In a moment we’ll share a video so powerful with positivity that it brought tears to my eyes and this is why Merri and I are so delighted to be involved with positive community magazines. There is so much negativity in mainstream media and yet the world really is a pretty positive place. There is so much good going on that we all miss as this video will show.
We believe in positivity and small towns… small communities where we can see and understand what’s going on and where we can really make a beneficial difference.
Due to this fact, we conduct our courses in small positive communities. Readers tell us we would have more delegates if we held our seminars in big cities. Yet wouldn’t it be silly looking at how to make the world and profits better in small towns in a giant conference hall? Sort of like serving Big Macs at a weight loss seminar.
This meeting hall… an American legion post sits on a like a couple miles from our home and is surrounded by nature and has picnic tables on Perla Lake.
Here are a few of the questions new publishers asked Dave Johnson who created this concept and publishes the two model magazines that the Positive Community Magazine program is based up. The answers may help you understand if a positive community magazine works for you.
Q: What size circulation does a model magazine have?
A: In the US, we have learned the optimal sizing to get the optimal print pricing so we can charge advertising rates that really allows small businesses to profit. The sweet spot is normally in the 3,000 copy range.
Q: Is it free?
Yes, we show the price as priceless. It is free which is one of the main reasons it works. People aren’t going to pay for something the can get for free on the Internet which is why the traditional magazine model isn’t working any more. But, when you give them something they can’t get on the Internet, that is hyper-local, positive, upbeat and supports the community for free, you get a huge following fast (our is almost cult-like in a good way). We have a competitor in our very small town who is trying to charge for their magazine and they are failing there and on so many levels… they will be out of business soon. Sadly for them, they had much deeper pockets, a bigger staff and many more resources than we had, but they missed the boat where the REAL opportunity is concerned.
Q: How long did it take you to start seeing that it could and would work?
Because of my background and my “faith” in the model, I knew it would work from the minute I started. That said, for us, it had to work. We had just been involved in a frivolous law suit and lost everything defending ourselves. And when I say everything, I mean everything. We started the magazine in the hole (financially) and we had to “sink or swim” with the option, if it didn’t work, of being homeless and that really wasn’t an option.
Q: Did you start out with one “mission statement” and then either tailor or change it when you saw what did/didn’t work?
This is our mission statement and has been from the very beginning. It is easily tailored for any location.
We have two other things that we consider part of our business philosophy.
Asheboro Magazine is positive, upbeat community publications dedicated to representing, encouraging and celebrating the great area we call home by focusing on the lifestyles, talents, gifts and contributions of the people who live and work here. Our goal is to provide readers with the most informative and professional community publication in the state of North Carolina. Because the editorial content is of a hyper-local nature, it is relevant to everyone that resides in Asheboro and Randolph County and thus, is read cover-to-cover.
1. Be easy to do business with (find reasons to say yes rather than saying no).
2. Treat everyone with mutual respect.
Q: What start up capital should be considered?
A: The system is designed to fund itself. That is, you sell the amount of advertising needed to cover the costs from the very beginning. Of course we already had computers, etc. and we did spend a little money on business cards, media kits and a Chamber of Commerce membership. Our system is designed to literally start with an absolute minimum.
So, the short answer is, this can be done with as little as the cost of business cards and media kits or as much as whatever amount you feel you need to invest. Our goal is to have you “in the black” from the first issue forward.
Q: Why is the profit in the print (and not online)?
A: This is a great question and having worked for a top 200 Internet Site (Cars.com) my co-workers thought I was nuts to quit working for an up and coming Internet company to get back in to print. The truth of the matter is, two media types are growing while the rest are dying. The Internet and niche magazines (specifically hyper-local, positive community magazines) are growing. The internet is so fragmented that the amount of time and money needed to market a similar website would not be cost effective. That said, there is a strong Internet component to this program, an electronic page-turner version of the magazine and social media when combined capitalizes on the power of the two growing medias.
Q: How can you stand out from the competition if there are other “local” magazines/directories in the area?
A: There will always be competition, if not in the beginning shortly after you start. It took our local newspaper 16 months to figure out that we were taking revenue from them to the point where they started their own magazine. Everyone in town was afraid for us because they are owned by a huge media company. I wasn’t concerned at all because I knew that they could never operate a magazine the way we were and be profitable enough to make it worthwhile. They were very aggressive in the beginning and even took a huge loss to undercut our rates. We had signed most of our clients to multiple-month contracts and, because of who we are, had created loyalty among them so that even though they could get advertising a little cheaper, they opted to stay with us anyhow. Without getting into the details (it would take many pages) our competitive advantage is the system.
We’ve looked at the traditional magazine publishing business under a microscope, dissected it and built a “smarter” system from the ground up. In other words, you will stand out from the competition without even having to try.
Q: How quickly can I expand my circulation?
A: As far as having a big circulation, while a great thought, it should be done with multiple magazines as opposed to one publication. The reason this program is successful is because the traditional magazine model is not sustainable. Big circulations require high rates that advertisers cannot afford. Even in a good sized city if a magazines covers the entire city… advertisers in one part of the city may be paying to reach readers in parts that are so geographically remote that they will never do business with the advertiser. Its better to have four small circulation magazines (north south east and west for example) than one big circulation magazine.
We spend a lot of time in the program discussing the difference between the two. And, I always encourage people to learn to walk before they run and stay small. These are small positive community magazines for small communities!