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Strategies for small publishers batted around at ABM Top Management Meeting

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Chicago—Smaller publishers Monday discussed how to drive traffic to their Web sites during the opening session of American Business Media’s Top Management Meeting.

“You have to find a reader need and do something [online] that no one has done before in order to fulfill it,” said Robin Ashton, president of Gill Ashton Publishing, which publishes the monthly Foodservice Equipment Reports. “Don’t just have your [online companion] be a quicker version of your print product. … The Web site should do things the print side can’t.”

Ashton’s company this year added a biweekly e-mail newsletter that features three separate news sections as well as a link to regulatory and certification issues that are critical to national food chains. “You have to create content that will appeal to advertisers and prospects outside of your circulation base,” he said, adding that three separate advertisers sponsor each section.

With the various changes, Gill Ashton Publishing has been able to increase online revenue more than $35,000 this year.

Humphrey Tyler, president-CEO of NTP Media, has been able to enhance the Web site for his CM Cleanfax magazine, which covers the vacuuming industry, by introducing “The Great Debate.” The point-counterpoint article is teased in print, with the entire debate appearing online. Advertisers sponsor each debate at $3,000 a month. The site cost $3,000 to build “so it’s already paid for itself,” Tyler said, adding that the article is a “marriage between print and the Web that engages the audience.”

—Matthew Schwartz

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