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I’ll bet you never heard of, nor ever knew there was such a thing as a program book ecosystem.

Well, neither did I until I started thinking about it.

Potential performing arts program book publishing clients often ask me how we can sell so much advertising in both our print and digital program books in today’s digital world.

I then typically start to explain to them our advertising sales process, which probably goes into more detail than they had asked for. I often get this feeling that on the other end of the line is a glazed-over look.

And then we move onto the next question about our performing arts program book publishing system.

But the more I ponder this question, I think there is more to it than just our years and years of honing our program book advertising sales process.

When I step back and look at it from a “helicopter view”, I see a collaboration between our performing arts clients, our advertisers, our staff here in Dayton, Ohio, and our products—printed program books and the accompanying digital products.

The vision that pops into my head when I think about this are the terrarium’s used in grade school.

The basic premise of learning about these ecosystems that are grown in these terrariums is that something can’t exist without the other, and if you remove any one of these elements, something down the line will be interrupted.

Whether we know it or not, this is how we look at our print and digital products here at Onstage Publications.

We wouldn’t exist without our clients, and when our performing arts clients contract with us, their printed program books and accompanying digital program book version would not exist without us. And our advertisers would not exist without either of us!

When the program book ecosystem is working in harmony, the printed and digital program book advertisers follow.

But the ecosystem takes work.

By continuous feedback from our clients and our advertisers, as well as us providing program book and mobile usage back to them, we create a harmonized ecosystem.

And this is what niche publishing is all about—an ecosystem.

We hear all the time that print is dead. But if you make the printed program book part of an entire ecosystem, with great accompanying digital products, great content, great customer service, great results, and never ending feedback, it is tough not to have a product that advertisers clamor for.

But the ecosystem takes investment.

Your printed product will certainly be dead if you are not continually investing in it as well as your accompanying digital products.

You must constantly be looking at, and investing in these products to make them the most innovative they can be. Otherwise, your advertisers won’t have a reason to keep coming back, and it will get tougher and tougher to sell new advertising.

This is not to diminish the work it takes to sell program book advertising. But by creating a program book ecosystem—a living, breathing ecosystem, it’s pretty tough not to be able to sell a lot of advertising. Good selling!

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