Where does innovation come from?

A lot of people I know work in publishing, and it’s inevitable that when we get together, we discuss our jobs and our magazines. A lot of my friends have some really good ideas—ideas about new supplements, ideas to utilize their Web sites, create videos, do trade show coverage at their magazine’s booth, etc. But it never seems that those ideas get implemented at their publications. The reason: It won’t garner any additional revenue, and as editors, we are not really trained to put a dollar amount on our audience growing and perhaps attracting new advertisers.

A lot of time, new initiatives come, only half fleshed out, from the advertising sales department, in response to something an advertiser would like to see to purchase an ad against.

This is counterintuitive to the way the process should work. After all, magazines without an audience wouldn’t exist. So how does an editor learn to monetize his/her idea?

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As an editor myself, monetizing my creative ideas has never been a strong suit. But increasingly it seems that audiences are demanding more things for free. Podcasts, blogs, Internet videos, and Webinars are all available for free. It seems that a publication needs give away at least some free content just to keep up.

I do think you can monetize the right idea. My company started offering Webinars and charging money for them. I was pretty skeptical about this because there are already so many free Webinars out there. But it turned out to be rather lucrative in some cases.

Monetizing new initiatives usually means taking risks and failing sometimes. Refusing to do this is where I think most publications falter.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : October 15, 2008 at 7:25 PM
That's an interesting take on this, Steve, about offering free content, but I think you're absolutely right. There are so many Web sites out there that offer information for free, how does a publication keep up and still make enough to provide the quality its readers have come to expect?
# posted by Blogger Nikki Golden : October 17, 2008 at 1:50 PM
Hi Nikki:

Sometimes, the problem is that editors don't think qualitatively and quantitatively when proposing a promising idea.

Every publishing plan needs a dollars and cents section. What amount needs to be budgeted for the proposal? What are the expenses involved? What profit is possible in the immediate future?

Sometimes . . . the numbers, if they are good enough, help swing an idea.


Howard Rauch
Editorial Solutions, Inc.
# posted by Anonymous Anonymous : October 20, 2008 at 12:56 PM
I think you've absolutely defined the issue, Howard. I'm not sure that editors think strategically in terms of dollars and cents, and I think there is a lack of training for them to be able to gain that knowledge.
# posted by Blogger Nikki Golden : October 21, 2008 at 12:10 PM
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