Useful, accessible information on circulation and audience development for magazine publishing professionals.


Native advertising is here to stay, probably. It is a good thing, possibly. So why can't Glen Martin decide whether he likes native or not? Click here to read.

Just how safe is your data? With so much data held by publishers, could it be "hacked?" Elaine Tyson and Roy Beagley asked the people that know, the fulfillment bureaus themselves. Click here to read.

We act as if “native advertising” is something new, so what is it and how should we best use it... an introduction to "native advertising!" Click here to read.

Virtually all marketing campaigns are most successful when they employ a multi-channel approach to a targeted audience... even in the "all-digital" world. Click here to read more....

On October 16th last year, a new regulation from the FCC went into effect. Ronen Ben-Dror asks how does the FCC rule affect you in the B2B environment? Click here to read more....

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that more than a third of web traffic is fraudulent and BPA says only 40% of ads measured are actually viewable, but how much of a problem is this? Click here to read more....

Telemarketers are well aware of the Personal Identifier Question and recent changes in rules regarding the PIQ have caused somewhat of a debate in the industry. Ronen Ben-Dror of Blue Valley Telemarketing takes a look at what gives. Click here to read more....

An accurate call list is an extremely important aspect in waging a successful telemarketing campaign. Scrubbing the list is the responsibility of the publishing company and the telemarketing agency. Click here to read more....

Customers of telemarketing services often commission work without undertaking even the most elementary checks. What should the informed customer look for when choosing an outbound telemarketing agency? Click here to read,

Publishers need to address the USPS's suggested increase before it is too late. Click here to read,

Evaluating how a campaign is working while agents are in the process of communicating with current or potential clients, live monitoring is an essential tool. Can companies afford to waste all those efforts on a careless approach to monitoring the campaign? Of course not. Click here to read more....

Social media channels today are playing an interesting role in the future and the publishing world now views social media as a positive exchange with subscribers, so To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That Tis the Question Click here to read more....

How Well Do You Know Your Audience? The more you know, says Ronen Ben-Dror, this could eliminate the battle of qualifying leads. Click here to read more....

Free magazines are different from "Controlled" as we all know, but the distinction is becoming less and less relevant to advertisers. Click here!

Sending out a direct mail campaign requires a good lettershop operation... Karen Tyson explains....

Cash flow is probably the most important resource any business has. Benefit from Peter's insight and knowledge. Click here to read this exclusive article.

How to manage a telemarketing campaign and make it work for you. Karen Tyson explains....

While all major publishers maintain marketing databases, it is just as important for small publishers too. Pam would argue it’s more important than ever to maintain a database as a tool for identifying, developing and implementing strategy. Click here!

Circulation can be an asset on a sales call. Peter Lenahan explains what to do, and as importantly not what to do in this exclusive article. Click here!

For years the concept of earning and deferring income has confused many, but it is not that difficult. Get the facts behind earned and deferred income from Peter Sangiorgio. Click here to read more....

Getting a direct mail package printed takes advance planning. Karen Tyson has some thoughts and ideas as to how to make this sometimes daunting prospect easier to handle... Karen Tyson explains....

Enjoy and benefit from this exclusive article for written by Peter Lenahan who explains why the circulation staff keep the sales force motivated, and how that benefits all concerned. Click here!

Reader's response: One of most intelligent articles I have ever read on ad sales and the all-important relationship with circulation. Well said. Harry S, Sacramento, Calif - via email.

Businesses that put their customers front and center will ultimately win and the secret to successfully scaling CRM practices into any large organization is to really understand your markets. Benefit from Pam's years of experience and learn how to segment your file and become a success. Click here for Pam's insight.

To develop a realistic circulation forecast based upon current economic, industry, and company conditions is part of any circulation director's job. Benefit from the accountant's view and read Peter Sangiorgio's 5 Simple Tips to consider when developing a Circulation Budget. Click here for Peter's insight.

Rebecca Sterner is one of the most respected people in the audience development job function. Now you can benefit from Rebecca's knowledge on Setting Up an Auto Renewal Program. Click here.

When executing a direct mail program, you should give lots of thought to the requirements of merge/purge. This could end up saving you a great deal of money, not forgetting making your life a great deal easier. Karen Tyson explains...

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Planning Your Audience Development Efforts by Kinjal Husges. Click here to read more....

April 17th 2015

is the 106th day of the year and there are 259 days remaining until the end of the year.

A US Coast Guard cutter has returned to California carrying more than 14 tonnes of seized cocaine.

A tour bus for country group Lady Antebellum caught fire on a Texas highway, but no one was injured.

A US senator had some explaining to do after his phone interrupted a congressional hearing by playing a tune from the Disney hit Frozen.

The Italian navy has taken back control of a Sicilian fishing boat that was seized by the Libyan coastguard up to 64km (40 miles) off the coast of Libya.

Pope Francis has officially announced his first visit to Ecuador, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Sir Kenneth Branagh is setting up a theatre company, with Dame Judi Dench, Rob Brydon and Lily James among stars set to perform in a season of plays.

1586 – John Ford, poet/playwright (d. 1639);
1734 – Taksin, Thai king (d. 1782);
1798 – Étienne Bobillier,
mathematician (d. 1840);
1885 – Karen Blixen, author (d. 1962);
1899 – Dimitris Poulianos, artist (d. 1972);
1911 – Hervé Bazin, author (d. 1996);
1911 – Lester Rodney, journalist (d. 2009);
1928 – Cynthia Ozick, author;
1928 – Heinz Putzl, fencer;
1928 – Fabien Roy, politician;
1940 – Billy Fury, singer (d. 1983);
1954 – Riccardo Patrese, race car driver;
1954 – Roddy Piper, wrestler and actor;
1963 – Penny Vilagos, swimmer;
1963 – Vicky Vilagos, swimmer;
1971 – Andri Kirsima, architect;
1971 – Claire Sweeney, actress;
1979 – Eric Brewer, ice hockey player;
1979 – Sung Si-kyung, singer;
1984 – Raffaele Palladino, footballer;
1985 – Rooney Mara, actress.


2013 – Paul Ware, English footballer (b. 1970).

1080 – The King of Denmark Harald III dies and is succeeded by Canute IV.

1397 – Geoffrey Chaucer tells The Canterbury Tales for the first time.

1524 – Giovanni da Verrazzano reaches New York harbor... and is astonished to see a bridge bearing his name.

1864 – American Civil War: The Battle of Plymouth begins – Confederate forces attack Plymouth, North Carolina.

1907 – The Ellis Island immigration center processes 11,747 people, more than on any other day.

1937 – Daffy Duck's first appearance.

1949 – At midnight 26 Irish counties officially leave the British Commonwealth.

1970 – Apollo 13 returns to Earth safely.

1986 – The Three Hundred and Thirty Five Years' War between the Netherlands and the Isles of Scilly ends... or not depending on whether it actually ever started.


I miss albums, you know...LPs
Click here to read. Click here for audio.


The continuous service or automatic renewal process as it is sometimes called was developed in 1996.  Periodicals can be automatically renewed until a subscriber decides to cancel the subscription thus saving publishers some money on mailing renewal notices and streamlining the process. Click here to read.

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Ukip Is one of the parties running in the UK election headed by Nigel Farage. Richard Desmond has given Ukip £1,300,000 and the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) says Mr. Desmond is 'abusing his position as the owner of the newspaper titles and failing to properly pay his staff.' For his part Mr. Desmond says "I firmly believe in Ukip. It's a party for good, ordinary British people. It is not run by elitists. They are struggling to have a voice."
Meanwhile reports John McCarthy at the 'Michelle Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "It’s a complete outrage that Richard Desmond has delved deep in his pocket and handed over a £1million bung to Ukip, yet for the seventh year running has denied his workforce a pay rise".'
Newspapers in the UK for many years have elected to follow one party of another, the Daily Mirror was always Labour, the Express was conservative and now seems to be Ukip. So is the NUJ's problem with Mr. Desmond more to do with choosing to fund a party, rather than pay his journalists? For clarification, click here.

'Two native tablet editions have been released into the Apple Newsstand by Schaumburg, Illinois based Putnam Media: Pharmaceutical Manufacturing and The Journal from Rockwell Automation' says D.B. Hebbard, for his take, click here.

And, the more "likes" the better, although all this seems to prove is if you ask people to "like" you, they will. Keith Kelly at the New York Post notes 'National Geographic is the surprise darling of the social media set', it has 67,000,000 likes on 'Facebook and similar sites.' The Economist, ESPN, Vogue and Playboy all have millions of likes as well, which we are sure is impressive - we are just not sure exactly why. For more, click here.

Sir Martin Sorrell was 'an early and enthusiastic exponent of [the] digital world' reports Britta Reid at - and she should know as she has worked for Sir Martin in the past. The reason behind Sir Martin's 'aggressive approach was that ad investment should reflect the amount of time consumers spent with various media types' say Britta.
Now it seems that Sir Martin may be having second thoughts... “Newspapers and magazines, even in their traditional form” may be “more effective than people give them credit (for)” said Sir Martin in London recently. So why the about face, Britta explains, click here for more.

'The American Society of Magazine Editors has overhauled its guidelines, clearing away hurdles that sought to prevent editors from creating advertising content or publishers from selling ads on magazine covers' reports Michael Sebastian at For more of Mr. Sebastian's excellent report, click here.

There were 45 new magazines in the first quarter of 2014, compared with 35 for the same period this year.

'This is not a surprise' says medialifemagazine, which almost prompts the reply "no s**t Batman" but we will refrain from such language. Of the 35 new publications, the majority were in the consumer arena but there is a small amount of good news; the number of magazines closing fell from fourteen last year, to thirteen this year. For more, click here.
The Board of Directors of John Wiley & Sons, Inc. have announced that President and CEO Stephen M. Smith has declared his intention to retire. This will happen as of June 1st and Mark Allin will become the company's new President and CEO.

Mr. Smith is retiring due to health reasons. He became President and CEO in May 2011 having previously been the company's COO and SVP International Development.

'Real Simple Editor Kristin van Ogtrop and her staff will be among the first to move' to Time Inc's new offices in Brookfield Place, reports Keith J. Kelly at the New York Post. October is the apparent moving date and as Mr. Kelly amusingly says 'if nothing else, [the move] should give her plenty of source material for her magazine on how to get a new dwelling in order.'

So the good thing is the magazine's staff will get to experience the new building all clean and bright and sparklingly new - let's just hope they do not met up with the occupants Condé Nast’s staff did when they moved to One World Trade Center. To find out who, or what... click here.

The Reader’s Digest Association has signed an agreement with 'content discovery platform Taboola to help engage online visitors and drive users to the publisher’s network of digital properties' says Minda Smiley at

Taboola provides widgets that appear at the bottom of articles along the line of "if you liked that, then you'll like this" and the reader clicks the widget and is whisked away to pastures new. Says Chris O'Shea at 'in the case of RDA, Taboola will be providing links across every brand’s desktop and mobile site.' For more of Chris's report, click here.

Oh, and if you liked this, you'll really like this!
The ceremony took place in London Tuesday lunchtime and says 'The Daily Mirror and The Mail on Sunday took the flagship Newspaper of the Year honors at today’s London Press Club Awards.' The Daily Mirror was best daily, and the Mail on Sunday, as its name implies, was best Sunday paper. 'Ally Ross of The Sun was named Reviewer of the Year' and Iain Dale, broadcaster and journalist was named blogger of the year. For more, click here.

That would be Andy Coulson, former editor of the former News of the World newspaper. Mr Coulson, says James Doleman at reports 'Coulson is charged with three counts of perjury relating to testimony he gave in the 2010 trial of Scottish left-wing politician Tommy Sheridan.' So why the delay you may ask? Mr Doleman notes 'the decision to postpone the case was made at a "last minute" procedural hearing in Edinburgh by the presiding judge Lord Black. Reporting restrictions prevent us from giving the reason for the delay.' So you might ask, but you will ask in vain. Could it have anything to do with Mr. Coulson's past job as a "spin doctor" for a certain gentleman that is currently running for re-election in the UK? For more, click here.

Meanwhile, Emma Bazilian at had a one-on-one chat with Organic Life's Editor in chief James Oseland and for that chat, click here.

'Organic has become so much more than just a way to grow food. It's about your whole life—your home, your health, and our future together on this beautiful, amazing Earth.' So says the entry on Organic Life's Facebook page, Organic Life being the new, old magazine from Rodale Inc.

'The May/June 2015 issue is a relaunch of the company’s flagship brand, Organic Gardening, and will offer a fresh spin on food, garden, home, and wellbeing' says and highlights from the new issue, come on you knew there would some include:

Flower Power;
A first person account of a salmon and
Today's best homegrown lettuces.

For more details, click here.


We know that the use of credit can improve response to subscription promotions by 30% to 50% so most magazine subscription campaigns offer a “Bill Me” option. 

When it comes to figuring out the right number of efforts to send, five or six seem to be the norm for most magazines.  You don’t want to give up too soon, but there are only so many times you can request payment before there’s nothing left to say and the threat of cancellation rings hollow.

Copy and design for a billing series is very different than that used for renewals.  Here are some points to keep in mind when developing a series or testing individual efforts.

Avoid complicated legal sounding copy
Using “legalese” results in complaints and does not improve pay up.

Use straightforward, to the point copy. 
You’ve already made the sale and the purpose of a billing letter is to get a payment.

Be very specific when requesting payment. 
Avoid open-ended requests such as “as soon as possible” or “when it’s convenient”.  Ask for payment “by return mail” or “within 10 days”.

Be sure copy includes how much to pay, what the charge is for and where to send the payment. 
This information is generally shown on the reply form and might be preprinted, or laser printed by the service bureau.

Keep copy tone moderate. 
Really harsh language does not increase payments or customer satisfaction with your magazine or company. Work in some phrases that do work such as “delinquent account”, “seriously past due”, “Immediate action”, “avoid further collection activity”.

When it comes to design, keep it business-like and not overly promotional.  Consider changing the second color on some efforts – alternating blue/black and green/black ink or possibly different stock on the outer envelopes of some efforts.

The offer you make to prospects has a lot to do with the pay up on credit orders.  Generally, the softer your offer, the higher your bad debt.  Therefore, improving pay up may also involve tightening up your new business offers.  You need to monitor response by effort, view billing as a marketing function and construct a testing program to strengthen your billing practices.

National Readership Survey Ltd. is being replaced by the Publishers Audience Measurement Company or PAMCO. Says Simon Redican 'is to be CEO-designate of the new company' and a shadow board has already been created. For more, click here.
And it is Daniel R. McCarthy. '"Taunton, Inc. is special for its remarkable connections with its audience and the passion and commitment of its people," McCarthy said. “I’m honored and excited to join the team",' although, as points out he has 'been working with Taunton since mid-2014 in an advisory role [and] took over on a temporary basis in February when Taunton president Tim Rahr announced he was stepping down.'

Next month the UK will be going to the polls to elect a new parliament. In past elections newspapers have certainly given the impression they had an effect on how people voted, although whether this is fact or fiction is difficult to prove. What is easier to prove is the effect newspapers may have on this year's election, so Don Brown at the Brown Consultancy sat down and ran some figures last Friday - producing some very interesting results. For more, click here.
The weekday editions will now cost £1.80 with the weekend editions costing 90p more than that. You have to wonder whether there is enough serious news for a serious newspaper to deserve this increase. For example, the news that Hillary Rodham Clinton in running for the presidency of the United States was released via social media.

According to 'a Guardian spokesman said: “The Guardian continues to lead the way with its agenda-setting and award-winning journalism. By raising the cover price we are able to keep investing in our journalism and all our print and digital products. Over the last two years we have continued to give our readers the best possible print experience and introduced new supplements, including The Fashion and Do Something, and a new long-read section, The Journal, as well as refreshing the design of the paper.”' For more, click here. The circulation of the newspaper that "lead[s] the way with its agenda-setting and award-winning journalism" has a circulation of just over 180,000 copies, slightly less than half that of The Times, which we presume does not "lead the way."
'The Canadian newspaper company Postmedia Network reported its earnings for the quarter which ended on February 28' says D.B. Hebbard at the news is not good. For more, click here.

'Publishers have been wildly enthusiastic about Snapchat' scribes Lucia Moses at because they want to, and need to connect with the 'young people.' However, there seems to be a relatively new kik on the block - namely Kik which say Ms. Moses 'is catching on with the recent addition of big-name publishers BuzzFeed, The Washington Post and NBC News.' For more, kik, sorry, click here.

Meanwhile, says Ricardo Bilton also at 'the infinite scroll is a work in progress... but publishers are rethinking their approach to it.' This is where web pages load content as you scroll down the page, which eventually means you will scroll through the center of the earth and end up in China. For more on why publishers are having a rethink, click here.

BuzzFeed Restores Vanished Posts...
Says It Didn't Delete Them Over Advertiser Pressure.

Michael Sebastian.


Oh, come on... if we knew the headline would be much bigger, but the current name to crop up in connection with the sale of 'Mort Zuckerman’s money-bleeding Daily News' according to Keith J. Kelly at the New York Post is Jimmy Finkelstein.

We say "current" but in fact Mr. Finkelstein was an early contender, then it all went quiet, but now, is back again. For more of Mr. Kelly's report, click here.

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We recently received an interesting direct mail package offering a subscription to House Beautiful magazine.  It’s interesting for a number of reasons. Click on the picture below for more details.
The New York Times wants me back - nice. An outer envelope that perforates on the right, left and top which then revels a single order form and a postage paid reply envelope (not shown.) It is an interesting offer '50% off for 16 weeks' - the 50% off I understand, but the 16 weeks has me a tad confused... more than a quarter, less than a half and not quite a third. If it was intended to get me thinking, it did.

I can get all the digital elements my little heart desires and access to Ordering is made easy, I can phone, go online even use the USPS and try and reduce their losses.

Sadly, the reason I canceled my subscription weighs heavier on my mind as does the all-singing, all dancing offer I received, so for the moment NYT - thanks, but no thanks. To enlarge the image on the left, click on the image.
We recently received the regular offer from Opera News and this offer, like our old nanny Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. '3 Risk-Free Issues' always a vote grabber, a free gift offer of a CD, an involvement device, savings of 68%, and a reply by instruction. We may have died and gone to heaven!

Inside, or the reverse depending on your point of view, 'Free' is mentioned not once, nor twice but four times in as many paragraphs and an excellent re-stating of what we are going to get, or not if we don't reply in ten days. The Free issues are even restated on the reply card. Whoever wrote and designed this should be sent a bag of onions, because they sure as hell know them. It looks good, does all the right things and Opera News mail it regularly, so we can conclude that it works for them. (Click here or on the thumbnail to view larger image.

We received our monthly renewal offer from TV Guide this week, and it does all the right things and looks good, and makes ordering very simple. As with many publications the actual renewal date is not mentioned, something which annoys me as a subscriber, but pleases me as a marketer - can you tell I am a Gemini? IF you click on the image above, you can see what happens at the ordering stage, although this is made as simple as possible. Interestingly, for an online order form, and a renewal form at that, TV Guide offers a Bill Me option.
Here's a good offer from Oracle Magazine for a qualified controlled publication. It has good benefits copy and makes requesting Oracle Magazine easy with a couple of "Subscribe Now" buttons.  There is interesting PS copy offering a new publication for those who might be interested in Java Magazine as well as Oracle. The design is clean, uncluttered and attractive. To view the offer, click here. Not sure why the publisher is only offering six free issues, but given the quality of the promotion there must be a very good reason.

Here is the latest offering from People magazine. Nice personalized outer envelope, and a simple and concise brochure showing good covers and copy that sells the subscription. To order, it's old school, snail mail - no mention of ordering via the web anywhere. Nice package and well done to People for knowing that direct mail via the post office is still a good way to get orders.

Click on the image to see large versions.
Here’s what appears to be an advance renewal offer from Vegetarian Times.  It’s a renewal sweeps – smart idea because the original sub order was placed through PCH.  We’re assuming it’s an advance renewal as only one copy of the subscription has been received thus far.  The offer is a strong one –a 78% saving on the renewal plus a chance to win $25,000 (along with other prizes).  Package includes clever “sweeps” techniques on the outer envelope, an offer deadline and small flyer detailing prizes.  Good job, Vegetarian Times!

Click on the image to see large versions.
We received this double postcard from GQ magazine. The card looks great, has a nice cover and a nice free gift, but also has a rather confusing offer. '24 issues of GQ for only $20.00 - that's 83c (plus 17 cents shipping and handling) per issue; in other words $24.00 then. If you add 83 cents to 17 cents, you get $1.00 which if you then multiply by 24 issues you get $24.00. Click on the image to see large versions.
When my subscription of 'The Week' arrived last week, inside the envelope was an offer for 12 issues of 'The Oldie' magazine. As far as I am aware these magazines are independent of each other, but have a great deal in common.

This is a nice way of promoting a magazine that is probably already known to readers of another magazine and would be fairly cheap to produce and execute. Nice offer. Click on the image for a larger view of the outside and inside.
Always nice to get something from 'The Economist' as they always do things so well.

A free copy of 'The World in 2013' is a nice incentive for the readers among us, and a free tablet cover for the tecchies to boot - which also indirectly pushes the digital version.

The predominant red is great as it screamed "ECONOMIST" as soon as I opened my email. Oh and 69c a copy, they got me! [Click here or on image for large version].
'People' really knows how to use it's house file. Good offer, nice creative and use of personalization.

The offer is strong and the order form is pre-populated - what's not to love?
(Click on the image to see larger size and also the order form page.

This is an interesting offer. On the one hand it pushes newsstand sales, you can save $1.00 if you print out the coupon. However if you clicked on the Save $1.00 link you can also subscribe and get eight issues free.

An offer is an offer,
even though this offer
is not publishing related,
it has ignored basic
promotion rule 1-0-1:
Know Thy Prospect!


To view larger size, click on the above image.

A recent offer from People magazine. It looks simple but a great deal of thought has gone into this offer, not least the cover featured on the tablets.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
Let's state it up front - we know the email at the end of the link is spam. Even so, it is a great example of why some design is a good thing in email promotions - even text only promotions. We cannot believe anyone who got this email would even have got so far a clicking a link! Click here to see the email, which is a screen shot taken from our computer.

Rebecca Sterner wrote on CircSpot on how to set up an autorenewal. It just so happens that today we received our auto renewal for Time. In all honesty we had not planned to renew it, but it is done, and although we could cancel it, $81.00 for 56 issues is not worth the hassle of canceling, so we guess the auto renewal worked... at least in our case.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
A reader looked for something on the Times of London web site, and this popped up while the page they wanted to view was loading. He liked it, took a picture, and sent it to us - thanks Glyn C-R of Buckinghamshire.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

A reader subscribed to Fast Company and paid $10.00 for a subscription. After placing the order, they received an email offering a $5.00 credit if she can get another person to subscribe in the next 6 hours. This seemed like a very clever idea to the the person who sent us the information - and we agree.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

Here's a nice promotion from The Nation.  It's quick to read, offers an invitation to receive exclusive free offers - it's a flattering offer and comes from a credible publication.

It ultimately leads you to a subscription landing page offering 4 free issues (very strong offer) plus attractive subscription prices and a choice of format - print or online access.
The promotion is clean and uncluttered with enough enticing benefits to attract readership.

Click on the image above for a larger version.