This business has a “freesheet” publishing model, i.e. given away to the audience without a cover price and subsequently they are 100% dependent on advertising and sponsorship revenue. Unlike most other “freesheets” however they don’t use street distribution (tube and train stations) or retail outlets to distribute publications.
Instead they pay broadsheets a fee to print and distribute it. Some of that fee is cost of paper; some of it is profit. Profit is made by keeping 100% of the commercial revenue on each report, less the costs (print, editing, images, design and journalists).
Unlike most other media companies, this client doesn’t have a separation between the “creators” and the “revenue generators”. Instead Publishing Managers are tasked with the responsibility of doing both. This therefore includes researching “information gaps” to find interesting report ideas and then selecting and assembling the team that is going to help them create it (Editor, 5-8 writers etc.) before going out to market to raise the revenue.
The reason they are structured in this way, aside from being a very interesting and varied job, is that it gives “revenue generators” 100% product knowledge, which leads to marketplace credibility.
Publishing Managers are tasked with creating 5 different commercial reports per 12 months.
When you start you will receive 2 weeks of comprehensive training from the Managing Director, Head of Publishing, Head of Marketing, Production Manager, Head of Digital and Head of Custom Publishing. This training will encompass about 30 different training modules, covering everything you need in order to succeed in the job. There is a particular focus on understanding marketing, premium publishing values and performance in sales and business development.
Realistically, you will spend 80% of your time working on the commercial side of your report (driving revenue with sales/business development), as this is the most challenging aspect to the job. However, the other 20% of the role is split between researching a topic and then project managing the editorial production once your report is financed (commissioning and briefing journalists and designers). Of course, those who excel on the sales side have more time to dedicate to the creative side of the role.
This is a very autonomous role, and not strict on measuring KPIs. Instead of strict KPIs, the publishing team have collectively identified and agreed 8 “high performance behaviours” which publishers should use as the benchmark for success.
The “average” Publishing Manager can expect to earn a minimum of £14,000 in addition to their basic salary of £35,000 (plus every report which a publisher makes over target will raise their basic salary by £1k aiming to raise their basic to £40,000 over the course of the year). High performers can expect to earn £70,000+ in their first year.
Second year Publishing Managers are typically promoted to “Lead Publishers” which means an increase in basic salary of an additional £6,000.
Previous sales experience is desired but not a pre-requisite however 18 months + commercial experience is necessary. You must be a self-starter for this role as, after an initial training/shadowing period, you will be expected to work off your own back and be highly motivated.
Whilst everyone in the team is different, the following characteristics make for great publishers:
- Credibility and authority: you must be able to influence people who will be more senior, and have more experience than you.
- Resilience and bravery: you must be able to get a job done irrespective of the challenge.
- Intelligence: you must be able to grasp business concepts quickly.
- Self-motivated and self-disciplined: you should be able to work independently, setting yourself short term goals and executing them.
- Personality: you’ve got to have one, and be able to flaunt it!