"The Printed Blog" - The Birth of Blog Driven Publishing
While continuing our quest into the topic of BLOGGING… and what BLOGS really are… and what importance they have in the way we communicate and network on the Internet today - meaning as an integral part of our Marketing and Publishing efforts for building our Business - I came across a most amazing story of a true entrepreneur who surely sees a glass half full even if others think it’s close to being empty.
IMAGINE… that with all the opinion leaders out there saying that traditional Newspapers are out of business or almost, here you have a Publisher rethinking the Daily:
"It’s Free and Printed and Has Blogs All Over"
Would you believe this? Well… you better … and this guy - Joshua Karp, publisher of "The Printed Blog" not only created one new company… he actually plans to start a whole range of new ones… and in fact and according to what Claire Cain Miller wrote in the New York Times on January 22, 2009, ". . . On Tuesday, the first issues containing blog posts and advertising, will appear in Chicago and San Francisco for free distribution."
Which left me with a staggering WOW in my inquisitive mind and an urgent need to know more about this amazing story and open up the discussion after presenting it to YOU!
Photo: by Peter Wynn Thompson for The New York Times
Featuring: Joshua Karp, the Publisher of ‘The Printed Blog’, at his office. Visualize him surrounded by several people working for "The Printed Blog" on their personal laptops - all volunteers by the way - WOW again! And yes, so far no less than about 300 blogs have given their permission to have their work published!
What this means?
"The Printed Blog" doesn’t need to pay reporters - in other words, huge savings!
Now that’s smart - isn’t it?
"The Printed Blog" - The Birth of Blog Driven Publishing
If you go to "The Printed Blog" Blog… this is what you will be reading:
"The Printed Blog The Printed Blog seeks to change the way people share and interact with news from the world around them. We hope to play a pivotal role in reversing the fortunes of the sinking newspaper industry with this new media project. But we can’t do it alone! Since our emphasis is on user-generated content rather than top-down reporting, this website is designed to function as YOUR HUB for connecting us with blogs, articles, photography, music, events and other content that YOU deem worthy of sharing with your own community."
In the TOP Bar you will find information about the Company - a bit more on that in a minute -, News & Events, Submit Content, Advertise, Contact Us, CAREERS!!! and… Blog.
I invite you to check this out as a matter of interest… given the fact that many of us who have followed "The Path to Profitability" with YCADEMY in 2008 have become blogging enthusiasts with a zest for more exposure and adventure to play out the cards of superior knowledge and skills we’ve gathered in this field.
And of course I’m interested in the valued input and opinion of Blogging & Publishing Wizard Yorgo Nestoridis - creator of the most effective Blogging Scripts on the Internet, namely the highly sophisticated SEMIOMANTICS Editions as well as their ‘lite & cheap’ yet super efficient version when it comes to achieving TOP 10 positions on Google fast on any given niche keyword: YORGOO Blaster.
Not only because of his intrinsic knowledge about Blogging, Media and Publishing, but also a rare capability of quickly X-raying any given business model for it’s chances for success - offline and online - as well as possible hidden agendas. In view of the fierce success in the Social Networking arena combined with a flood of blogging amateurs and pros, this refreshing twist could give rise to some wildly interesting thoughts and trigger our imagination for thinking more freely out of the box!
Let me give you a bit of the thought-provoking material as to "The Printed Blog" - just to round off your personal picture and insight for an informed opinion - and to also read it in the light of what you yourself are planning when it comes to Blogging.
May I suggest you also click on the link above to take a look at the revealing blog itself. As you will notice, the basic idea of this Chicago start-up is to reprint blog posts by permission on traditional paper, spice them up with an array of local ads and distribute the resulting publications in big cities - for FREE.
More info directly from Claire Cain Miller, whereas I inserted an emphasis here and there myself to trigger your thinking muscles - especially after the discussions we just had . . . [start quote]:
"The first issues of this Internet-era penny-saver will appear in Chicago and San Francisco on Tuesday. They will start as weeklies, but Joshua Karp, the founder and publisher, hopes eventually to publish free neighborhood editions of The Printed Blog twice a day in many cities around the country.
“We are trying to be the first daily newspaper comprised entirely of blogs and other user-generated content,” he said. “There were so many techniques that I’ve seen working online that maybe I could apply to the print industry.”
As pay newspapers lose readers to the Internet, where they can read the same articles without charge, many free papers have held their own.
“The free newspaper business model is still very workable,” said David Cohen, a founder of Silicon Valley Community Newspapers, a group of free weeklies south of San Francisco that was sold to Knight Ridder in 2005 and is now owned by MediaNews. “There’s a huge readership that wants the local news, and local businesses tend to increase their advertising in bad times because they have to capture people’s attention.”
Still, Mr. Karp does not have to look far to see the difficulties of being successful in the newspaper business these days. The Tribune Company, which publishes The Chicago Tribune and its free daily, RedEye, filed for bankruptcy protection in December.
Mr. Karp is betting he can make his business work by combining the best of the print and Web models.
The Printed Blog will publish blog posts alongside other Weblike content, like user-submitted photographs and readers’ comments. The paper will be printed on three or four 11-by-17-inch sheets of white paper and laid out like a blog instead of in columns.
Users will eventually be able to log on to its site, theprintedblog.com, to choose which blogs they want in their edition, and editors will decide which posts make the paper. A city the size of Chicago could have 50 separate editions tailored to individual neighborhoods.
The Printed Blog also expects to duck many of the major costs that make traditional newspapers expensive to produce. The company will put commercial printers in the homes of its distributors, avoiding the circulation costs of papers with large, central printing presses. Advertisers will eventually be able to buy ads on the Web site, so The Printed Blog will not need to employ many sales people.
By publishing articles written by bloggers who are already diligently covering topics as varied as town politics and local fashion, Mr. Karp can slash one of the biggest expenses of a newspaper: reporters. So far, 300 bloggers have given The Printed Blog permission to publish their work for a share of the ad revenue, including small-audience bloggers in Chicago and nationally known blogs like Daily Kos.
The arrangement is mutually beneficial, said Lauren Dimet Waters, editor in chief of Second City Style, a Chicago blog that has agreed to be reprinted. “If they can make money off of our blog, I can’t imagine we wouldn’t, too, because of the exposure,” she said. “If it gets us exposure to 20 new people, then I’ll be happy.”
Mr. Karp will still need to pay for paper, ink and contractors to print and distribute the papers. Those costs add up, which is one reason the Internet spawned bloggers in the first place.
Advertising remains print’s one great advantage over Web publications: advertisers will pay much more for print ads than for online ones. Mr. Karp aims to sell 200 ads an issue. The Printed Blog will charge $5 to $10 for classifieds and $15 to $25 for business ads that reach 1,000 readers.
Mr. Karp, who previously founded a software company called Freerain Systems and sold it to ESM Solutions in 2007, has invested $15,000 in The Printed Blog. He receives free office space from the Illinois Technology Association, and his 10 staff members are volunteers who work on their personal laptops. He plans to raise venture capital to pay employee salaries and eventually expand.
Mr. Karp expects that each issue, to be distributed twice a day to 1,000 people, will eventually have enough ads to earn a profit of $750 to $1,500 a week. (In comparison, Mr. Cohen said that a typical weekly edition of one of the free Silicon Valley papers that reached about 20,000 people would cost about $10,000 to produce, with an operating profit margin of 11 percent to 15 percent.)
Advertisers will like The Printed Blog, Mr. Karp said, because it is hyper-local. “A clothing boutique or snow removal service can advertise to the 2,000 people who are most likely to buy the service, as opposed to many, many more,” he said.
About 15 advertisers have signed on for the first issue, including Flowerpetal.com, a florist in Chicago. “The great thing about it is you can change your pitch based on different neighborhoods,” said Brian Crummy, Flowerpetal.com’s founder.
Ads from local businesses are one reason that free dailies have been a rare bright spot in the newspaper industry. Unlike struggling car companies and department stores, which are mainstay advertisers of metropolitan dailies, small businesses have increased their ad spending during the recession, several publishers said.
“All growth in the newspaper industry for the last 20 years has been in free papers, and the fastest-growing segment of that for the last five years has been in free dailies,” said H. Harrison Cochran, publisher of The Aurora Sentinel in Colorado and past president of Suburban Newspapers of America.
Still, the economic crisis has not spared free papers. In November, free dailies in Kitsap County, Wash.; Eureka, Calif.; and Norfolk, Va., closed. In December, the three-year-old Bluffton Today in Bluffton, S.C., started charging for the paper because of falling advertising and rising costs of ink and newsprint. Its circulation has since shrunk to 6,500, from 15,000, Tim Anderson, the paper’s publisher, said.
Mr. Cohen, who was recently laid off by MediaNews, said The Printed Blog’s potential challenges would be magnified by its plan to publish dozens of niche papers. “It just sounds daunting,” he said. “To me, that’s why the Internet was invented.” [End quote]
In view of some of our YCADEMY Members planning local Online Magazines, Directories or the like… the above is important food for thought.
Personally, I think this very targeted exchange … or let’s rather call it FLOW between online and offline channels has great merits and I could imagine it being warmly welcomed by fast growing as well as loyal readerships. It also offers serious and consistent Niche Bloggers who have built Authority - while still struggling financially - a larger exposure to more readers and, ultimately, a REAL income. While many good ideas and projects start with the enthusiastic and generous input of volunteers - and we don’t need to look far for that - there comes a time when ‘time is cash, time is money’ and I could imagine Mr. Karp could have a winning twist here where Advertising fulfills one of its extremely important yet silent roles: to finance Culture & Connectedness in the traditional sense.
We’ll be keeping an eye on developments!