Paid Subscriptions and Virtual Conferences with Broken Pencil Magazine

The Voice of Experience

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Even as publications go digital, some remain firmly grounded in print – and they both need to drum up paid subscriptions. Virtual events require different logistics than in-person conferences, but having someone experienced to walk you through some of the pitfalls makes everything more manageable.

Episode 11 of the Paywall Podcast is an interview with Hal Niedzviecki of Broken Pencil Magazine. As a writer and the founder of a publication that caters specifically to micro publications for the arts, Hal has a lot of insight on the intersection of print and digital worlds. He also hosts Canzine, a yearly set of conferences in different Canadian cities, dedicated to zines and independent arts and culture. The digital 2020 conference gave Hal a lot of insight into and advice about hosting virtual events.

The Highlights

The key takeaways include:

  • A look at the world of print micro publications (and why they’re not going anywhere),
  • A rundown of resources available for small-catch passion publishers,
  • How to use your web-based edition as a vehicle for print sales,
  • Why using digital inbound marketing strategies can be a better alternative (or supplement) to traditional outbound methods (particularly for smaller marketing budgets),
  • The benefits of creating a back-issue archive (and especially if it’s in web article form, rather than PDFs or flipbooks),
  • The benefits of hosting (and attending) industry conferences,
  • Some tips for taking your conferences digital, including:
    • Roster a good mix of vendors, entertainments, and panels.
    • Use a unified shopping cart, instead of individual carts for each vendor (a monstrous task, but worth it, financially).
    • Get the word out by harnessing the power of the collective – equip your participants for outreach.
    • Have a plan for shipping! (It’s more complicated than you think).
    • Talk to your developers about setting up analytics – you’ll want to track attendee behavior.
    • Record. Everything. If you pre-record, you don’t have to worry about glitching live events. Either way, you can publish the recordings later as permanent or premium content on your site.

Did you miss an episode?

Our past episodes answer common publisher questions, provide explanations on making the most of your paywall, show off how other unique publishers have found success, profile the growth of a successful publication, and provide a wealth of tactics for growing your subscriptions:

Stay tuned for the next episode of the Paywall Podcast, available on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, and Pandora.


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