There is no doubt the proposed USPS rate increases will impact costs associated with publishers’ print distribution. Postage prices will be above the inflation-based price cap to generate $2 billion in revenue in 2014. The rate increase is actually proposed at this time and it has been submitted in two parts – the annual increase, which is tied to the rolling consumer price index, and a one-time increase based on the financial effects of the recession. The one-time increase is termed as the exigent increase. Together the increases total almost 6%.
Following are a few scenarios of what this looks like in dollars for journal and magazine publishers:
While publishers brace for the impending increase, there are strategies to consider now that could aid in opening new revenue streams to offset a portion of costs. We work closely with publishers to strategize fulfillment and distribution channels and provide the best ROI for every postal dollar spent. Following are four additional options to consider and explore:
1. Increase advertising sales on your digital edition(s) and website.
- Sell a “main” sponsorship to one advertiser. That banner ad would appear on every page of the digital edition.
- Send an email out to your members letting them know the latest issue is available. In that email, you could say something like “This month’s digital edition is brought to you by….” then have another (or the same) advertiser’s banner advertisement. VENDORS WILL PAY FOR THIS!
- Revenue gained from this will vary, but even a very small publication can generate $500 to $1,000 per issue. Larger organizations with more email addresses and digital edition views could see several thousand dollars per issue.
- Despite what you may think (or what they tell you), advertisers no longer expect to receive free online advertising. By giving it to them, you are devaluing your website. Don’t be afraid to charge for these spots. And just think, if the advertiser is upset that they now have to pay, it shows that they too see value in the site. If they didn’t, it wouldn’t matter to them if they were on there or not.
- Again, revenue gained from this will vary. Feel free to offer weekly, monthly, quarterly or annual rates to tap into any size budget. Every little bit of extra revenue will help.
2. Consider working with a list broker.
- This may not be an option for your organization because of your promise not to sell your members’ information, and understandably so. However, there are a lot of good reputable brokers out there who will work under YOUR rules. You could “sell” the list, but still control what is distributed and how it reaches your members. This could result in several thousand dollars of additional revenue.
3. Take a look at your advertising/editorial ratios and make sure you understand how it affects your postal rates.
4. Leverage the existing brand of your publication by considering the creation of small intimate events (which could be sponsored) or an awards program.
Your advertisers and readers will pay entry fees to be recognized as the “best as” in their field. A $50 to $100 entry fee is nominal, but if you receive 100 entries (depends on the number of categories you offer), there is $5,000 to $10,000 in additional revenue for you. Yes, there are some expenses related to this (staff time, certificates, promotion, etc.), but the payoff is worth it.