Busy Season Is Upon Us
November 2, 2018 – Update by Jason J. Baker – Positive growth in reach all over the world affirms that Seaplanemagazine.com is on the right path and quite successful in promoting Water Flying to a young and upbeat audience. In 2018 the site more than doubled its number of visitors and daily readers. I invested in new secure servers providing you with faster load times and better functionality. Further improvements are in the works.
Some interesting growth developments to report: United States: + 81%, Brazil + 645%, India + 330%, Indonesia + 580%, Russia + 200%, Philippines + 85%, Australia + 132%, overall organic reach has easily tripled. Social Media keeps restricting us, so the only outlets showing prolonged stagnant growth are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. With now 148 members in our Seaplanemagazine.com Facebook Group and 1,600+ followers, social media remains our problem child. I personally keep collecting personal followers on LinkedIn, where I share every article published here.
Guest editorials traditionally enjoy a high level of popularity among our readers and friends. I featured articles from Sergey Arasnalov and Tricia Dunham in Maine. If course, I also have to mix in news from land-based General & Business Aviation, as a straight focus on seaplanes and flying boats would oftentimes generate blank spots. Our key players in the seaplane industry are way behind on their public relations and communications strategy.
Finding the right balance is difficult at times. Unlike many larger news sites, our magazine doesn’t aim at the straight news consumer. Instead, it seeks to capture the passion and fun of seaplane flying, improve its visibility among pilots and the non-flying public, while at the same time providing the platform for the industry players to share their news and developments.
Our Events Page has been updated, I currently have invites to 5-6 important events. Each one of them represents logistical challenges with booking flights, hotels and other associated expenses. Making it possible requires support from the General & Business Aviation industry. From the direct hit-list, I’d need to raise a total of nearly € 30,000 ($35,000) in advertising revenue/ sponsorships, to do them all. During 2018 I operated at a loss in terms of events, not something I can repeat. Raising a small portion of the money we need for events, would be a start, so the request for consideration remains.
Note: I do NOT have the time to play cat and mouse – games with marketing and advertising agencies. If you wish to see your company presented here, instruct your agency to request a quote, better yet, reach out yourself. I can’t offer agency discounts nor will I engage in advertising brokerage schemes. Remember: If our readers are affluent enough to read your news – they should be good enough to know that you support the site which brings them the news. I value independence and editorial liberty over the mighty dollar and my focus will stay on our readers and daily visitors.
A question that came up frequently during 2017 and 2018 is in the process of being answered. Those of you following our page closely, have seen the new Membership area on our site. No panic! We won’t put the site behind a paywall, the majority of our work remains freely visible to all. I have started work with a developer to upgrade our site to allow for voluntary subscriber support and sharing exclusive content.
Knowing that this site is frequented by many passionate people who wish to see us attend more events – this is a logical step. There will be benefits to becoming a member/ subscriber! For starters, subscribers will be able to post classified ads. As promised, Seaplaneforum.com will relaunch in early 2019 as part of this magazine. Of course, members will have access to exclusive articles and opinion editorials, all for less than $5 per month. Interested in joining up as a patron? Send a Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and take advantage of our special deal for the first 100 subscribers!
Seeking Advertisers & Sponsors For 2019
September 18, 2018 – Update – Our site was started in January 2016 with the goal to promote Water Flying, its surrounding industry and those people and companies who make it all happen. Despite this activities unnatural exclusivity and high demand in personal and financial investment to fly seaplanes, our site was welcomed with open arms and open minds – with only few exceptions. The primary goal of the site is to balance and compensate for the lack of information outside of the “social media circus” which has all but destroyed people’s ability to obtain more than superficial information. But now, we have reached a point where asking for help becomes necessary.
These days, Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, Instagram, Google + and many other platforms are literally bombarding users with advertising, cross promotions, re-marketing as well as behavioral targeting. In other words, every single picture, video or post shared on any of the platforms is heavily monetized. For publishers, the new algorithms spell disaster – to be specific, organic (unpaid) reach is constantly declining. Our own organic social reach has by a bit over 61% within the last twelve months – meanwhile we reach nearly 145% more people in total than last year!
Companies pay a healthy dime to reach you. Suffice to say, if we attempted to employ the same “pay to play scam” on this website, there would be one article per month. And even then, readers would be denied content until they have consumed the mandatory advertising. We broke with status quo on this site. Ever since June 2017, when Chris Buckner and I decided to give it a final burst of power – we have brought more than 600 articles to our readers, a monthly average of 37 articles! No less than 27 guest editors have contributed articles to Seaplanemagazine.com.
A Fight Without Gloves: Media & Advertising Buy
Between the 1910’s and 20’s many print advertising agents came up with the idea that human instincts could be targeted and harnessed – and be sublimated into purchasing commodities. Print advertising became the means to accomplish this task. Competition became stiff among the various print titles out there and today the fight behind the curtain is constant and extremely harsh, both in print and online.
In 2018 and beyond, advertising in print appears to be more tradition than necessity, because online aviation magazines provide more timely industry information and reach a much larger and more diverse audience. Add to this that most print magazines are geographically limited in reach and subscriptions aren’t free.
Catering to a niche audience in a highly seasonal industry makes the job of finding supporters quite difficult. While homo sapient has learned that social media isn’t the answer, the aviation industry is marching on with it’s social hype, departing from the independent press. The decisions made during the slow time of last year affect our site and what it can do all year long.
We Need Some Help & Support
There were major events we hoped to attend in 2018 with the help of companies in the seaplane and aviation industry. In the end, only one company and a silent sponsor truly stepped up to help us bring Seaplane Magazine to its now ~ 26,000 unique monthly visitors from around the globe. Even though we share our articles on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn – total landing traffic conversion from those channels depends on… you guessed it – how much we can pay for that.
In order to make 2019 more meaningful and expand our coverage, we need a second top sponsor (aircraft manufacturer, insurance company, engine or propeller manufacturer, pilot shop or aviation association) and at least three to four companies making a serious commitment to the sites future.
This is not something we can accomplish while at the mercy of advertising agencies and definitely not something we can accomplish with companies who show fascination for our free coverage, but ignore us when support becomes a topic.
Pricing starts as low as € 100/ month and the most expensive ad here still costs less per year than a half page 4 color ad in the advertising column of any print magazine would cost per month! Considering what the industry spends on print and in which frequency – we can definitely compete – except we do in fact reach the next generation of pilots – instead of those who are looking for a place to hang their pilot hat. Please consider sharing this article with the decision-makers in your professional aviation network. When it’s time to talk, we’ll be standing by for questions and to provide an individual offer.
Note: After last years marketing agency induced disaster and due to the way we were treated, the decision was made not to work with third parties to secure advertising spots on Seaplanemagazine.com. We will not provide quotes to individuals or agencies which claim to represent ghost customers.
News From The Trenches
May 25, 2018 – Update: European Privacy Laws hit Seaplanemagazine.com. Did you know that in California it’s illegal to shoot at any game from a moving vehicle unless the target is a whale and the vehicle is a boat? Pretty sure you didn’t know that in Ohio, a police officer may bite a dog if the officer thinks it may help calm the dog down. In Nevada, you may not drive a camel on any interstate. In Baltimore, you are not allowed to bring a Lion to a movie theater. Almost nobody will beat Oklahoma, where it’s illegal to have a sleeping donkey in a bathtub after 7 PM. One thing is for sure: Nothing beats the wrath of European courts and attorneys if they find out that you didn’t do everything in your power to protect your readers and visitors from privacy invasion.
Instead of writing articles or working on guest editorials, 9 hours of time was spent to get our Privacy – Terms of Service and Cookie policies up to date, so that they withstand the scrutiny of attorneys who will be out looking to sue website operators for violations against the newest and most draconian European laws. Europe proves once again that it has the capacity to regulate itself right smack off of planet earth. The question isn’t if – its when that will happen…
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA. With nearly 26.000 monthly visitors we are a small fish in a big pond, however our audience is truly international and Europe presents a growing and important market for our magazine.
You may have noticed increased E-Mail traffic due to the obligation to inform newsletter recipients and website users about the new laws and most took the opportunity to include their new privacy rules. Since we don’t have a newsletter, here is your update – containing a total of nearly 9.700 lawyer written words, dutifully compiled in English and German, so that no potential victim goes to bed without realizing that data runs our planet and especially our industry, these days. We don’t play any of the nasty games many others do, so there is some confidence in not receiving too many complaints…
Please refer to the links and resources below to get yourself up to date on how Seaplanemagazine.com collects data. Of importance for us is that you realize that data (which every website naturally collects) here is never shared, made available or sold to anyone. Neither do we engage in lead generation schemes or ask you for information and data in order to provide you with exclusive or privileged content.
May 15, 2018 – Update: Quite a few news to share from the editors desk, more than a few things worth mentioning to our readers and friends. We’ve had new guest editorials submitted, some of them have aired already, some of them are currently finishing up. One that stuck out is Thomas Rolander’s article on returning to flying seaplanes in Seattle after 50 years of flying has had nearly 1200 hits since being published. Pictures and editorial from Brian Byl on performing his first landing on ice with his 195 was shared. Jakub Fajfer shared a huge piece with our readers on the history of this years Mazury Airshow & Seaplane Reunion in Poland. Just last weekend we ran a picture of a Do-28 on floats with commentary by J.J. Frey. New and frequent updates are shared by our Emergency & Disaster Response editor Sky Terry. Some great stuff is coming and both General Aviation and especially Seaplanes are getting good exposure for their versatility in disaster response work.
Our Facebook Page now sits close to 1,300 Likes and we are seeing a TON more sharing, comments and nice user engagement. This is something that helps the site tremendously in reaching the darkest corners of our industry. Please remember to like the page and follow it. Every share counts. Those who know me, know what a split relationship I have with Facebook. To give you an idea where our bread and butter reach is, see this:
- 46% of our readers reach us through organic search
- 23% of visitors reach the site Directly
- 21% of our readers reach the site via Social Media (Facebook and Twitter)
- 9% arrive here by referral on other websites and forums
- 1% of our traffic came from being mentioned in an AOPA eBrief
Aviation Event Reporting
Seaplanemagazine.com was present at AERO 2018 in Friedrichshafen and ILA 2018 in Berlin. By now EBACE in Geneva, scheduled later this month is completely impossible and most of the events we had planned to cover won’t work out for financial reasons. The unexpected and surprising loss of Waco Aircraft as a sponsor caused some severe sweating on this end. Fortunately, AVweb.com provided the opportunity to send event news coverage from AERO & ILA. Even though people think we live in tiny Europe, traveling and reporting from aviation events causes hyperventilation in the bookkeeping department.
Surprising Audience Numbers
Nobody is kidding when we say that we reach a much younger audience with Seaplanemagazine.com than most if not all print titles in aviation. Those wondering why there is barely any half-dressed girls on display, there is a reason for it, which you see right next to the age demographics.
Email Subscriptions & Reader Support
A question that keeps coming back about our “Newsletter Subscription” and RSS Feed Subscriptions as well as developing ways for readers to support the online magazine. Make no mistake about it if just half of our readers supported us with a cup of coffee per month, things would be much different. While the site will not go back to an emailed newsletter, I am working on a free RSS Subscription feature and am trying to make “Paid Memberships” possible. Paid members may then receive daily or weekly email updates.
The reason for not offering paid memberships until now has been that nobody wants to “sell” content or articles – as this just isn’t the business model. We really counted on better support from the industry. Exclusivity and limited flow of information has caused damage to this industry for the last two decades, so that path won’t be taken. Meanwhile, being dependent on one or maybe two sponsors or advertisers creates pressure and severely limits what can be done and accomplished. Solutions will be found, promise! Meanwhile, I renew the pledge for businesses in aviation who could be enticed to support the page, to please step up.
Guest Editors & Content Editors
Do you have news or developments from the industry to share? Consider becoming one of our team and join us as a online content editor. Nearly free choice of topics and we are ready to integrate a new player into the team.
Feedback is welcome via Email: email@example.com
March 15, 2018 – Update: There have been many positive developments for Seaplanemagazine.com and we have had great articles & pictures shared. News are hailing in, we’ve had some great guest editorials, such as from Paula Willams on getting neighborhood airports humming and yesterday by Jason Blair, who shared an in-depth look at what is going on with the CFI Shortage we seem to experience in General Aviation. Dave Marion has shared a lot of technical insights with you, and Sky Terry had lots of good developments with his emergency and disaster response work.
Our Facebook Page surpassed 1,000 Likes and we have celebrated reaching up to 6.000 people per week on Facebook alone. Currently our articles are shared with 226 Followers on Twitter, as well. #TheFutureOfWaterflying is showing further growth and we are constantly working on expanding our coverage.
Challenges Past Are Challenges Ahead
The challenges remain what they have always been. Many companies we deal with absolutely love the news coverage (it seems to be PAY TO PLAY with many associations and print magazines) but go from rumbling thunder to crickets in literally no time, when the magic word “ADVERTISING or SPONSORSHIP” is mentioned. A lot of marketing focus is placed on trying to entertain high profile events, social media instant like-farming takes place and everyone is competing for an increasingly attention deficit ridden audience of people who scroll on smart devices, but contribute little to nothing anywhere else… What doesn’t help a lot is to receive news releases which are basically instructing the reader to buy something. That’s simple advertising and we’ll be a bit more selective and scaling back on providing this kind of coverage and reach.
Suffice to say that Seaplanemagazine.com would have been dead and closed, had we not found a few Sponsors & Advertisers to keep bringing you this magazine. We got kicked hard by some of the marketing & advertising agencies out there and experienced downright nasty stuff. So, the request for help is: If you know of a company that would consider sponsoring this endeavor, please get in touch! Currently, we are hard at work to get the following events funded for coverage:
- AERO Friedrichshafen & ILA Berlin (we are exhibiting there)
EBACE Geneva with following SPAS Hergiswil Seaplane Fly In Biscarrosse Seaplane Meeting in France Airventure 2018 in Oshkosh/ including Seaplane Base
- International Seaplane Fly In – Greenville, Maine (At Risk)
Top Sponsor Announcement
Wipaire, Inc. has signed up for one of our two Top Sponsor Spots and Waco Aircraft had previously helped us to remain open by advertising their new and exciting Waco YMF-5F on our page. Besides SeaBear Aircraft and sky[nav]pro™ our friend Jake Morell with Hardscrabble Lodge has made life easier by promoting his books with us. We are actively seeking further strategic partners and sponsors and remain dedicated to offer unmatched benefits to those who help us!
List Jobs, Airplanes & Real Estate
Quite a few inquiries have been placed asking us to offer classifieds for Jobs, Aircraft and Aviation Real Estate. Have you seen our humble Job Listing Page? We can do the same for a limited number of companies looking to sell aircraft and we can certainly help in getting your property listed for sale. Did you know that sponsors/ advertisers have the option to list unlimited jobs and share one free aircraft listing per month here? Jobs & Planes are just €30.00 per month and jobs recycle up to four times during their term! For Real Estate, we offer individual advertorial style listings. There are plans to offer a full fledged classified listing service in the future, but as you can imagine, both funding and time for this is fairly limited.
FAQ: Reader Support – Subscription & Plans For A Print Version
Is there a way for readers to support the page with a subscription style setting? The answer is: Not at this time. We do not sell “memberships” and do not wish to restrict content or make valid and useful information about this industry and its potential available to yet another little exclusive club. In the future we will accept voluntary financial reader support and when the time comes, we will announce it here. The best support readers can afford us right now is to share the articles and make aviation companies aware of the opportunities to present themselves here.
Can we offer a monthly print magazine that can get distributed to subscribers who wish to have something made of paper? The answer is: YES, we can, but… the maintenance of the website requires lots of time and available funds are severely restricted. Finding companies willing to fund a monthly print magazine, setting up a international distribution network and getting such a show underway in today’s market, seems a bit risky, maybe even a bit crazy. If you consider that a fully mobile news site is having a difficult time to get sponsors the question remains how one would properly fund a print magazine in today’s greedy environment. While many of these challenges are purely political and caused by the new advertising world order we all witness, its to hard a nut for us, right now.
We have scrapped the email newsletter and instead opt to provide our updates in the form of this sporadic online newsletter. If there are questions or concerns, feedback, tips, tricks, stories, pictures or a guest editorial to share, you know where to click – to send a quick email.
Email – Newsletter: No More
February 1, 2018 – Update: We have some sad news for those who were looking forward to receive their January 2018 Newsletter this week.
On February 1st, 2018 our Newsletter Plugin crashed and caused a fatal error after installing an update, crashing our complete website along with it. There have been technical difficulties all along with the processing of emails and the software itself, with emails not being sent and registrations not being confirmed through the software.
For us this is not worth the effort to try and fix, just to continue a relatively antiquated form of communicating with our readers. This time can be spent further increasing our coverage and to continue fostering #TheFutureOfWaterflying.
Our very limited financial resources do not allow for taking the focus off what matters to our daily visitors and readers. Alternatively, we will make information about the site available here, for everyone to see.
As always, feedback via Email remains welcome and is appreciated via firstname.lastname@example.org