Masthead Blogs
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly
Thanks for joining me again. Do you like coffee? I love my coffee. Every morning I get a medium black with one sugar. As automatic as the sun rising, I get a coffee and it sets the tone for me for the rest of my day.

I have become so inextricably joined to it, that on those rare occasions when I’ve forgotten, my head starts pounding with caffeine withdrawal reminding me of my fix.This coffee chain has promised me a quality product and delivered it to me each time. They understand an important business strategy, and that is the value of a long time customer. They have nurtured this along slowly and ensured I was a regular consumer and they could gradually offer me new and different products they added to their mix.

Does your advertising do that? Are you consistently, persistently in front of your customers, and prospects on an ongoing basis? Researching their wants and needs, or does it resemble a hunt and kill for one big sale, then move on in search of a brand new customer all over again?

I’ve often felt that advertising for most clients, maybe you feel this way too, should be more akin to an ongoing dating process. Always trying to impress the girl with great service, a new look. A variety of enticements from chocolates and flowers, to dinners and shows, and always keeping it on that level.

She should hear a compliment from you everyday. How she looks. Pretty blouse. Flattering dress. Nice shoes. How she always captures your heart. With consistent reassurance and affection, she will keep coming back, and coming back, and staying with you. She will have eyes for no other.

This is how I think your advertising, in media and all other communications, should be deployed. Consistently. Persistently. Putting solutions in front of them which genuinely resolve a problem or make their job easier.

In our last message, we asked you to stay tuned for a simple step that can save you lots of money for your ad budget. And we have it for you today. But just before we reveal that, we want you to take notice of this, your advertising is more alike to dating than you perhaps realize. It should be relationship building. It needs time to nurture and develop, and you want to treat this as an ongoing process and not just a final sale, but a customer lifetime of sales.The hard part of course is keeping it fresh and relevant. No woman, or client, wants to be courted the same way day after day after day after…. Rather, it should be as varied as your resources will allow, but as consistent as possible to ensure she knows it could only come from you.

At the moment, in no particular order, your courting efforts may get started with an introductory post card, soon after that, a quick, informative letter, perhaps an e-mail, then a phone call to put a voice to the source.  Maybe it’s time to interject a light promotion and suggest a lunch together.

Follow that up with another letter solving a problem and then a further postcard, and maybe host a seminar, or step it up to more powerful media including newspaper, and on-line and radio and magazine and television.

And while all these elements are in play, you keep consistent, persistent awareness of who you are, what you offer, in front of them. Too many ad campaigns and dates I’m sure, go right for the jugular. They try for the big sales on the first date, and not enough time building the relationship to ensure loyalty is ongoing.

Taking a cue from my own advice, I’ll be back soon.

Stay tuned.

P.S.  This is such a staggering ploy it eludes me why more large and small advertisers don’t do it.

Want to save money on your advertising?  I mean ‘really save some money? 

Few other tactics work as well as buying early. When it’s February, start booking your Radio or TV time for October.  Your rates will be as much as 50%* cheaper than only booking your schedule two or three weeks ahead of time. Supply and demand. (* varies by station and market)
Monday, October 27, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly

So, how do I look? Is my tie on straight? Hair combed? Freshly shaved? Can you tell since you’re only reading me? Probably not. Do you care?  Maybe, but I doubt it. But perhaps you should because my manner of dress is an outward reflection of what’s going on inside.  Don’t discount the value of packaging!

When I look good, I feel good. If I feel good,  I believe I do better work, feeling the part. When you surround yourself with quality, style and class, you tend to reflect that back to your viewers, readers, listeners, no matter how they receive your messages. Even if my communication to you is non-visual, I will exude that aura of confidence in my voice, my writing, my every mannerism will be on display based on how I dressed. You can be certain your audience is looking for any and all clues to gauge your level of quality, and the calibre of performance they can expect to see or hear or read from you

We opened this series with the urging of making a good First Impression. That will always stand you in good stead. That does not, for a moment, give you license, to treat the 2nd impression and each one after that as inconsequential. You are advertising YOU. The brand we are developing is you, my reader, and we want to make certain you are on your game, all the time, in every media, to every viewer, listener, reader. The continuity of the brand from media to media is vital to sustaining the image, reputation, and viability now and moving forward.

You should use multiple media to communicate your message. But that message should be consistent from media to media to ensconce trust and confidence. Several clients through the years have developed some ‘cracker-jack’ campaigns. Powerful. Insightful. Traffic Stoppers. Sales Generators. Then they take that hard earned image and try to shoehorn it into a media which diminishes its cache overnight.

It can take a lifetime to build a good reputation, and only seconds to destroy it when positioning is changed from its intent. Here’s a brief story which may echo some familiarity for you:

Several years back, one computer printer client had a leg up on the competition due to a proprietary ink cartridge system. The colour reproduction was crisper, cleaner, and the nuances between shades could be distinguished more readily than ever. Impressive stuff.

• This was an exciting opportunity to showcase this in the richness of high end consumer and trade magazines. 

• Vibrant backlit outdoor media to demonstrate magnified detail.

• A foray into On-Line would have been a perfect launchpad.

While I pressed long and hard for these to be the media of choice, it was decided that daily newspapers would be the deliverer of this new eye-popping colour explosion printer. No one has more affection and appreciation of the longevity of newsprint than yours truly. However, the reproduction capabilities of colour on newsprint, while better now, left much to be desired at the time.Several pricey ads were rendered unreadable on newsprint. The older printing presses could not do justice to the look necessary to make this an enviable printer to purchase.

All the effort the creative team went to, to straighten their tie, and polish up the ad. And the production team combed their hair, making sure colour balances were their best. All that combined effort could not undo the misstep of utilizing a media which had better strengths elsewhere than colour reproduction. To suggest the end result was not flattering is being kind. Sadly, that was a disheartening first impression for this new product launch.

On the plus side, it showed the client, more powerfully than anything I could say, it demonstrated the need for media which has the integrity of the look of the brand at it’s core each time. Subsequent campaigns changed media mixes. Newsprint was still a vital part of the campaign, but was smartly used for the strength of text delivery and less for graphics at that time. Does this mean don’t use newspapers? Hardly. Despite erosion to the digital world, print media remain an important component to our communications. But it’s vital, I believe, that your media vehicles, whichever they may be, are well chosen and adaptable to the message. You must maintain the integrity of the brand, allowing it to shine through no matter how your audience experiences it.

Tell me please, Do you like my tie?

Stay tuned.

P.S.  The year 1964 brought The Beatles to America.  Musically nothing rivals them before or since. But the forward thinking statement of that year-perhaps decade-came from Marshall McLuhan who famously coined the phrase ‘The Medium Is The Message.’

Solidifying his reputation of being ahead of his time, he opined that not only is the content of the message you deliver important, the media you choose to deliver that message is as important as the content itself.  Smart guy this Mr. M

P.P.S One simple step could save you as much as 50% of your media spend. Want to know what it is?
Monday, October 27, 2014
57 Media Spikes
Dennis Kelly


The most amazing part of your advertising is the endless opportunities you have to announce YOU ARE HERE!

As we kick-off our series, I want you to always remember each media you choose is your platform. You have command of the floor, the stage, the spotlight and it’s your chance to shine. That product or service on profile is the embodiment of everything you are.

And it’s on display for everyone you target to see. Let’s make sure you always give yourself the chance to look your very best. This week’s ad of yours may be the only piece, yes, the only piece a candidate buyer ever sees or hears of you. We hope there’s more, BUT, it may be the one time they get to see you and absorb your message.

There will never be a second chance to make a good First Impression. Don’t ever give away a time at bat. Make sure the first time you’re out there, the 33rd time, the 116th time, you look exactly the way you want to be remembered.

That ad may be the only sliver of content, image, anyone sees of you. Think of how you want to be recollected. It might not be unfamiliar to you to hear someone vent to the effect, Why is there never enough time to do it right the first time, but there’s always plenty of time to do it over again? You’ve heard that too? Maybe said it yourself? Me too.

And it’s troubling when we are suddenly pressured to compose a week’s work into a frenzied afternoon to make the proposal ready. Deliver it, and when it’s at last reviewed 3 days later, a host of changes arise.

You then spend a week making all the client requested changes which would not have been necessary if you had had the time to plan it properly in the first place. That’s why I hearken back to the importance of making a good first impression.  It can’t be undone, and if it’s done well, it won’t need to be.

If done smartly, it can pave the way for a wonderful relationship with your friends, partner, sibling, employer, client. Critically, once nurtured, a good impression gains you an indulgence bank. Every once in a while you’ll have a hiccup. You know the ones I’m talking about.

The day that everything that could go wrong…did.  But with the security of your indulgence bank, people tend to be a bit more forgiving, understanding, and even helpful when things go off the rails. Simply because you put the time and effort into getting off to a good start.

You know well enough to not abuse it, but that support will carry you through good times and rough patches for you and your brand.

Through the course of this series I’ll share some media planning, and buying experiences and strategies I hope you’ll find advantageous to you and your business. They are exclusive to the recipients of this series.

Stay tuned.

P.S. One of the most forward thinking moments arrived in 1964. Here’s a hint, it was not The Beatles.

Thursday, October 23, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

The Winter 2015 issue of Fly Fusion is set to hit newsstands on November 24, 2014.

As a quarterly, the magazine has to make sure that every cover is particularly relevant to their audience.  The goal with each cover is to create something that generates a feeling of passionate excitement, what we call a “Yes Moment.”  It’s that nano-second where your pulse rate races and the adrenaline is released.

“With every cover, we try and learn from what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t.  We then apply those teachings to the cover at hand, ” says Chris Bird, Group Pulbisher.

I asked Jennifer Bird, Executive Publisher, what a “Fly Fusion moment is:  “The idea is to chase after relevance and those hard to reach ideas that always deliver. Beyond that it is an unmistakable brand and mark. Those who fly fish know it.” It’s that incredibly profound and almost religious experience of rapture that happens when you are engaged in a passion that you love, like watching snow flakes fall from the sky on the perfect Winter fishing trip.

So, what is a perfect cover?  I suppose a 100% sell-out would be one way, after the fact, of describing perfection.  Another more poetic and soulful way of defining it is: does the cover make your heart thump louder and faster?  Are subscribers thrilled when they get home from work and find the magazine in their mailbox?  Are advertisers proud to be in the issue? And do newsstand buyers step up and buy more copies than they ever have before?

“In 2010, 3 of 4 issues set new sales records. In 2011 3 of 4 issues set new records.  In 2012 2 of 4 issues set new records. In 2013 1 issue set a new record.  And so far in 2014  2 of 3 issues have set new records.  That’s 11 new record breakers in the past 5 years, so we set a very high standard for excellence,” says Scott Bullock, Newsstand Consultant.

So the question is:  Does this cover meet the test?  Time will tell, but we think the Fly Fusion “Yes Moment” has been achieved.  It’s almost like a perfect song, the kind that just makes you want to get up and dance.

Thursday, October 16, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
The Dec/Jan 2015 cover of Canada’s History magazine is set to hit newsstands on November 24th, 2014. The Last Spike cover, designed by James Gillespie, uses an iconic photograph to help sell the package of train stories. The cover quickly communicates the feature story…"radical clarity!"

This issue is being promoted heavily, as this time slot is typically the best each year.
Thursday, October 09, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Rule #30: If it works, keep doing it.
November 1973 

December 1981

 March 1986

 February 1993 

 July 2006
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock

This November, Legion Magazine will publish their 6th SIP.  Now is your chance to help pick the cover. Vote here.



Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Just in time for the Christmas gift giving season, Diva’s Guide to Dinner Parties will hit newsstands the first week of November.

Distributed by Coast to Coast Newsstand Services, the title will be on sale nationally in all the top retail chains, and in the U.S. it will be exclusively available at Barnes & Noble. The cover price is $14.99.
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Jaclyn Law


Hello, everyone! It’s been a while, but Editfish is back in action.

I'm kicking off October with a round-up of resources and events, since I keep hearing how much you like these. If you’ve come across something that may be handy to other editors and writers, please share in the comments.

Steven Pinker at the Toronto Reference Library

On the evening of Oct. 24, bestselling author Steven Pinker is talking about his new book, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, at the Toronto Reference Library’s Bram and Bluma Appel Salon. The event is free, but you’ll need to reserve a ticket. (Can’t make it? The library often shoots videos – check the website later.)

INSPIRE! Toronto International Book Fair

Toronto is getting a brand-new book fair, coming up on Nov. 13 to 16 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The schedule is jam-packed with author appearances, workshops and cultural showcases. Tickets cost a very reasonable $15, with free re-entry; writers’ workshops start at $45 and include admission to the fair.

PWAC Twitter chats

All writers are welcome to take part in a new series of Twitter chats hosted by the Professional Writers Association of Canada. The free chats are planned for the first Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. (starting Oct. 2; follow hashtag #PWACchat). A short podcast or video serves as a starting point for the discussion – this week’s focus is a video by Steve Slaunwhite about copywriting techniques. (Disclosure: I’m the president of PWAC Toronto Chapter.)

Ladies Learning Code

Not just for ladies, this not-for-profit group makes learning to code fun and accessible. Courses are available in several cities across Canada. If you’re looking to build your computer skills (for example, learning HTML or CSS, or how to use Photoshop), check out the schedule.


I just learned about this from another freelancer, writer/photographer Corbin Smith, at PWAC’s recent Culture Days event about freelancing. Hacks/Hackers is an international grassroots journalism organization with a mission to create a network of hacks (journos) and hackers (technologists) to reboot journalism. It hosts meetups, workshops, demo days and more. Canadian chapters include Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal.
Thursday, September 25, 2014
Covers Sell
Scott Bullock
Art Director Amy McCleverty has just unveiled her “refreshed” new look for Motorcycle Mojo. The title has been on a roll of late, with the last nine straight issues outselling the same issue from prior year.


Here’s what Amy had to say about the re-design:

“We are very excited about our new look, a refresh was overdue! Freelance art director, Gary Davidson got the ball rolling with the new direction. Bold new fonts, big images and more white space give the magazine a fresh, modern look. Motorcycles are our reader’s passion, so we are keeping it fun and the focus on beautiful bikes, amazing travel, and industry news. The cover is very different, with a white bar behind the logo, which we hope will make us stand out from the crowd on the newsstand. It also allows for a sky bar that is legible and room for more photos. The cover lines are bold, and lots of them.”

Firings, hirings, imminent closures, new launches, fallings-out, alliances—provide the lead in the space below and we’ll get to the bottom of it. While discretion is assured, our Tipline is anonymous.