content curation tool.

Social media can be effective. "We went heavy on social media, combining it with paid online advertising and a strategic email marketing approach," Huff wrote. This is where the aforementioned personas came into play. Huff's team developed a social content calendar, writing multiple posts for each piece of magazine content—based on the keywords and topics most familiar to those personas. "For example, the 'Socialite' persona sees targeted, social media content on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter related to her interest in food, style and health. The content is tagged with #NOCOFoodies, #ColoradoLiving or #NOCOHealthy to make the content even more searchable and accessible to their readers."

Drive new readers and subscribers through paid ads and contests. January Spring used paid social campaigns to attract new online readers and print subscribers. A contest asked readers and social followers to nominate their pet as the Cutest in NOCO. The response drove nearly 30% of the new site visitors during the month. The subscription campaigns on Facebook and Instagram generated nearly 300 engagements during the two-week campaign. Advertisements now fill the online homepage.

Build on your email subscription strategy. "NOCO Style magazine followed up each of its social campaigns with a corresponding direct email campaign to its existing subscribers," wrote Huff. "Using the new January Spring email content curation tool, the publisher will be able to reduce the time it takes to create her email newsletters to 15 minutes."

Find new revenue sources. Here are the new sources of digital revenue that the transformation has paved the way for:

  • Email sponsorship from new and existing advertisers;
  • Website banner and tiles ads;
  • Recruitment and classified ads;
  • Dining guide;
  • Business directory;
  • Event calendar;
  • E-commerce integration for online subscriptions, merchandise, event tickets;
  • Contests sponsored by advertisers that promote reader engagement.

Provide content in as many formats as possible. The digital site perfectly complements the print magazine, providing quality search, flexibility for readers on what platform they want to engage on, and new benefits for advertisers.

Data is the tell-all. "All digital magazines must have Google Analytics installed," Huff wrote. "You learn so much about the interest and behavior of your readers when you have the ability to track their actions and from where they come." Randolph and her magazine staff can now easily see what content is most consumed. when and where it's being found and by whom. The new information helps inform the editorial calendar, social media strategy and which advertisers to approach.

The site was built with Google DoubleClick for Publishers integrated right into the content. This created new ad products for their sales team to sell. Advertisers can now sponsor sections that tie to their desired audience with these metrics. "All the content is tagged, and searchable. This gives the site an immediate [SEO] lift, because all articles can now be found on Google. And, all those archived articles make great social media posts we can use to reach new readers on Facebook and other social platforms." E-newsletters can now be dragged and dropped in minutes to build their email campaigns.

Make it easy for readers to sign on. "The new site has a subscription sign-up form front-and-center," Huff wrote. "It's tied to the e-commerce integration we did, so the whole transaction can take place right on the site. This effort produced 39 new subscribers in the first week of the launch.

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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…