Larry Genkin, publisher of Blogger & Podcaster magazine just tipped me off to a new deal he has signed with USA Today. It will be a “TV Guide” for bloggers and podcasters which will run on a weekly basis in both their print edition (reaching over 5 million readers daily) and the millions more who read usatoday.com.
Larry was also kind enough to answer a few follow-up questions from me in this interview:
JW: What's the goal of the new Blogger & Podcaster Guide?
LG: There are three goals I have for the Blogger & Podcaster Guide: 1) To move the audience for blogs and podcast beyond early adopters; 2) To make it easier for people to find blog/podcast content on the topics of interest to them. (Today this isn't a very easy task. Just go to a search engine and try to quickly find a relevant blog/podcast from the mish-mash of results that are served up); 3) Help bloggers and podcasters generate larger audiences so they can better monetize their efforts and more effectively accomplish their objectives.
JW: How did the discussions with USA Today get started?
LG: I've developed some close friendships there over the years and a week or so ago we were on the phone discussing ways they could extend their brand into new media. They are aware of what we’re doing with Blogger & Podcaster magazine and at some point during that conversation it hit both of us that there are over 62 million bloggers/podcasters in the world and the majority of them are interested in increasing their audience size. Giving them access to the 5 million+ readers of the USA Today or 10 million+ visitors to usatoday.com would be a dream come true. I felt like I got whacked over the head with the 'obvious' stick
JW: How will the content be built? Will there be any sort of community involvement in the gathering and management of the selections?
LG: It'll be purely democratic, or maybe I should say capitalistic. You get in by paying for your listing, so there won't be any favoritism and anyone can get in. The guide will run weekly and Blogger & Podcaster Magazine will be tasked with filling a set amount of space per issue. We're weighing either awarding listings on a first come, first served basis or giving preference to those making a longer term commitment. I've made it clear, and USA Today truly understands, that bloggers and podcasters don't have Microsoft-esque marketing budgets. We're working closely together to bring down the costs as low as possible. It's a challenge because newspapers have such high fixed cost structures. Just the printing bill is staggering. But, on the other hand, they have such a huge audience that companies line up daily to pay well over $100,000 for a full page ad to reach the same exact audience we'll be reaching with the Blogger & Podcaster Guide.
JW: Where do you think the pricing will come in at?
LG: No promises, but we’re working to offer both the full national circulation (5,200,000 readers daily) and usatoday.com (10,400,000 unique readers daily) combined for under $300. If we can pull this off, by any metric it will be one of the best promotional values/opportunities of all time. In one fell swoop it'll bring blogging and podcasting to the masses and give bloggers/podcasters a cost effective promotional vehicle to generate the traffic necessary to achieve their business goals.