4 Ingredients for Growing Journal Income

Historically, when it comes to corporate sales, the most successful journals and societies were in the Health Sciences. However, Wiley is making changes to how we work in the pharmaceutical industry and creating opportunities to increase corporate sales for more journals. As the world becomes more digital and content consumption behaviors change there are more opportunities than ever to engage with a journal’s readers. This means more opportunities to create a compelling value proposition for a corporate partner. 

When a society outside of Health Sciences comes to us and says they want to learn how to increase corporate sales, they’re usually thinking that they need to bring more advertising to their journal. Often though, the geographical circulation of the journal is too broad or too small to give a good return on investment to an advertiser. In these cases the focus should be less on advertising and more on opportunities where the corporate sponsor gets a good return on their investment, but the journal’s readers get value as well. The value proposition to your readers is key here, because corporates are looking for engaged audiences – greater engagement translates to a greater return on investment. It’s not always a quick win, but investing time in understanding what the sponsor’s goals are will often yield bigger returns for them and for your organization. We’ve defined four ingredients for success to achieve more commercial growth for your journal:

1. Interest in your market.

If there isn’t commercial spending in some form within your field, then the money isn’t going to just appear. Think creatively about where there might be commercial interest related to your publications.

2. A solution-focused sales team.

We’ve spent the last four years at Wiley adapting and training our sales team to move from being transactional-based to an account management structure with a solution selling focus. With solution selling the salesperson doesn’t just promote an existing product, but instead focuses on the customer's problems and addresses these with an appropriate combination of products and services. This means it is important when working with a sponsor to understand their aims and objectives.

3. An understanding of your target audience.

Know who your members are. Know who your readers are and what they’re looking for so you can deliver targeted messaging. Because corporations are focused on return on investment, you need to show that you can engage the people that they want to get their message to.

4. Channels to deliver the message.

How are you delivering the message to readers? Formats have really changed over the last 4-5 years, moving beyond the standard reprints, advertisements and supplements to things like video and social media campaigns.  

Even in cases where a journal isn’t of general commercial interest, sponsors may still be interested in a single article, a piece of non-journal content or a talk at a conference, for example. Always be proactive by bringing opportunities like this to the corporation so they can be maximized.

If you see possibilities for commercial interest, start a conversation with your journal manager and work with them to see where the benefits are for both the corporation and your readers. Explore different formats such as infographics, social campaigns and videos to maximize engagement. Work with your solution-based sales team to go in and talk to potential third-party sponsors about what they want and what their objectives are. But most importantly, have a deep understanding of your audience. The key to success is understanding the needs of all parties and bringing that information together to deliver a solution. If you do all of this, the return on investment has much more potential.

About the Author

Gavin Sharrock

Director, Operations and Business Development, Wiley // Gavin Sharrock, Business Development Director, Society Services Team, started his career at Wiley (formerly Blackwell Publishing) as a Production Editor in Content Management, before moving on to become a JPM and then a Publisher in Editorial, and then moving into business development in the Business Innovations team. He has considerable experience in digital product development in a publishing environment, and in working with corporate clients, particularly in the Pharma industry. He now works in the Society Services Team and is currently responsible for evolving Wiley's corporate sales and B2B revenue offerings, by scaling our capabilities through our society and association partners.

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