16 replies
Hi guys

I recently launched a new project (Design is Political - http://designispolitical.com). It's an online magazine which I am putting £2000 of my own money into to get off the ground. So far, I've spent coming up to 1k. The money has mostly been spent on:

* Paying for writers
* Facebook advertising (with which I've accrued over 1000 page fans)

I intend my revenue sources to be varied, but predominantly:

* Job postings (the ones currently there have been added manually by me)
* Amazon affiliate ads
* Sponsored posts

I now have £1000 left and am wondering how best to spend this. This is not a straight up commerce or affiliate site. It's a magazine and as such building the brand is, I feel, the most important thing at this stage. My gut feeling is that monetisation should come a lot further down the line when I have an engaged community. The short term task is not running out of money before this happens!

Your thoughts and insights on how I can spend this money for a) short term gain and b) long term gain would be valued.
#£1 #spend
  • Profile picture of the author pauloadaoag
    Administrator
    Well this is new someone asking how to spend rather than earn money.

    First things first, you said that you spent 1k already and are planning to spend 1k more. Do you have proper tracking and attribution already? Do you have a solid idea of how many fans you gained *through* your ad spend?
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    • Profile picture of the author matt5409
      Thanks. Yes ~95% of my likes are from ads, and it's costing ~29c per like. It seems very hard to get page likes unless you pay for it (because obviously nobody actually sees your page!).

      What I'm also learning is that only around 15% of people seem to actually *see* the posts, and then obviously there is a small percentage of people who interact. This means I need tens of thousands of likes, I feel, before I will see the benefit of building this community.
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      • Profile picture of the author Gambino
        Originally Posted by matt5409 View Post

        Thanks. Yes ~95% of my likes are from ads, and it's costing ~29c per like. It seems very hard to get page likes unless you pay for it (because obviously nobody actually sees your page!).

        What I'm also learning is that only around 15% of people seem to actually *see* the posts, and then obviously there is a small percentage of people who interact. This means I need tens of thousands of likes, I feel, before I will see the benefit of building this community.
        You've hit the nail on the head. To reach the people who like your own page, you have to keep paying to boost posts. Unless you have a large budget, building a Facebook following can be tough. Depending on the amount of traffic you're getting, it may be worthwhile to set up a Facebook pixel and target the people who have visited your site. Admittedly, I haven't looked at your site. But, if you can create high end content and start growing a few dedicated followers who will share your content, you may be able to get some momentum going and additional traffic.

        Steve did a great job explaining everything above so there's not really much to add.

        The problem with your strategy is that your revenue (from ads) is dependent on getting traffic. After all, nobody is going to pay to advertise to nobody, right? It takes money and/or time and effort to get traffic to a site. I would say to either come up with another way to make money aside from ads so that you can pay for traffic. Or, try like hell to start building a loyal following with super quality, viral type content. Start with trying to get one share then 10, then 25...
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by matt5409 View Post

    It's a magazine and as such building the brand is, I feel, the most important thing at this stage.

    Magazines, in this era, are a very difficult business model to tackle. They require an immense amount of work in order to build and grow a faithful audience. Branding is important and normally very expensive because competition for people's time and attention is fierce. You're going to need a lot more than what you've got left so I hope you have a plan to fund your project for the next two years at least.

    Key to your success will be targeting the right audience and engaging them to the point that they trust you and follow your recommendations. Hopefully you've researched the niche so you know exactly what your audience will spend money on and the issues/desires/problems they have that you can address. Go too broad and you won't resonate with anyone . . . go too narrow and your audience size won't support your business model. So you have a huge challenge in front of you to figure out your "voice and mission" that the niche will accept.

    I wish you the very best . . . this is not an easy and simple undertaking.

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author matt5409
      Thanks for your reply Steve, and for being so candid! Do you think that monetisation should follow a similar model to that of a blog?

      I'm confident I can continue to generate interesting content which the audience will enjoy. It's a case of sustaining this until it can pay for itself.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Originally Posted by matt5409 View Post

        Thanks for your reply Steve, and for being so candid! Do you think that monetisation should follow a similar model to that of a blog?

        Matt,

        Typically magazines involve deadlines, multiple article authors (that you'll pay for their work), financial support of sponsors (which means billing, collecting payments, financial record keeping, and lots of constant subscriber campaigns. Even if you don't charge a subscription fee, the idea of a magazine means you'll be under the constant stress of production deadlines and customer service. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be lucrative if your concept is widely accepted, but it means you must be very serious and diligent about following through with all your deliverables for your audience.

        Your monetization will be somewhat different from that of a blog in the typical magazine production model where it's the subscribers and advertisers that pay you recurring fees rather than shopper's buying upon your recommendations as in most blogs. To be honest, if you plan to monetize your business with affiliate products, your own products, etc, a blog, IMO, is a lot less work and stress than a magazine ... but that's just me ... others may see it differently.

        Here's something else to consider: IMO, "likes" from social networking sites are not the same or as valuable as subscribers to an email list. There is nothing wrong with getting "likes" but the vast majority of those that "like" your posts will probably not be buyers of your suggestions . . . and more importantly, subscribers of your magazine. Getting a subscriber is harder than getting a "like" because people are giving up their contact information and raising their hand that they want to hear from you. So if I were you, I would focus on subscribers and just consider "likes" as a little extra gravy.

        The very best to you in this endeavor . . .

        Steve
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        • Profile picture of the author matt5409
          Thanks Steve.

          I appreciate your careful dissection of the task ahead, and am cautiously happy to report I'm aware of most of this. I'm building email subscribers, but it is slow - 2 or 3 a week.

          With this in mind, how can I build it more quickly?

          I currently have the subscription box:

          * in the site footer
          * at the bottom of this article: http://designispolitical.com/busines...-process-part1 (I'm hoping to do more series pieces which entice subscriptions)
          * Here: http://designispolitical.com/sign-up - where I am sending people to register

          I accept there will be demands to keep up publication, but I'm expecting that once I reach a certain level of audience, I can take the foot off the pedal. I might very well be wrong. I'm expecting to reach a certain point where it can pay for itself, and then we scale from there. My questions and concerns are predominantly around when that might occur (which I know nobody can really answer).
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Meaney
    Just curious to know how many people are PMing you right now, offering to help you spend your money
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    • Profile picture of the author matt5409
      Just the one so far!
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      • Profile picture of the author yukon
        Banned
        Originally Posted by Michael Meaney View Post

        Just curious to know how many people are PMing you right now, offering to help you spend your money
        Originally Posted by matt5409 View Post

        Just the one so far!


        I swear, it wasn't me.
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  • Profile picture of the author iwantbreak
    i think you should totally spend on content writing by hiring content writers on board rather than paying for any kind of paid advertising...i do recommend Fiverr for that wherein you can get an average 500 word content for $5...
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  • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
    Matt, I don't know if anyone else has mentioned this to you, but I get an error message when trying to follow your site link(s).

    Because of that, I'm only assuming by the site's title that your intention is to focus on a specific political aspect of design. If that's the case, your target market isn't simply those with an interest or a business in design work, but a particularly defined segment of that market.

    Again, without seeing the site I may be assuming too much, but it seems to me you need to concentrate on getting some controversial content out there - not just on your own site, but on other infuential sites, blogs and forums.

    Controversy is a great way of building a loyal following, and of creating a viral effect. A single controversial, anti-mainstream voice can often punch above its weight in terms of site traffic, and you might be able to attract a particular kind of sponsor who's more interested in the branding benefits of being associated with you than the actual numbers.

    Depending on how much of the activity you want or are able to do yourself, you might as well hang on to that grand for now. You could spend it on getting help with the grunt work, or you could keep it until you find a contributor that's worth paying for. And you could always put some of it towards tweaking your site's design/user experience.
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    • Profile picture of the author matt5409
      Thanks very much for this, I see where you're coming from! I'm concentrating on getting content out there and I'm trying to be vaguely controversial to start debates, but I don't want to come across as "too edgy", because that can be a turn off and not particularly helpful to anyone.

      Can I ask by the way, what error message are you getting?
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        Originally Posted by matt5409 View Post

        Can I ask by the way, what error message are you getting?
        It's the standard Cannot be displayed/Connection was reset error. Happens with Firefox and IE.

        By the way, don't be vaguely controversial - be edgy! What you need is a core of tightly-focused and highly motivated fans. They'll be your cheerleaders and, for a start-up like yours, absolute gold dust.
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  • Profile picture of the author Enfusia
    Matt,

    If I may please sir.

    IMHO building a brand at this stage is a waste of money.

    What you should be doing always!!!!! Is making money.

    Why?

    For the exact reason you mentioned. Not running out of money before you build a brand.

    Here is what I would do.

    1. I would test my monetization strategies to make sure they convert.
    2. I would stop worrying about building Facebook followers as they are hard to convert into money.
    3. I would start becoming an influencer on YouTube creating videos and driving that traffic to my site.

    The main thing is, IMHO you're espousing a recipe to go broke and and up being an IM failure.

    Here's why.

    Don't worry about building a brand. Make money, create insane value for your subscribers and the brand will build itself.

    Have a great day!
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  • Profile picture of the author Brent Stangel
    Are you selling something?

    I just looked over your home page and I have no clue if you are selling something or what that might be.

    Thanks. Yes ~95% of my likes are from ads, and it's costing ~29c per like. It seems very hard to get page likes unless you pay for it (because obviously nobody actually sees your page!)
    On a page I haven't touched for some time:



    IMO paying for anything other than visits to your site is a waste of money.
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