Good stuff in Folio: this month, mostly centering on strategies for the web, and much of it with a B2B focus.
Tony Silber's lead article, "Ziff's Last Stand," starts off with a tale that's any magazine editor's nightmare. PR executive Steve Rubell posted a comment on Twitter, a networking web site, saying that he threw his free copy of Ziff Davis Media's PC Magazine in the trash whenever it arrived in the mail.
PC Magazine editor Jim Louderback's initial reaction was anger, of course, and he posted a response on the online PR journal Strumpette. But then he began to think about what it meant that one of the company’s top executives "had stated, in a public forum, that my magazine … was useless to him. He wasn’t even interested in seeing whether we’d covered one of his clients. Did the rest of Edelman think like Steve? Were we no better than fishwrap to the entire company?"
Rubell issued an apology on his blog, in which he clarified by saying that he does read PC Magazine online.
As the article points out,
Two things about this episode are remarkable: A senior executive of a giant PR firm says he doesn’t even read what is arguably the largest and best-known tech-oriented print magazine in the country. And second, the whole thing—from initial insult to response to apology—occurred on a Web site and two blogs—entirely online, even though it was about a big, well-established print magazine. Combined, these elements say an awful lot about the current condition of Ziff Davis Media, and indeed, all of the three major tech-publishing companies — if not the magazine-industry overall.The story takes off from there with an in-depth look at the current and future state of Ziff. A sidebar gives a glimpse of Ziff Davis' editorial strategy for succeeding online. An example, from senior vice president Mike Vizard: "We need stories that are original. We get 90 percent of our traffic on stories that can't be replicated."
… the general rule is to frequently provide specific information in as many formats as possible, including articles, blogs, columns, newsletters, reports, white papers, RSS feeds, video and audio. The amount of information is staggering and most of it is free, sponsored by advertisers.In what seems like a contrast to PC Magazine's experience, Computerworld is finding that its web site is a major generator of print subscriptions (and, therefore of data about potential print subscribers). Other products that have been successful for Computerworld include white papers; online buyers guides; e-mail newsletter (the web site offers more than 50, "some on relatively arcane topics," the article notes -- a lesson in the potential of narrowcasting?); job ads; and of course, mailing lists. "All Computerworld sites are in the business of collecting data," the articles says, and consequently "Their database of e-mail names is huge and relatively well qualified."
"Digital Magazines Take the Next Step" takes a look at how digital versions are evolving from static facsimiles of the print magazine to interactive products that can help drive print subscriptions and increase a publication's visibility on search engines. There's also mention of how digital magazine ads are changing and may even become desirable to advertisers on their own rather than just a value-add.
Other recent B2B stories in Folio: