Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Why sky works: the launch process

This week I launched my third 'White Issue' since becoming the publisher in 2012.  I call it the ‘White Issue’ but it really just means Winter. It’s not ‘holiday’ because it spans December - March.

SKY does not have issues that espouse to contain the ‘best of the best’, or the ‘top this or that’; SKY is about good things from issue to issue, and the people who make them happen.  Every single issue is special, and every single square inch of content is like a jewel to me, whether it is an advertisement, a sponsored feature, or an editorial story.

The White Issue has special significance for me personally as it is an anniversary of sorts because this is where I began this journey into the magazine and marketing industry after leaving a 20 year career as a corporate planner and strategic communicator.

In order to provide good and inspiring editorial content, there has to be a strong value proposition for businesses to want to advertise in SKY.  In my research over the past three years, I have looked at what the big magazines are saying about this industry and their competitive response.  

In the magazine business, as in all business, it’s really an elephant and mouse situation.  There are advantages to being large (elephants), including more resources to invest in the business. By contrast, small businesses (mice) tend not to have resources at hand readily to invest in growth.  Elephants have a large infrastructure to move and may not be too nimble. Mice can be more nimble - if they see the opportunity and can organize efficiently and effectively in order to change the business on the run.

In the magazine business, it is generally felt that to be valuable to our clients - the advertiser - we need to provide good editorial content, high quality, beautiful pages, and be their marketing company, not just their advertiser.  

Over the years, I have been working to change SKY from a traditional print quarterly focused on advertising content only to a hybrid that combines print and digital mediums with a goal to increase my clients’ visibility.

Entering its third year in business under yours truly, SKY Magazine is now a quarterly publication that includes high quality, intelligent and targeted advertising content as well as editorial content with a marketing add-on.

Over the past three years,  SKY Magazine has grown to include a website and online magazine, Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Linkedin.  SKY is also posted on issue.com, which has great options including downloading to digital devices, or clipping and sharing. We have an affiliation with Metro Living Zine in Vancouver, which not only increases opportunity for everyone on the pages of SKY, it can attract larger advertisers and ultimately assist in the expansion of the magazine. 

To be nimble, the key is to be well organized and be able to leverage the tools of this trade to communicate effectively. And I love to communicate. It’s really like breathing to me.

We print 32,000 copies of SKY.  While it is on the press, SKY is launched digitally. Soon thereafter Canada Post begins distribution of some 30,000 copies to high income homes in Regina,Saskatoon, Lumsden, Craven, Moose Jaw, Estevan and Weyburn.  I distribute up to 2,000 magazines to businesses featured on the pages of SKY Magazine as well as to subscribers.  

Here’s what my day looks like on launch day. 
1.  All social media sites are updated with new favicons and new imagery in the following order: 
  • Website 
  • Issuu.com
  • Tumblr 
  • Twitter 
  • Instagram
  • Pintertest 
  • Facebook 
  • Email 
  • Blog 
2.  Magazines are hand delivered (by me) to each of the businesses featured in the magazine.  After each delivery, I post their business and advertisement directly on Instagram, which is then uploaded to Facebook and Twitter.  To be honest, I love to see their reaction and it gives me a chance to chat further about their business and opportunities for marketing their business. 

3. Once all the issues are delivered to those featured or advertising on the pages of SKY, their content and other additional content is uploaded to myskymag.com, which is shared regularly through our social media sites. 

4. Throughout the quarter, I monitor social media and re-post my client’s posts. I also post additional content, including new products and services that my clients are offering, attend their events and post images and promote them at every chance. I do not charge for this service. 

SKY works for my clients because I work for them, personally.  I get to know their business, use their products and services, wear the clothes they sell, eat their food, wear their makeup, attend and sponsor their events, and rock their shoes and accessories.

I get to know their industries and their concerns, and I am always thinking about strategy as to how I can help elevate their awareness in the market place.  SKY is my passion and my love, but my clients are the reason I am here.  I believe in them or they wouldn’t be on my pages. 

So launching a new magazine is not the end of a process, it is the beginning and an opportunity to promote the people and businesses on my pages because I believe in them.