the advertising conundrum

UPPERCASE magazine has never been a magazine in which ad sales drive its success (or influence its content!) From the beginning, my goal was that readers—subscribers and single issue purchasers—would be the base for its financial stability. Thankfully, we have found a loyal foundation of subscribers. As I write this, Jocelyn is preparing the master mailing list and I am happy to report that we have just over 3000 subscriber names on the mailing of #19. This subscription money pays for our print bills and distribution costs.

Over the years, we have not been without advertising support though—we have had full page ads in the inside front and back covers over the years. The revenue generated by these "bookend" ads have gone towards paying our roster of contributing writers, illustrators and photographers. We have actively sought advertising partners, but we simply have had no luck in garnering more long-term partnerships. Perhaps because our style isn't the typical "pushy ad sales" way. Perhaps because our magazine's content is so unique and eclectic, advertisers don't see how they fit in. Perhaps because we are based in Canada and not the USA. Perhaps because we can't afford to have a full time person on ad sales. Perhaps because our editorial content cannot be influenced by advertisers. Perhaps because we're not a magazine that highlights big brands and a consumer lifestyle. Perhaps.

We appreciate the companies who have placed ads throughout the years; they show an understanding of the culture of our community of readers. We are grateful for the smaller advertisements through the Peeps and Marketplace in each issue. However, when it comes down to dollars and cents, it is the "prime real estate" of the full page ad space that needs to be sold to justify the cost of time and salary to woo advertisers in the first place, and also provide the cushion we need to pay contributors. We are still looking to find two visionary companies who see the value of print advertising coupled with social media access to our engaged and enthusiastic readership. We are still open to advertisers who are the right fit.

However, as a print magazine, we find that it is increasingly difficult to sell print ads. At this point, at almost five years in, I have to say that it is nearly impossible! Advertisers nowadays are interested in tracking click-throughs and metrics and prefer online placements and digital publications. Numerous conversations with potential partners have told us as much.

We are considering implementing ads in the sidebar of the blog to offset the lost revenue. I would like to know what you think about ads and the UPPERCASE blog.

Your responses to this survey will help us improve this website and our magazine—and maybe help us navigate a way into selling ads that work for the advertisers, the magazine AND our readers.

Thank you. 

publisher / editor / designer