Audience Development: Transform Passive Readers into Active Customers!

Boost your revenues with brand products.

How do niche publishers transform their passive audience readership into an active customer base and increase revenues exponentially at the same time?

No, it’s not a trick question.

Publishers used to gain readership through their high-quality content and then redirect the audience to advertisers. Now publishers are finding ways to  “own” each layer of the audience relationship. They are taking advantage of the big opportunities to develop new revenue streams by selling brand products.

We asked brand builder and visionary Jay Acunzo to share two real-world examples of media companies who made the shift and are seeing results:

The first is Mattermark. This was started as a blog and email newsletter about the venture capital industry. The woman who launched it, Danielle Morrill, had aspirations to be the “Gossip Girl” of the industry, especially in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. She began blogging and sending a daily newsletter, sharing her research on tech startup companies to better inform her audience’s decision-making as investors.

But she noticed people kept asking for more specific data — did she have this or that, and would she share X or Y? By listening to this audience and seeing the steps they needed to complete to do their jobs, she realized, she could charge for a sortable spreadsheet of data. Taking that one step further, funded by the initial sales, she brought in a developer to code the spreadsheet and make a sortable database. She then kept going: The tech itself had created value, not just the database, so she could package that into a software product and license it on a monthly basis.

Today, they’re a well-funded, well-known software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform, and their newsletter is among the most widely-read sources that VCs use to get their daily information, right up there with the Wall Street Journal and Fortune.

The second example is Price Intelligently. The founder, Patrick Campbell, an ex-Google colleague of mine, is an expert in economics and pricing. He noticed most people price products using gut feel or competitor ranges. Parick decided to write weekly essays to educate others. He’d do “tear-downs” of large company pricing pages and offer advice for how to send more effective customer surveys and so forth. Based on that blog’s success, he wrote an ebook around the same topic. But he offered it for free! He didn’t yet try to monetize and extract value. He kept removing steps in his audience’s problem-solving “stack.”

After the ebook, Patrick launched a consulting arm to make money. He hired a small staff, and together they began to work 1:1 with clients who wanted to optimize their pricing. They built out an early, rough version of a tech product to help with the consulting which continued to evolve into a full-blown analytics report. Patrick listened to his audience further and noticed the trickiest pricing challenges came from SaaS companies (like Mattermark), so he pivoted: Rather than sell ad space or his time, he now sells the analytics product. From the website, you’d barely recognize that company started by publishing longform essays and an ebook!”

It’s a new year and a great time to develop strategies to take your media business to the next level. What new ways are you going to boost your magazine’s revenues in 2017? Share with us!



jay acunzo More about Jay:  Jay Acunzo is the world’s most passionate craft-driven marketer and a highly sought after keynote speaker. Jay helps early-stage startups gain initial traction as the VP of Platform at NextView Ventures, a Boston-based venture capital firm. When he’s not helping one of the firm’s five-dozen tech companies, he’s hosting two award-winning podcasts and traveling the world inspiring others to create marketing that doesn’t suck.



Niche Media has created super niched-out events specifically for magazine publishers for over 12 years. We’ve helped pave the way for the era of boutique events that connect specific audiences and provide great educational, friendly and super-fun environments! Check out the all new Super Niche, March 27-29, 2017!

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