Your Subscription Website is Not a Magazine

How every piece of content you’re already producing can be repurposed and cast into different roles

As Don likes to say, your magazine is not a website. And your website is not your magazine.

In fact, your subscription website isn’t even a website. It’s actually three websites: a portal, a magazine and a store. And the Mequoda Method, which is utilized by successful niche publishers both large and small, calls for deploying a single piece of copy across all three to maximize your unique visitors, subscribers and buyers.

Some of you may be familiar with our fun, fictitious publishing company that we use for instructional purposes, Green Gardens Network. Let’s take a look at how that single piece of content pops up behind the paywall in the May-June issue of Hidden Gardens magazine, appears as a chapter in a handbook in the Green Gardens Shoppe, and is eventually extracted into a blog post at the portal, Gardens Daily, to promote the magazine.


Subscription website marketing: Less work than you think

When we teach our quarterly Digital Publishing & Marketing Intensive, our version of subscription website marketing includes a daily blog and free reports to promote your products, and having more than just a magazine as products. Our participants start to look worried: Where will they find the resources to produce all these things?

Relax. It’s a lot easier than it sounds. The key is understanding how every piece of content you’re already producing can be repurposed and cast into different roles. And no, that’s not cheating. It’s making sure that every member of your audience can access your content in the way that works best for them. And that’s smart marketing.


At Mequoda, we call that single piece of content a minimum information unit, or MIU. The name is self-explanatory: It’s the smallest piece of content that tells a complete story.

For Green Gardens Network, the MIU is a book chapter. For today’s purposes, it’s a chapter on azalea care from The Azalea Handbook, a $47 product that founder and publisher Rose Harper has written.

And truth be told, Rose wrote the book on azaleas by compiling the articles she’d written on them over the years for Hidden Gardens. So you can start to see how this works: Articles are book chapters, or book chapters are excerpted as articles. Either way works for our purposes of publishing profitable subscription websites!

Green Gardens Network, in fact, currently has 2,600 book chapters compiled into 52 handbooks, each with 50 chapters. Those chapters are turned into magazine articles at a rate of eight per issue.

At the same time, Green Gardens Network also takes three or four chapters from every handbook and creates video from them, resulting in 26 DVDs every year. And finally, the online editor excerpts those magazine articles into blog posts to promote the magazine, publishing six of them every week.

Of course, those chapters – or articles, if you want to think of it that way – are constantly being updated and rewritten by Rose’s editorial staff, so it’s genuinely fresh content all around. Green Gardens regularly republishes the books, DVDs, articles and blog posts with that updated content.


Stocking up on content for subscription websites

So let’s look at the different websites I talked about up front.

Subscription websites: Magazine

Green Gardens has a subscription website for Hidden Gardens, where the latest article on azalea care, excerpted from The Azalea Handbook, resides.

Subscription websites: Portal

Being good Mequoda Method followers, Green Gardens has its online editor review this article in their blog at the Green Gardens portal, Gardens Daily, and include links to subscribe to Hidden Gardens (Gain instant access to the complete article!).

(Special note: This blog post also doubles as an email newsletter to subscribers. Providing real content in your free newsletter is Rule #1 for subscription website marketing!)

Subscription websites: Store

But back to the subscription websites: Remember that because this piece of content was originally a book chapter, it’s not only available on the Hidden Gardens website as an article in the March-April issue, it’s also hanging out over at the Green Gardens Shoppe as a chapter in The Azalea Handbook. And eventually it will be packaged with several other chapters into an azalea care DVD, also available at the store. Finally, Green Gardens fans can buy a single issue of Hidden Gardens at the store, if that’s what they prefer.

Finally, Green Gardens fans can buy a single issue of Hidden Gardens at the store, if that’s what they prefer.

What’s not to like? Green Gardens Network is maximizing its resources (Rose isn’t made of money, after all) and its content inventory. At the same time, the company is providing its audience with multiple ways to access its rich content. We like to think that any niche publisher can succeed using the Mequoda Method. If you’re one of them, let us know!



    Thank you, Lee. I agree this is exciting stuff, especially for those of us who started our careers when content consisted of words on a printed page, the end.

    We at Mequoda hope that all publishers can figure out multiple ways to monetize their content. Money, trees, etc. etc …


    Thank you for the great article, Mary.

    I think most people would agree that ultimately, content is king. Yet where things get really interesting, is how content can also wear many hats.

    We can thank technology for this, as it has created a rich environment where paid content – in all its forms – can be easily consumed. No longer are we at the mercy of the humble desktop computer or the town library and bookstore for our information. Now we have smart-phones, tablets and e-readers.

    These changes make for exciting times. And finding new, fresh ways to repurpose content (or get content to wear many hats), is a big part of that.




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