Michael Manley, publisher of Funeral Business Advisor, the magazine that wants me to advertise in their relatively-new publication, responded to our post, NFDA Convention Contract Already Yielding Unwanted Sales Pitches, with the following letter: 

As publisher of Funeral Business Advisor, I would like to comment that we are a REAL magazine, circulating FREE to over 30% more death care professionals than any other industry magazine.  And Funeral Business Advisor’s success has evolved with a very simple premise; our publication provides insightful content, advice, and information that is intended to help the funeral director manage and run their business more effectively.

Yes, our content is typically provided by our advertisers, but not intended to be viewed as an “advertorial.”  Quite to the contrary, we go to great lengths to ensure that our contributing writers DO NOT write in a self-promotional (self-serving) manner.  We edit the content to maintain as unbias approach as possible.  In reality, we are as a marketing vehicle for manufacturers, distributors, and industry providers to highlight their products and services to the funeral industry.  

But what most who are in the publishing business don’t realize, is every magazine is designed in this manner. Not a single magazine would be in business if it wasn’t for their advertisers, so every publisher is concerned with their advertisers first and foremost.  At FBA, this is especially important since we are solely funded by our advertisers.  The reason we can bring such great content to the industry is because our advertiser help pay for it.  Unlike most of the other industry publications, we can’t subsidize our costs with subscription fees.  I like to say we are like a co-operative.  We provide a marketing tool that everyone shares in the cost and everyone receives the benefit.

Here is how it usually works.  Most magazine have an editorial staff, or they pay freelance writers to provide content for the publication.  Then those same magazines contact advertisers to solicit advertisements to place around the editorials that they intend to publish.  They do this to encourage the advertiser that their ads will have more visability and effect because it will be included with an editorial that has content relating to their business.

At Funeral Business Adisor, we don’t ignore the reason other magazines do this, but we take it a step further and make it much more effective for our advertisers.  Who is best suited to educate and provide information and advice to the death care industry?  Is it a member of an editorial staff or freelance writer?  Or is it someone who works in the death care industry daily?  In fact, we believe it is the industry experts themselves.  The people making the products or selling the products/services are the experts.  They are the ones who should be educating the industry.  Funeral Business Advisor does exactly what ever magazine does.  We bring “buyers and sellers” together for the benefit of both parties.  

We give the industry participant the opportunity to have a voice, and in return for this opportunity we provide two very important benefits:

(1) Funeral Directors get great information.  Information that is fresh, current, and designed to help improve their businesses.

(2) We provide the industry suppliers a direct marketing venue (same as every other publication, but provided in a different manner) that is far more effective than traditional magazines.  

Instead of just purchasing an ad as every other magazine offers, we offer the opportunity to purchase a marketing package.  

THE END RESULT:  Our readers (funeral directors) have responded with overwhelminly  favorably feedback.  

How do we know we are being read?  Our advertisers have consistenly told us that they get many more calls from their advertisement in our publication than from competing industry magazines.  In fact, these testimonials are posted on our website as proof of these claims.  

In the end, all magazines success relies upon the success of generating sales leads for their advertisers.  Without good ad results, advertisers would pull their ads and the magazine would go out of business.  

Yes, we are less than 1 yr old, but looking at the major industry suppliers who have entrusted us with a portion of their marketing dollars with us, it is obvious we have made a BIG SPLASH and will be in business for many years to come.

Michael Manley

If you’ve had a chance to check out their website, you’ll see that they offer quite a lot for a free publication.  Even with content provided by the advertisers, the magazine feels substantial and offers a wide range of subject matter.

The folks at FFM Media (who also publish Recruiting & Staffing Solutions, Pet Product Resource Guide, Club Solutions and Golf Management Solutions) are new to the funeral industry, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have a winning strategy.

I would, however, make the point that, despite Mike’s claims, the way they get content is not new.  Every funeral publication solicits editorial content from the industry.  I’ve written articles for several trade magazines, with no return ($$$) except for the byline that follows the article.  Final Embrace contributors like Kim Stacey write for the trades as well.

The difference?  Getting published in one of the other trade magazines is not about buying ad space.  It’s about having something to say that isn’t necessarily ad-supported.

And to be fair, The Director, Mortuary Management, American Funeral Director and others publish their editorial calendar far in advance of their publication date.  This is to, obstensibly, give advertisers a chance to decide which editorial content would best fit their ad.

So do I think that the Funeral Business Advisor is “bad” or “evil”?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

In fact, they’ve got the same model I’ll be using when we launch Final Embrace:  The Magazine.

Do I think they’ll accept my article submissions, even if I don’t advertise with them?  That’s an answer I don’t have yet.  But once I figure out whether Final Embrace can afford to advertise with them, I’ll let you know.