Small is the new big: Niche publications that are year-round revenue generators


To Matt Coen, co-founder and president of Second Street, and Ryan Dohrn, the president of Brain Swell Media, newspapers often have the wrong idea about “scale.” It doesn’t mean generating audience numbers on the level of Google and Facebook. Instead, it’s about finding niche interests that can be scaled into reliable revenue generators.

Consider Backyard Poultry, a magazine for a surely small audience: People who raise chickens in their backyard. It was so successful, Swift Communications bought it – and then extended the brand with niche publications and digital-only newsletters including Backyard Goats and Backyard Beekeeping.

“They figured out the niche model – and then they replicated it for other niches,” Dohrn said.

One key lesson: You don’t need to start with print. Start a newsletter and let that be proof of the business model.

“Small is the new big,” Dohrn said.

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