Reconciling your print and online media.

By Christine Steele, LA chapter secretary

Marci Rosenblum fields a question from an audience member at July’s LA chapter meeting.

The Los Angeles chapter of ASBPE had its first meeting on July 10 at Uncle Chen’s Chinese restaurant in Encino. Guest speaker Marci Rosenblum, award-winning designer of www.calbrokermag.com, the Web site for California Broker magazine, shared her ideas for creating a successful site, keeping the content “fresh,” and helping your magazine and Web site promote each other.

A Web site should do more than just rehash the contents of your magazine, said Rosenblum; it should offer readers something new and different that they won’t find in the print version. One way to do this is for editors to contact companies and interview their CEO, then include the interview on the Web site. She suggested using an in-house ad page in your magazine to promote the interview, directing traffic to your site.

Another option is to have a weekly online column with varied content or announce new product releases. “Give something of value so you get it back,” said Rosenblum. If you find you just don’t have the time to generate new content for your site on a regular basis, consider using holdover articles or sidebars that you don’t have room for in your magazine.

It’s also important to use your magazine to promote your Web site, she said. Start by including your company Web site address on the cover and at the bottom of every magazine page to attract unique visitors to your site.

Another popular extension of the Web site is the online newsletter. Pack it with new information and have 10 nonpromotional ideas/questions not featured in the magazine that would attract additional readers. Create flyers announcing your newsletter, or any other aspect of your Web site you’d like to promote, and hand them out at trade shows.

Rosenblum suggested staying in contact with the person who keeps track of the Web site statistics so that you know what’s attracting people to your site and what they want to read. Polls and surveys are popular for Web home pages. Or consider creating a chat room for those interested in communicating with others in the industry.

“The Internet and e-mail marketing is our future,” said Rosenblum. “People like having a magazine in their briefcase, but they like an online version because it’s updated daily.” She encouraged the use of graphics on Web sites instead of text, since they are more clickable, especially for those who are not Web savvy. In print, your document forms a whole, and the user is focused on the entire set of information, she explained. On the Web, try splitting each document into multiple hyperlinked pages, since users are not willing to read long pages. Also, users don’t like to scroll through masses of text, so put the most important information at the top. A few hyperlinks to other sites with supporting information increases the credibility of your pages. If at all possible, link quotes from magazine reviews and other articles to the source.

Rosenblum’s final reminder to everyone was to be sure to give something back to the readers and always have a strong database of e-mail addresses.

“Make your goal to get as many unique visitors to your site as you have subscribers to your magazine.”

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