Q&A with Brad RIng

What prompted you to get in touch with us in the first place?  What needs did you have?

For a few years now I’ve been on the hunt looking for a partner to help my company navigate how to better monetize all the niche evergreen content we have built through decades of publishing into the hobbies of homebrewing and home winemaking. While our digital replica program has been moderately profitable, I knew there had to be a better way to use all of our content to reach a broader audience digitally and make money by doing so. Coming up through the magazine industry while it was still print-centric I needed some digital expertise to help me realize these goals of repurposing good niche content for a new digital paid audience.

Brad Ring, Publisher
Battenkill Communications

What other options did you consider?  Why did you end up choosing Sterling Woods?

I did look at a few other digital consulting groups working within the magazine publishing field as well as straight web companies. Why I chose Sterling Woods is they had recent real-life experience on the staff of niche publishers moving more aggressively and profitably into the digital membership space. I have always admired the job America’s Test Kitchen has done across their print, broadcast, and digital properties and now I got to work with someone who helped lead that company and wasn’t just a consultant who hasn’t work personally in the publishing field for quite sometime. I also found Sterling Woods to be the most research-based outfit I was considering using our actual customers to help decide about the direction of our digital projects versus a one-size-fit-all approach I got from other companies.

What have you enjoyed about working with us?

Rob and his staff are not only very knowledge, but also very responsive and easy to work alongside. It is more of a collaborative partnering approach. He and his crew will work hard for you – and very importantly – with you. 

What was the most impressive business result that you have achieved through our partnership so far?

Three months into our new digital membership program and we’ve already exceeded the revenues generated by our former digital replica subscription program for the entire previous year. And I feel we haven’t even yet scratched the surface on the potential audience. These new revenues generated by the digital membership program are based on the existing asset of our content we’ve always had and can now monetize to a worldwide audience. In fact one surprise is how much of our new revenues are coming from outside North America opening up a wider customer base for us.

What was an unexpected benefit of working together?

I gained a CTO-type brain trust I would never be able to afford otherwise – and someone with the ability to not only understand the digital backbone needed for a project like this, but someone who truly understands niche publishing as the jumping off point.

What is your vision for the future of our relationship?

One of Rob’s main strengths is his ability to analyze trends and the endless stream of data points form a digital effort like the one we’ve launched. I look forward to Rob making sense of all these numbers to continuing to refine and optimize our efforts to make us that much more profitable and serve our niche audience better and better.

If someone was considering working with us, what would you say to them?

The best testimony I would give after working on one digital membership launch with Sterling Woods and now working on a second is that if given the chance to wind back the clock and now knowing what I know about working with Rob and his team is that I would certainly hire them again without hesitation. It has been a great experience of working alongside them and learning from them over the last year.

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