Big Ideas for Small Publishers

Niche Key Question: What are the latest publisher revenue ideas and how can you get on board? What’s the next big thing YOU should be doing to stay ahead in this crazy niche publishing world?

We interviewed Christopher Lester (Founder, [C4ward] Strategies and former VP at Emma). Below he shares a few of his insights into why niche will always beat the Big Guys, what to focus on for quick wins, and the future of Niche.

Sometimes we need reminding – why will Niche publishing always beat the Big Guys?

Christopher: “The first thing to remember is that the “Big Guys” actually want to be more like you . . . don’t lose sight of that.

We see it everywhere – big brands trying to feel small, connected and relevant. That’s the power Niche publishers naturally have. You actually are small, connected, relevant, and I’m going to humbly add nimble.

In a world where everyone is connected, a shift has happened. A shift where connections are now the vehicle, not the end-game.  

As consumers, we want more. We want community. We want to belong. We want to be part of like-minded people . . . the modern day family.

Some big brands have figured that out – hello Coca-Cola with your name on the bottle game. We see you.

Newsflash! Niche publishers do that every day, in a real and tangible way. We curate an audience, and provide them access to the things that mean the most to them. That my friends (and Coca-Cola) is the power of being at the center of like-minded people.”

What is one big idea for niche publishers to focus on right now? Why?

Christopher: “Think big and act small. Does that make sense?

I mean by the very nature of what you do you’re small . . . and in that lies your strength. You know your “people,” you ARE your “people. “

Use technology to your advantage. Craft the most customer-centric and personal experience imaginable. Speak to me . . . I know you’re speaking to many but make it feel one-to-one. Pay attention to what I do, what I share, and what I can’t stop reading. Use the tools you have access to and then make me feel special – I mean seriously, who doesn’t want to feel special?

Your audience has raised their hand, and some of them are shouting. Those who are jumping up-and-down deserve more, give it to them. They’ll bring more people like them on board.

Those who are still in their seats or maybe lightly clapping need more education, give it to them. Learn how to listen (digitally) so that everyone in your sphere gets what they need.  That is the party I am always going to attend.”

What does your crystal ball (and keen intuition) tell you about 2019 revenue trends to watch?

Christopher: “If I had a crystal ball, I might point it in a different direction – I’m dying to know if I’ll see a Mars landing in my lifetime.

That aside, I’d say micro-conversions.

Sometimes we’re so focused on the end-game that we forget the leading indicators. More importantly, we forget to listen to everything the leading indicators are telling us.

Leading vs. lagging indicators is my party conversation of choice right now . . . I’ve quickly learned I’m the only one.

You want a better body – don’t focus on your weight, get up every day and show up at the gym. You want to close more deals – don’t track contracts. Instead, count how many meaningful connections you’re making. Want more subscriptions? Don’t count those, count engagement.

Here’s the thing. Micro-conversions tell us so much. They tell us where we’re winning vs. where we might need a little help. They tell us what matters vs. what we want to matter. They tell us to slow down and catch a breath vs. run the hell out of the race.

That’s what I love about them, they don’t define success. They define success right now, and the path forward. They define how well what we’re doing is working. They’re our compass, our Sherpa, our guide. They’re the one thing we all have in our tool belt that we rarely pull out . . . they’re our pre-Ikea Allen Wrench.”


Editor’s note: Keynote speaker Christopher Lester will be leading the session, Niche Rules! 5 Hot Revenue Trends Ahead! at the Super Niche Media Event in Nashville, March 18-20, 2019.



More about Christopher: Christopher is the founder of C4ward Strategies in Nashville, TN, where he helps companies align their brand experience throughout the sales process. He’s passionate about the consumer and crafting marketing that feels more human. He’s a lover of the underdog, hot dogs, and a sweet dog named Olive.

Christopher spent the last decade geeking out on all things digital. He worked with brands like Mario Batali, Garden & Gun, Atlanta Falcons, Nashville Predators and The YMCA to tell their story in the digital space and deliver emails that people want to read. He also served as the Vice President of Sales at Emma Email Marketing, and was responsible for strategic brand growth, new customer acquisition and in-market development.


Niche Media has the best events, education, and training in media! Our super niched-out events & content give target-audience publishers in the B2C, hobbyist, B2B, city & regional, and association markets the tools they need to build revenue, audience, and more.