The 40 still active, longest running, continuously published U.S. magazines. (Click to enlarge).
You can turn your passion into profit through publishing even if your interest does not reach a large audience.
Proof of the pudding? Consider these three facts :
#1: The magazine industry is troubled, losing advertisers to the Internet.
#2: Of the 10,000 magazines on the U.S. market, it is estimated that fewer than 100 date back 100 years. Many that do date back, like Vanity Fair, have not been continuously published.
#3: Since 1980, the number of competitive bowlers in America has plummeted from almost nine million to about two million.
Despite these facts, “Bowlers Journal” recently celebrated its 100th year of continuous publication by publishing a 300-page commemorative edition.
There are lessons in this success. The first lesson is to use publishing as the product or to market your product or service through publishing.
A really key lesson is be involved in a pinnacle business that attracts like minded souls with a common interest. Stick to that common interest. Bowlers Journal has succeeded when most bowling magazines have gone bust because it knows its readers. The big days (the ’60s into the ’80s) of bowling journalism are gone. During that time major newspapers employed full-time bowling correspondents. Bowling was featured on TV. Then bowling dimmed as a popular sport. The magazine’s circulation however remains at around 20,000, the same as when bowling was most popular.
This success is due to the magazine’s focus on serious bowlers who own their shoes, whose balls are custom drilled and whose leagues play one or more nights a week more than half the year.
The third lesson is monetize your business from the beginning. Bowlers Journal convinced Brunswick, a major bowling supplier, to buy the magazine’s back page ad for its first publication in 1913. Brunswick has kept that advertising position for the entire 100 years. Brunswick’s ads have changed a bit. The first ad claimed “Bowlers do not get appendicitis” and stressed the health benefits of bowling. They send a different message today, but for 100 years they have sent Bowlers Journal a more important message called income.
In this month’s (October 2014) issue, the magazine offered bowling advice to college freshmen. The same advice can be applied to self publishing. “Study hard, think positive and avoid excessive curve on the ball. You do not have to hook it that much.”
In other words, use the 7 Ps, (2) focus on your customer, the like minded soul and offer a profitably priced product based around your common interest.