Selling full-page advertising can be a challenge for small and independent publishers these days. When we first launched Sweet Paul Magazine as a print quarterly in 2009 we had a small core group of advertisers who supported us in our early efforts. Companies like Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day still had print budgets to invest in full page advertising for small magazines like Sweet Paul. We loved this period and grew wonderful long-term relationships with brands we admired.
Over the years print budgets got smaller and smaller. We found it to be very challenging to sell ads to the same folks who had supported us in the past. At the same time the print budgets were disappearing, influencer budgets were growing. At this point, we realized that what we needed to do to fill our magazine with beautiful ad content was to stop trying to sell ads and start selling Sweet Paul as an influencer. I began crafting content development pitches for brands we loved and bonusing pages of advertising in our print and online magazines instead.Now, nearly all of the advertising that we publish in Sweet Paul is based on a content development project. We develop recipes and craft projects, shoot gorgeous photo and video content, design advertorial pages in the magazine that resonate with our readers, and then give the content to the advertiser to use as they please. Not only has this allowed us to maintain and grow our advertising program, but it’s also allowed us to provide our readers with more content that they have come to expect from Sweet Paul.