Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 16th 2015 Contents Q.: I've always wanted to publish a
craft magazine; a small, exclusive
print publication that provides
readers with a tactile experience.
But these days, I'm having doubts.
I've been told that a print publica-
tion wouldn't be feasible, thanks to
the success of digital publishing.
Should I give up on this dream?
Also, when I'm promoting this
business, would it be essential for
me to know successful people who
can give it a boost? I feel that my
previous business's demise (it was
a wholesale shirt-printing enter-
prise) was due to my lack of con-
nections. Is it possible for a nobody
who doesn't know anyone to suc-
- Abigail Azul, Philippines
The decision about whether
to go digital is a question
that business owners in
industries that don t seem
even remotely tech-oriented
are tackling. After all, the
thinking goes, if you re not online, you re
nowhere. This outlook is particularly com-
mon in the publishing industry. But I don t
believe it s always the case.
First, if your dream is to publish a tra-
ditional magazine, you should do it---after
doing your research. While many print pub-
lications have gone under, some have stayed
with print and remained successful, and
you should find out why and how you can
apply those lessons in your market. Once
you re oriented, you can make print work---
you ll just need to work to make it work.
Abigail, as you go forward with your pub-
lication, focus on creating a product that
people can genuinely benefit from; and that
they want. If you get that right, you will
have a product that can develop a loyal fol-
One of the most important things that
you should work on from the outset is your
marketing and public relations efforts. Some
people claim that PR is dead, but I disagree
- all that has changed is the methods. Even
if you have all the money in the world to
spend, the best way to market your business
and get eyes on your product is to establish
a social media presence.
Most people interact on social media these
days, and every big brand (including Virgin),
many CEOs and pretty much everyone in
entertainment has a presence. (Even my 91-
year-old mother uses Twitter!)
So whether you publish a physical mag-
azine or a digital one, be sure to set up Face-
book, Twitter and Instagram accounts in
order to showcase it. Invite your friends to
JULY 16 • 2015 www.guardian.co.tt BUSINESS GUARDIAN
COMMENTARY | BG13
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follow you, and ask them to encourage their friends
to follow you as well. Use hashtags to join conver-
sations. Follow other pages and people. This social
interaction will help you build a community, and can
drive your sales.
Social media works because it puts products and
information in front of the right people. And even
if you don t know anyone who might qualify as estab-
lished or prominent or successful, you will be surprised
at whom you can reach. So don t think of yourself
as a nobody. Today, everyone can have a voice, and
anyone can win the support of a community. You ve
Also, keep in mind that the right people to promote
your brand aren t necessarily famous. In fact, the
worst thing you can do is link your brand to someone
purely because they are a celebrity. Finding the right
champions for your brand can take a lot of thought,
so be sure to get to know a lot about potential work
and goals. Ask yourself: Whose values best align with
If you re looking to publish a craft magazine, for
instance, then perhaps the best place to start looking
is Pinterest. (It s not an area that I have explored in
detail, but I hear it s wonderful for artsy types who
are looking for inspiration.) Once you have decided
on a few people who you think would love your mag-
azine and who your potential readers might listen
to, reach out and tell them about it. Because if your
product resonates with the right people in an appro-
priate community, they will start up a conversation
about it, and then you should be able to kick back
and watch your product s popularity explode.
I would also advise making sure that your brand
has a purpose beyond making money; any business
today can, and should, be a force for doing good.
Couple social conscience with social media, and you ll
be farther along on the track to success.
In the end, Abigail, it s always best to pursue your
dreams. You ll never know what would have happened
if you don t give it a go. But if you try your hardest
to succeed and things don t work out, don t think
of failure as an entirely bad thing. Consider it a lesson,
and learn from it. Remember: Failure is not a dead
end. It s only a hurdle.
(Richard Branson is the founder of the Virgin Group and companies
such as Virgin Atlantic, Virgin America, Virgin Mobile and Virgin
Active. He maintains a blog at www.virgin.com/richard-branson/blog.
You can follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/richardbranson. To learn
more about the Virgin Group: www.virgin.com.)
(Questions from readers will be answered in future columns.
Please send them to RichardBranson@nytimes.com. Please include
your name, country, e-mail address and the name of the website
or publication where you read the column.)
Do you really need to go digital?
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