Publishing Advice - Marketing Irregular Magazine

Posted by: jasonhubbard On: Jul 3rd 2010 edited

In another post, Malcom said he would be interested to hear how Irregular Magazine advertises itself.

The magazine recieves 4,500 + unique downloads per issue. Initial weekends can generate between 1,500 -anywhere near the 3,000 mark if its a good issue in regards to visitors. In the year we've been running we have a total of around 23,000 downloads across 4 magazine. We have a very big hosting account, LOL, to acoomdate this, in fact we've moved hosting twice in the last 12 months to accomodate the amount of visitors/downloads we have.

We have a group member who specialises in social media, internet design/programming and media. She runs our website, twitter account and the Sheffield Irregulars blog. These are our first port of call in regards to advertising, regular updates are made via twitter and the blog site. The blog site also has regular articles regarding painting on a regular basis, which attracts nearly 2,000 + visitors a month.

The next phase/level of marketing is to post on sites like Table Top Gaming News, along with adding to the News pages of and Cool mini. These sites push a lot of customers to the magazine, in one weekend Warseer on issue 2 generated 1,500 downloads before the end of play Sunday.

Our next phase is to post on several forum sites, these are generally spilt between the main team members, and generally tend to be the sites that each of us are active on. For instance I post on Gentlemen's Wargame Parlour, D&D community, Art Order and a few others. This works out quite well as most of the team have differing interests, which means we cover a broad spectrum of forum sites.

The next area we use for advertising, are our own blog sites. Most of the team run thier own blog sites, which are geared around thier own interests. These vary from blogs around RPG gaming, History, wargaming and miniature painting, as well as blog sites some of us also have personnel twitter accounts we utilise to promote the magazine.

Lastly we use Facebook as well, though we aree slowly moving away from this avenue for a number of reasons, and are considering setting up a forum which will be dedicated to miniature painting advice, gaming and writing for the game industry.

Another thing that also happens is that a lot of our readership post links and information without our prompting on other forums across the internet, generally these tend to be non english forums, a sort of electronic word of mouth.

Some of the blogs we run;
Shefield Irregulars
Musket, Sword and Paint
Prince Azalea's Homepage
Dysartes Wargaming

Irregular Magazine

I was wondering what types of marketing other people were doing?

Posted by: Gregor Hutton On: Jul 3rd 2010

Networking is a crucial way to market without having a budget. In former times it would mean meeting gaming groups and people in shops.

But with the net and social media sites your personal networking reach is greatly magnified.

I see some designers I like are using Twitter these days quite successfully. I don't think it's a fully successful vector yet since anyone who's not on twitter utterly misses out. Twitter is also a medium that relies on the "info now" way of working -- a live updating, rolling feed. If you got to someone's twitter page a week or two after a promo then you won't find it.

Still, some of the designers on here use it. How has that worked for you?

Facebook I think is pretty good to get the word out there, but like Twitter you need to have contact with the people via Facebook for it to work. It does allow for "viral" marketing in that someone will like an update about a game and spread that news organically to their friends. So, if you have contact with "influential" people online via Facebook it can be very handy. I think it works best when you're pointing to a cool thing rather than being a hardcore marketer about it.

Social media works best when its genuine and trusted. It bites hard when people get duped or are talked at.

That's my take. My marketing recently has been pretty subdued. I aim to crank into a higher gear at GenCon US, though.

Posted by: jasonhubbard On: Jul 3rd 2010

We have the benefit of running a miniature painting group on facebook, as well as having a magazine page. Twitter is slowly picking up. We reach more people through Facebook than we do with Twitter.

What Twitter has helped with is making contacts within the gaming and book publishing industry. Through twitter we have some good contacts with some of the bigger names witin the industry, which has led to us getting interviews with Mike McVey, Victoria Lamb, Gav Thopre, Andy Remic and for issue 6 out in October we have Nick Kyme and David Drake. Bagging these big names helps drive new readers to the magazine, we're hoping that we get a large influx of GW players through the interviews with Gav Thorpe and Nick Kyme, they may only come for those two issues, but we may get a few return readers for future issues.

Twitter at the moment is really in the experimental phase, its still in its infancy. Facebook on the other hand works a lot better, because we run a group on the site, which pushes a hardcore readership to the magazine.

Posted by: Malcolm Craig On: Jul 3rd 2010

First off: Jason, thanks for posting that. It's great to get an insight into the processes you use to reach out to consumer and see the similarities and differences when compared with our own efforts.

As regards Twitter, for me (and by extension CGS) it serves two purposes. The first is to give quick snippets of info to people who really want to know what we're doing. Those committed enough to follow our account. The Twitter feed on the news page of our website is also helpful. That's the second point: Twitter works as a way to do instant, micro-updates to our news page. As we are pretty low traffic in terms of Tweets, there's a good chance people coming to the page after a few days will still be able to check out what's been said.

So far, I'm finding it a useful tool. As time goes on, it should generate more concrete data as to how the information is used by consumers and how effective a tool it is.

Jason: What's your feeling about Twitter as a tool for Irregular Magazine, beyond the valuable industry contacts you're been talking about and it's experimental nature? Is that pretty much it's main function (the industry contacts), with stuff like Facebook and blog posts being the main avenue for talking to end users?


Posted by: jasonhubbard On: Jul 3rd 2010

Currently, its use has been slowly to build up a core following, alongside industry contacts, but this will take time. We have a "follow us on Twitter" on the magazine website, and slowly more readers are choosing to follow us.

We have been asked about a newsletter subscription service, but so far we haven't found one that suits our purpose. We have also started an RSS link on the website, which should help long term.

Blogs, forums and news sites are our main source of contacting and generating new readers. This year we entered the Ennies, and hopefully that may push some new readers our way.

Currently our main aim is attract more RPG players to the magazine. We seem to get a lot more wargamers and miniature painters which is great, but we hope to improve the RPG side of the magazine and in turn, push our readership up.

Twitter is probably a long term aspect of our marketing, something that should slowly become a more positive tool.

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