Tell us how it all started. Why? What’s the story?
Well, I was approached by a friend who at the time owned the Dover Women's Journal, to advertise in her journal for my mortgage business. I was hesitant, but after her reassurances I agreed to a one year contract for 6 issues. After 3 issues I was so blown away by the quality of the business generated, I asked her if I could purchase her journal. Well, long story short, my partners and I now own the Kent County Women's Journal, and are in the process of starting 3 more on the eastern shore of Maryland.
What is your biggest success so far?
When we bought the journal it was 84 pages and only 9 local advertising. It was also know as an old women's medical journal with over 50% of the content being medically related. We sent out to change that and after only 8 short months we now have 20% medical, and 100% local advertising at 52 pages. This next issue we will be up to 60 pages.
What is the biggest challenge in your industry? What are you doing to deal with that?
The perception in business is that print advertising is dying, and for the most part it is accurate. We looked closely at what we offered our contributors and made some bold decisions. Firstly, we launched a website and as a contributor in our journal, you do not pay extra for that presence. Secondly, we launched an aggressive social media campaign to put our contributors in front of middle to upper income middle aged women. We post to Pinterest, Facebook and twitter, as well as developing video for our branded YouTube channel. Thirdly, we have added a downloadable iPad version and hope to soon have it available for all tablets. It is readable online currently as well.
What advice would you give to a business owner starting out in your industry that you wish you would have known going in?
For all business verticals, not just publishing, it is critical to establish a strong marketing strategy, not just an advertising strategy. Advertising is a little too passion, complete marketing strategies include all aspects of marketing from social media, print, close contact networking, and branding.
What don't most people realize about you or your company?
We are a publisher, not just a printer of the Kent County Women's Journal. I am drawing near to the end of my doctorate in business, my research is into small and micro business marketing strategies. We as a company have really come a long way in an industry we had no experience in and I can attribute the success to our knowledge of marketing and people.