The Data Trap: How to Stop Worrying and Sell Content

Data, data, it’s all about the data. Or is it?  We are here to tell you that chasing data could be a waste of your valuable time.

Think about it–does all that data really matter in the niche world of targeted, hyper interested audiences? Sure data analysis is necessary, but without first creating strong content and the right context, it can be pretty meaningless.

We consulted Gerrit Klein, CEO of Ebner Ulm Publishing about this concept. He is firmly in the “data with context” camp. Below he shares his insights on how general interest media has trained advertisers to think data-based advertising is the holy grail.

In reality, niche publishers can sell and grow their business based on targeted audiences and focused content.

General interest media is training advertisers to believe in murky analytics. Can you tell us more about that? What gives niche publishers the advantage?

Gerrit: “The simple fact that we deal with clearly definable target audiences gives us an enormous advantage. Our content is not consumable for everyone, but only for really interested people. General interest media has to attempt to picture its users. We know them, because our content is so targeted that no outsider would be interested. The most evident proof of someone’s interest in a special topic is the fact that he is spending his time reading about it. Contextual relevance is a far better glue than a plethora of data.”

What advice can you give niche publishers on training their advertisers?

Gerrit: “We all have to emphasize again and again the very specific use case for the information we deliver. That something so specific is only used if someone really is into that topic. Of course that is never the appropriate environment for a Coca-Cola ad. But a firefighter’s magazine is the perfect environment for ads about firefighter’s equipment. You don’t need data to prove that.”

Can you share a couple of revenue success stories that prove publishers don’t have to solely rely on the data game?

Gerrit: “We organize Europe’s biggest event for guitarists. There is no need to explain to the exhibitors who will visit this Guitar Summit – no one except a guitarist would care to spend one or two days there. The event generated half a million Euros from the very beginning. We never issued a single data point. The same is true for our highly specialized niche magazines and portals: if you want to reach stone masons in Germany you can use our magazine or portal – no one except an expert would spend a single minute to consume this extremely niched content. We don’t need data to prove this, just taking a look is proof enough. And both – magazine and portal – are highly profitable.”

Editor’s note: Gerrit will be a keynote speaker at the Super Niche Event in Nashville, March 18-20, 2019. 



More about Gerrit: Gerrit Klein is the CEO of the Ebner Ulm Publishing Group – an ecommerce, service and content company for niche audiences, headquartered in Germany. Previously, he spent 5 years as Managing Director with Vogel Business Media, a B2B publisher for the machine building and automotive industries. Before that he ran the technical magazines division of Deutscher Fachverlag, a B2B publisher for trade and the food industry.


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