Specializing in Circulation and Audience Development
Rebecca Sterner is an experienced magazine consultant who helps publishers become more profitable, sell more subscriptions, and build more effective organizations.
Magazine Consulting Services Offered:
- Full project management for circulation promotions including direct mail, email, web landing pages, renewal series, insert cards, requalification campaigns, and other strategic and tactical services to market your magazine.
- Circulation consulting for consumer and B2B titles.
- Vendor evaluations, such as fulfillment RFP and bid analysis.
- Evaluation and analysis of circulation activities.
- Guidance and planning for new magazine launches.
- Strategic leadership for magazine publishers undergoing significant changes, such as succession planning, adopting new digital strategies, and staff reorganizations.
If you’re ready to talk to a magazine consultant
Why Publishers Hire Magazine Consultants
- They have intense short-term projects requiring specialized skills not present in current staff
- Something isn’t working right and they need trouble-shooting and expert recommendations to improve things
- They want to improve the organization and need help defining best practices
- They like the regular discipline of checking in with an objective magazine consultant to review results and make recommendations.
How do Magazine Consultants Charge for Their Work?
There are three ways that magazine consultants charge for their work:
- Retainer – For a defined period (such as a year), the consultant will bill an agreed-upon fee each month. This is typically done for clients who want a long-term relationship, and the freedom to contact the consultant frequently. Clients on retainer enjoy the magazine consultant’s “thinking time.” Clients can budget their consulting fees so that they are consistent throughout the fiscal year.
- Project – Usually the client receives a proposal that defines the scope of the project, the deadlines and “deliverables.” The client may be asked to pay a portion of the project fee up front, with the remainder due upon completion of the project. Typically, project fees make sense for producing marketing materials (like a direct mail piece or renewal series) and for RFPs and vendor evaluations.
- Hourly – The consultant will bill the client for each hour spent on their behalf, like an attorney or an accountant. At the conclusion of each month, the consultant submits the bill and a description of the hours spent on the client’s behalf.
In addition, magazine consultants charge their clients for travel when needed and other expenses incurred on the client’s behalf (such as shipping costs).
Rebecca Sterner will work with you to determine which billing method makes the most sense for your needs. There are never any surprises on the charges you will be billed, because you will receive a proposal for the work in advance. The proposal will be based on understanding your needs and coming up with an arrangement that works well on both sides. All travel or additional costs will be cleared with you in advance.
Before you Retain a Magazine Consultant:
To get the most value from your relationship with your consultant you need to be able to be honest and open about what is going on in your business. And that, of course, requires the consultant to hold your sensitive information in confidence. In addition to being trustworthy, your consultant should have the following traits:
Demonstrated experience in the kind of publishing you do
Any magazine consultant you are considering should be able to provide this information. Be sure to check with their references.
Proof of success in the kind of work you need done
Magazine consultants should be able to share a little about their past successes, and put you in touch with the clients on those projects. Call their past clients to understand what role the magazine consultant played in the success.
A sense of “calling” as a magazine consultant
Is the magazine consultant you’re considering doing the work because they were forced into it after losing their job? Are they consulting just until they find a “real” job?
A personality you can work with
Sure, you should like your magazine consultant. But remember that sometimes the consultant will have to tell you things that might be uncomfortable to hear, or work with under-performing staffers in a sensitive way. Find out from client references whether the consultant can be trusted to work with you in a style that is appropriate for your and your staff.
Rebecca Sterner considers her role as a magazine publishing consultant to be her calling. She has been helping magazine publishers since 1987 to become more profitable and more successful.
If you’re ready to talk to a magazine consultant: