Murray founded The Mail, an angel funded start up publication covering performance marketing and mobile marketing, in 2013. Murray is an advisor to a number of Bay Area startups, such as VigLink. In 2011, Wiley published his book “Online Marketing: A User’s Manual.” Born in England, Murray moved to the USA in 2011 and was subsequently recognized by the US government as an alien of extraordinary ability.
Murray, tell me about the The Mail?
The Mail is a publication dedicated to online marketing, more specifically performance marketing. It covers everything from Email marketing, mobile marketing, and lead generation, to Facebook ads and content marketing. I previously worked with a competitive publication and have been working in the space for 10 years.
What is your business model?
First and foremost, it’s creating great content that resonates with our audience. You have to know what they’re interested in and what they want to read about. If you want to run a the publication as a business, you have to focus on growing an audience that advertisers want to connect with. Banner ads can bring in good income, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Advertisers want access to your audience and you need to create opportunities for them—sponsored content series are a great way of doing this. This can be content that they create, or content that you help them make—you know your audience best and understand what resonates with them, so you may be the best person to make that happen for them. An example of this would be companies that sponsor you to travel to an event to shoot interviews, or support a real life event by purchasing a sponsorship for which you bring an audience and provide media coverage.
How do you grow your audience?
Start with people you know and have met face to face. Telling the people that you know will love your content about your site is the first place to start. Ask them to join your Email list and share your content. Interviewing people with a large audience of their own, in a relevant industry or network also works well. If they share your content that can help bring in a lot of new readers who will then discover more about your site and keep coming back. Sharing your content on social media can also do a lot to grow your audience and you should not be afraid to pay to promote your content through promoted posts on Facebook and Twitter.
Partnering with others should not be overlooked either—becoming a media partner for events where people can register for your publication’s newsletter as they register for the event will grow your audience fast.
What advice would you have for someone starting a publication?
Stand out as an expert that people can look to as the go-to source of information. If people know and trust your content then they will keep coming back. Plus, quality content will also provide a compelling reason for people to partner with you and advertise on your site.
What is the future of online publications?
It’s not just about the site—it’s about the audience you can reach. Publications have assets beyond their specific websites, in fact, many launch just as an iPad app without even having a traditional website. A Facebook page, YouTube channel, or presence on Twitter can be as much a center for engagement as a main website and can be monetized in similar ways to a publication, with ads and promoted content