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How to Create “Special Collections” in a Web Library that Attract and Retain More Subscribers

The best way to bring people back to your web magazine is through curated special collections. Here’s how one publisher is doing it well.

When walking in to a massive library or bookstore, it’s hard to decide what to look at without becoming instantly overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The same goes for an online web library for your magazine or newsletter, and if you aren’t effectively capturing subscribers’ attention regularly, renewal rates can slip. Reminding them of what they have access to on a regular basis can increase engagement, especially if you curate the content for them.

One of the ways our clients are effectively engaging their web library subscribers, as well as attracting new subscribers is by creating “special collections” of curated content.

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One such client is the Biblical Archaeology Society. They publish the BAS Library, which includes over 7,000 articles from 40 years of Biblical Archaeology Review (1975 to present), 20 years of Bible Review (1985 to 2005 complete) and 8 years of Archaeology Odyssey (1998 to 2006 complete).

Within the BAS Library are their special collections where they showcase an archive of articles around their best premium content. In addition to engaging existing subscribers, these pages can be used as marketing tools with preview copy doubling as email promotions.

For example, they have a special collection called “Women in the Bible.” The introduction to this collection reads:

Although the Bible is largely a product of the male-dominated societies of ancient Israel and the first-century C.E. Roman world, some of its most fascinating, evocative and inspiring characters are women. BAS editors have compiled a special collection of articles from Bible Review on various women in the Bible, from Esther and Judith to Mary Magdalene, who helped shape Biblical history and the message of the scriptures.

web library BAS

Indeed, a savvy library curator may choose to focus not only on creating special collections around themes, but may also take advantage of the depth of their library content to create collections that focus on coverage that is no longer part of the current magazine.

Another collection in the BAS Library is called “The Historical Jesus” and it includes historical articles about Jesus, the man, dating back as far as 1989.

BAS has over fifty special collections currently, and that list is growing. They have a collection specifically for Easter, for specific historical events, and ones for special authors, like Victor Hurowitz, a now deceased professor of Bible, archaeology and ancient Near Eastern studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel. In commemoration of his illustrious career, Biblical Archaeology Society put together a collection of his most popular articles.

Other benefits of creating these special collections include:

  • An added benefit you can add to your sales page that details the number of curated collections you have
  • Improved usability for subscribers who are interested in specific topics
  • Increased engagement from existing subscribers who may feel overwhelmed by the volume of content to which they have access
  • Converting special collection pages into email promotions for potential and existing subscribers

How to create special collections:

  1. Start with a plan to create a minimum of 6-8 special collections before promoting that section of your library.
  2. Come up with 6-8 unique topics that you have five or more resource-rich articles about.
  3. Create your 6-8 special collections pages, which include an introduction to the topic, followed by a list of the library articles about that topic, ideally in order of publish date, unless it makes sense to organize differently.
  4. Create a new page/section in your web library, where you can introduce your special collections, and list them.
  5. Have a plan in mind to add a new collections to this page every month, at a minimum, until you’ve run out of topics.
  6. Use the content of these collections to create library preview emails to send to current subscribers giving them a reason to use their subscription, and to prospective subscribers giving them a reason to join. Rotate through these emails and recycle them, promoting the special collections regularly.

Subscription marketers must relearn and rethink how they promote content in the age of the Internet. Instead of promoting the next 12 issues, you can promote back issues, special collections and categories of content that can span decades. This provides many, many options for launching a diverse marketing program. This type of marketing program empowers a content marketing frequency that would be unthinkable if you were only promoting the next 12 issues.

As we’ve mentioned in past articles, for the dozens of web libraries we manage, promoting past content often produces results that are double or triple the new order volume we see when promoting current or future issues. Once you see this reality, the foundation is quite simple given the depth of evergreen content that most special interest magazines and newsletters can access in their archives.

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.

Meet Us in Plymouth and Learn
How to Double Your Publishing Revenue

Join other senior publishing executives at the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop—where you’ll learn how to plan, execute, and optimize a profitable magazine-driven membership marketing system. And how to double your publishing revenue!

Secure your registration now, while seats are available and Early-Bird Registration is open.

Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

May 20-21, 2020
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Plymouth, Massachusetts

This two-day membership marketing secrets workshop is intense—it’s not for the faint-of-heart, and it’s only for magazine publishing senior executives who have the vision and resources to grow their businesses.

This event is also for curious publishing executives who want the membership marketing secrets for publishers revealed—so that profits, growth, efficiency, and total transformation will power a magazine business that leads the industry and is the envy of competitors and collaborators alike.

You’re familiar with the growth and prominence of the emerging membership economy—you can see it daily as you interact with Amazon, Netflix, or even your local gym. And luckily, magazine publishers can learn a lot from others who have “paved the way” to condition consumers to buy memberships.

This is no fad, it’s a bona-fide trend that you should know about, understand, and latch on to membership marketing secrets for your own business’ purposes.

You should first know what isn’t a secret—having a metered paywall at your website. Yes, thanks to many news-oriented publishers, metered paywalls have become commonplace and are a powerful way to showcase your premium content and convert website visitors into buyers.

But having a metered paywall is not a secret. Who doesn’t know about metered paywalls or already have one for their content?

And simply having a website where you publish content is not the answer to staying competitive these days … let alone blowing your competition out of the water.

For that, you need to attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop! You’ll not only learn about the membership marketing secrets, but you’ll also discover all the online publishing myths that often distract or derail many publishers from keeping their eyes on the prize—growth and profits!

When you attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll be among the publishing industry’s elite—those who are ahead of the trends and will know exactly how to optimize your publishing efforts, based on the latest business intelligence. There will be plenty of time for networking, too, so you can get to know your fellow publishing professionals!

The 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Magazine Publishers

So that you don’t have to wait until our event, here’s a list of 7 membership marketing secrets:

  1. Web Magazine
  2. Web Magazine Library
  3. Curated Special Collections
  4. Leveraging Existing Content Platforms
  5. Content Previews
  6. Email Marketing Frameworks
  7. Landing and Offer Page Frameworks

And of course, much of the “secret” is not just having a list, but fully understanding what’s behind these secrets and learning what to do about them, so that your own publishing system is in alignment with all these secrets.

When you come to the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll learn about all of these in detail—and you’ll learn how to plan, execute, measure, and optimize your very own magazine-driven membership marketing system.

I promise you this now, too—when you register and attend our event, you’ll get 3 bonus membership marketing secrets. And while my colleagues prefer me to hold these bonus secrets back until you register, I can tell you they involve growing your audience, growing customer engagement, and growing revenue.

You’re probably wondering how I can make the claim that you’ll double your revenue when you register for our Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop. Well, Mequoda has been around for more than 15 years—and we’ve helped many magazine publishers over that time, including Prime Publishing, Yankee Magazine and Hearst Magazines … and we’ve counted AAA Northeast and the Biblical Archaeology Society as clients (non-profit membership organizations that both have magazines!).

The Agenda for Discovering the 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Publishers

You’ll leave this event with a clearer vision and plan for transforming your magazine publishing business. Here is the agenda for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

Wednesday, May 20

  • Creating a New, Successful Membership Product
  • 3 Ways to Build Your Audience Marketing Database
  • Offer- & Price-Testing Strategies for Maximizing Revenue
  • How to Organize and Outsource Your Business Processes

Thursday, May 21

  • Building an Integrated Membership Marketing System
  • 4 Key Metrics for Measuring Your Success
  • Modeling and Budgeting Your Five-Year Plan
  • 3 Bonus Membership Marketing Secrets Revealed

For a full description of all the sessions, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

This entire membership marketing secrets event will be led by me, Kim Mateus, as Chief Strategy Officer at Mequoda Systems. In 2004, I started with Mequoda as employee #2, and have since overseen strategic planning for many of Mequoda’s publishing partners. Having guided the development of more than 20 subscription and membership marketing systems, my team and I monitor and maintain a robust best-practices database of marketing techniques and business processes that helps power all Mequoda partner marketing programs. My focus on client content strategies is a natural extension of my journalism education and background.

And here is a high-level summary of the entire Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

WHO: Besides senior executives like you from magazine publishing companies, the Mequoda Systems team who will join me at this membership marketing secrets event are veteran publishing professionals themselves—you’ll have plenty of time for networking with your fellow publishing executives and with the Mequoda Systems team:

  • Don Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Dugan, Chief Copywriter
  • Nancy Horan, Chief Systems Officer
  • Eileen Shea, Content Marketing Director
  • Norann Oleson, Analytics Director

WHEN: May 20-21 (it’s NEVER too early to sign up!)

WHERE: Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts

For inn room reservations at preferential rates for our attendees, click here or call 833-MIRBEAU (833-647-2328) for room reservations.

WHY: Because the magazine publishing world is fast-changing and keeping up with trends can be a full-time job—this membership marketing secrets event will help you focus on only the key initiatives that will help drive growth for your business.

For a full description of all the sessions, speakers, and the venue for this event, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

I’d tell you to “mark your calendar” for this event, but if you only do that you might miss out—we only have a limited number of seats for this exclusive event, so sign up right now.

I hope to see you in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, in May 2020!

Sincerely,

Kim Mateus
Chief Strategy Officer, Mequoda Systems
Program Leader, Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

P.S. If you already know that this event is for you, sign up right now while seats are still available (this is a small event—we really only have space for a few dozen people). Register now for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop!

P.P.S. Prefer not to wait until 2020 to benefit from all these membership marketing secrets? If you have a sizable team at your organization who should hear all about this, email me at kim@mequoda.com and let’s chat about accelerating the process for you and bringing this membership marketing secrets workshop on-site at your company.

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