Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Little Things That Make A Difference

Yesterday was a day of enjoying little things.

Little things like taking a shower without an arm encased in plastic. Little things like enjoying Viggo Mortensen's Oscar nomination for Eastern Promises. Little things like seeing my
first cardinal of the year sitting on the backyard fence.

One of my personal goals for 2008 was to add a new way for me to help the environment each week. My changes are small, but at the end of the year, I will have made 52 such small changes. For example, I now bring my own net bags to the supermarket when I go shopping in order to avoid using plastic bags unnecessarily. I don't leave the water running when I brush my teeth. I'm using cold water in my washing machine instead of hot.

I'm finding that each time I do one of these small things, I feel good. My changes may be almost negligible, but they're real. And I'm enjoying doing the research to decide what change to add to the list each week.

Speaking of small things, I've spent a fair amount of time on this blog talking about niches--those small markets comprised of a group with a specific interest.

Sunday's Peoria Journal Star had an article titled "Because of Niches, Magazines Still Strong."

The reporter, Steve Tarter, interviewed a professor of journalism at the University of Mississippi, Samir Husni who is also known as "Mr. Magazine." Husni estimates that "only 10 percent of the magazines published today fall into the general-interest category, down from 30 percent just 20 years ago."

General interest magazines are the broad stroke, intended to appeal to the widest possible audience. These include magazines like Life and Look, which have long since gone out of business.

Niche magazines are the smaller, special interest ones: Crochet World, Farm & Ranch Living, Water Garden News, All About Beer, Bowhunting World, Today's Christian Woman, New Jersey Life and American Cheerleader.

Niche titles are growing at the same time that, over the last 16 years, three general interest titles--Time, Newsweek and US News & World Report--have lost a total of a million readers.

"Publishers no longer launch magazines looking for a million readers. The new face of magazines are niche titles that may never exceed 10,000 in circulation."

Lesson? Identify your niche and mine the hell out of it.

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