We had a big day at Agility on November 7th. First, we officially announced the launch of the Magazine Suite – a CMS tailored specifically for the magazine industry. Secondly, we celebrated! With the theme of magazines top of mind, industry folks gathered at Agility and Unbound Media HQ for the second in our series of Get Digital events. Last go around we chatted with some of Canada’s most well known publications – from Chatelaine to Toronto Life. This time, we decided we’d drill down to the niche side of things.
Our panel guests included:
Rob Engman – President – TAPS Media
Sue Haas – Digital Director – Cottage Life Media Inc.
Haley Mlotek – Publisher – WORN Fashion Journal
Kimberley Seldon – Editor In Chief – Dabble
Moderated by Agility CEO and Co-Founder Michael Assad, the group dug into an engaging discussion about what it means to be a publisher of a niche brand in these digital times.
Haley Mlotek spoke strongly of WORN’s highly dedicated audience. Their followers are so committed to this non-traditional, indie, fashion title that they donated dollars to help elevate the brand’s status from a saddle-stitched read to a (soon to launch) fancy and perfect bound version. All this was driven through an Indiegogo campaign that blew the WORN team away – exceeding their expectations in audience support. A fine example of how to involve the readership beyond polls and ‘likes’. And it’s not just the WORN followers who are dedicated, this low-budget brand is made possible by the good work of a roster of volunteers whose passions for fashion are worth their time.
Design guru and Dabble Editor-in-Chief, Kimberley Seldon had us laughing more than once. Her candid and realistic views surrounding the digital-only lifestyle publication were refreshing. Would she like to publish more issues? Of course. Would she like to work with bigger budgets? Yes. Would she appreciate someone telling her the secret of reporting millions of impressions to advertisers? Absolutely. Her comments on the importance of current pop culture in content reminded us that any reference to Gilligan’s Island might be a red flag.
Nicknamed the ‘richest on the panel’ was Cottage Life’s Sue Haas. Although she admitted that her brand may have bigger budgets than her fellow guests – her team was surprisingly small, stretched thin and yes – working with limited dollars. When asked if she imagined Cottage Life as a digital only version she confidentially remarked that the print version isn’t going away anytime soon – explaining the importance of reader per copy and familiarity with this cozy, lakeside, coffee table favourite.
TAPS President Rob Engman was keen to share his side of things – and of course, he enjoyed a beer during the session. His highly targeted magazine is a big deal for the craft brew industry and for beer fans alike. He knows now that the printed version is still of value to his audience but is realistic that the future may drive things completely online. On the topic of contributors, Rob shared that some are simply keen enough to share their love of good, home-cooked brew, that they’ll do it just for exposure and brand association.
Speaking of beer, a shout-out to our friends over at Steamwhistle for loading us up with their tasty pilsner and to Union Wines, which paired ever so perfectly with Cheesewerks decadent array of artisan cheeses and highly addictive crostini. Cheesewerks owner, Kevin Durkee balanced out the download of magazine talk with some tips on cheese eating etiquette. I had no idea that you’re not suppose to chew cheese. You’re supposed to let it melt in your mouth like a candy. Now that’s food for thought.
Thanks to all who made it out despite the fact that the new James Bond media premiere was happening at the same time.
Stay tuned for info on Get Digital 3 next year.