MagNet Recap: Tips for Circulators and Marketers

By Hannah Trumper, Acting Consumer Marketing Manager, Azure

MagNet is a place for magazine professionals to connect and learn. When I entered the magazine industry in 2011, attending MagNet and other Magazines Canada seminars introduced me to best practices and key leaders who taught me how to thrive in this ever-evolving industry. For circulators and marketers it’s important for us to hunt for fresh ideas, and hear about the experiences of our colleagues. MagNet provides that opportunity to reflect, think big-picture and brainstorm about the industry and how it will successfully move forward. Our team always leaves inspired—with tips and tricks, big and small—ready to tackle the challenges (and victories!) ahead. Without MagNet, it is unlikely that many of us busy small publishers would connect and share ideas freely. MagNet is an important event that aims to help the industry as a whole move forward and discover new ideas for monetization. For a circulator at a small Canadian publication, it’s a can’t-miss event.

MagNet has a long-term impact on its attendees.

This year, the standouts to me were seminars that highlighted digital editions and audience development, plus the ever-complex topics of SEO and CASL rules and regulations. While it is impossible to drill down every detail into a 90-minute seminar, there were many points of interest that were brought back to my team, and further researched. MagNet has a long-term impact on its attendees; I often find myself thinking back to something I heard in a seminar, or discussed with a colleague, and it helps propel us forward.

Session: Canadian Living: Digital Audience Journey

Through cheeky humour and impressive “audience reach” numbers, Chris Purcell confirmed what we were all thinking: 1. You can’t monetize social media reach (not easily anyways); and 2. Sponsored content, product placement and paid events are the best ways to bring in revenue.

Chris shared some interesting data showing a shift in advertising spending from print to digital, the benefits of running audience specific newsletters, and how random viral video posts can results in jaw-dropping view counts.

He concluded with the ever “optimistic” summary of digital subscriptions for the magazine:

1. No increase—keeping steady. Is the market saturated already?
2. Not changing any presence in digital edition providers simply because “We can’t not be there”—to quote Chris.

No surprises there anyways. It does help to keep your head up when you realize all your colleagues—big and small names—are going through the same hurdles.

Session: Digital Editions for Small Mags

Jessica Ross thoughtfully presented her experiences with digital editions and the multitude of options available. She defined the various types of editions and explained the intensive work involved in creating and marketing successful digital editions. Her points about utilizing push notifications, location-based marketing and social media are tools that we will integrate in our marketing efforts.

Digital editions that feature enhanced content (photos, videos, behind the scenes) are more likely to have active readers and superfans. In the digital world, Jessica estimated that apps only have a retention rate of 4%. We have to market constantly and consistently to keep eyeballs on our great content.

Session: SEO Publisher Roadmap in 90 Minutes

The concept of SEO can be extremely overwhelming. Where do you even start? Jessica Bowman cheerfully and matter-of-factly explained the very basic steps to take right now to optimize a site for higher-ranking search results.

Jessica rightly noted that everyone on your team who touches your website has a role to play in SEO. The writers have to think with meta descriptions and keywords already in mind, the design team have to select images that load quickly, the developer has to be sure that all the pagination and links are accurate and descriptive, and marketers have to be sure that we promote the content and watch for traffic trends.

I learned that a few of the tricks I have been using to track link response was actually hurting traffic to the site, Jessica suggested a few alternative options that I will implement going forward. I found this seminar particularly helpful, it could have even been a full day workshop, as there were many takeaways.

Session: Emailing Marketing in the Age of CASL: Making the Most of Your Magazine’s Subscription Acquisition Strategies

Another daunting topic: CASL. It’s a complex, confusing and possibly costly piece of legislation. Derek Lackey, an expert who was actually consulted before CASL was written into law, really understands the ins and outs of the legislation, and used his seminar to answer the many questions of attendees.

Derek’s straightforward definitions were helpful in easing some of the confusion surrounding the topic for all attendees. This was another seminar that could have been a longer workshop session to really drill down on individual concerns. There was some talk of the bigger companies who have recently received CASL fines, and while this is a scary prospect, Derek’s aim was to quell these fears and give small publishers real solutions to grow our subscriber lists without breaking the law. Rule 1: never purchase a list!


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