The end of the year is about rest and relaxation. But it’s also a good time for reflection. Take some time out from the day-to-day of your business can give you the space you need to think more objectively about what works and what doesn’t. Here are a few questions to get the cogs turning.
The end of the year can mean a lot of things for media brands. Most of us scramble to meet deadlines or make sales before the holidays hit while (in a normal year) balancing never-ending Christmas functions with staff, clients, and suppliers.
But if you can fit it in, the end of the year – or the start of the new year – is also a great time to reflect on how your business has performed over the last 12 months, plus any improvements you could make over the next year.
I know, holidays are for family, friends and relaxing. But sometimes the holidays give you the space you need to take a good, hard, objective review of how you run your business.
Here are 29 questions to get your brain ticking over the holidays.
- What was your average 2020 client spend? How does this compare to previous years, and what can you do to increase this in 2021?
- Which clients have been your top supporters in 2020? Are there similarities between them – are they from the same industry segment, of a similar size, have similar marketing needs? Is there a new product that you could consider in the new year to provide more value for these clients and increase their spend?
- Is there a relevant industry segment that doesn’t currently support your brand with advertising? What media are they engaging with? What can you do to build a relationship with these prospects?
- Are there other ways that you could work with your clients? Are there options to collaborate or enter brand partnerships? Think outside the box.
- What was your sales team’s call to close ratio over the year? Are there improvements that can be made to this? Are there some team members that are performing better than others? How can they help the rest of the team?
- Delve into your Google Analytics and Google Search Console data – how has your website traffic performed over 2020? Did you experience any peaks? What internal and external factors caused these? What topics delivered the most traffic and/or engagement?
- Review your planned editorial features for the coming year – are they relevant in the current climate? Are there any new features worth considering based on your analysis of your clients’ industry segments?
- How does your audience/readership engage with your brand? What are their media consumption habits? Are you reaching them in the right places?
- Are there ways that you can repurpose your content across different channels to get the most out of your content?
- What does your editorial workflow look like? Are there ways that you can be more efficient?
Marketing, subscriptions, and list development
- What is your point of difference and are you effectively communicating this across your channels and in your marketing messages?
- Are there new ways that you can build trust and credibility in 2021? Think about how your target industry or area of interest been impacted over the last 12 months. What is forecast for the next 12 months? How is this likely to impact your business, and how can you prepare or adapt your marketing message (and offering)?
- Review your email subscription list. How have your key engagement metrics performed over time? What can you do to increase these in 2021? How can you categorise or segment your email subscribers to deliver them more personalised information and better results for your advertisers?
- Review your print subscription list. How does this differ from your email subscription list? How can you improve your subscription marketing? If you are a controlled circulation magazine, schedule a project to review your subscription list in detail – considering industry segments reached, contacts to remove, and contacts to add.
- Are you reaching the right audience? Does your audience align with who your clients are trying to reach? Is there a particular type of subscriber that’s relevant to your content but not subscribed? How can you reach and engage with this audience?
- Review your tools and systems that your team uses to do their job. Are there improvements or efficiencies that can be made? Are there new technologies or integrations available to help?
- What are the strengths and weaknesses of your team? What are the areas where they need to upskill? How can you help with their development in these areas? Do you need to consider additional hires?
- Consider the metrics that you want to measure in your business. Are your tools and systems set up to give you the insights that you need?
- 2020 has been a difficult year for some – revenues have decreased due to the economic pressures COVID-19 has placed on some industries. That’s ok. When considering your financial position, focus on the gross and net profit that your brands are delivering. Do you have a sustainable profit margin? Do you need to make any changes in 2021 to improve it?
- If you publish a print magazine, what is your average revenue per page per edition? Establish a benchmark or goal for this and track it over time.
- Think objectively about your brand’s market position and relative market share. Where do you sit? How can you maximise your brand?
- What are your competitors doing well and how are they doing it? Is this an area that you can improve?
- What type of content are your competitors’ brands delivering? What are they doing well? Where do they lack? How does this compare to your content?
- What products or channels are your competitors offering to their clients? Do some research on whether this is increasing the spend of their existing clients, or expanding their client base. Is there scope for you to think about additional products or services too?
- What are your competitors’ rates and inclusions? Are they similar to yours? How do they position their brand within their media kit and other marketing channels?
- Review your competitors’ media channels for a rough estimation of their revenue across print and online. What are they making per print edition? Which of their editorial features is performing best? What’s their average monthly online revenue? Is there a crossover between the clients that are advertising in print and online?
- Use an SEO tool to compare the amount of traffic your competitors are receiving to their websites, and what content their audience is engaging with most.
- What advertisers are supporting your competitors’ brands? Are there similarities between them – same industry segment, etc.? How does this differ from your client segments?
- Reflecting on your findings from the above questions – think about how you can further define your point of difference and marketing message from your competitors.
Happy holidays 😉