Member profile: United Publications to launch business media where there isnít any
"The Gulf is an extremely hot market for security products," says Brook Taliaferro, president and CEO of UPI. "You can't open a 7-Eleven in Dubai without submitting your camera plan to the police."
The launch is a testament to the company's business model. "Our business plan is very simple," explains Taliaferro. "It's to put a business newspaper where there isn't one. I am thrilled to say the issues are delivering the promise that we told the audience and the advertisers: news of the region, all the contracts signings."
SSN Gulf's region includes Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The region, writes Editor Scott Birch on SSNGulf.com, is expected to grow 10 percent year over year. To cover the burgeoning market, UPI has the typical staff of sales, editorial, circulation and e-media, including two members (Birch and Zabeen Reema Ahmed) who are based in the Dubai on the front lines, so to speak.
When it comes to news coverage, UPI breaks up each market into "spokes" or sectors, says Taliaferro. For instance, the key spokes for SSN Gulf are commercial systems, residential systems, integrators and suppliers. Journalists seek out the latest news in each spoke, and then write several original reported stories.
"Each month, we may be running 60 stories, talking to 120 people. So our contact every month with the marketplace is very intense," says Taliaferro.
Original reporting is the backbone of UPI brands, which include HME News, Security Systems News, Security Director News, two conferences and now SSN Gulf. In fact, one distinction of its papers is a "quoted" section that is found in the back of the newspapers. In the section, every source is listed with their company name and the page number on which they are quoted.
"I show that to the advertisers and say, 'Well who do you think is more connected to the marketplace? Who has their ear more carefully in tuned to the marketplace?'," says Taliaferro. "With us, there's 60 points of entry that may hook you."
Print-driven, with e-media experience
With many publishers shifting their dollars to digital, Taliaferro lauds print as "the supreme deliver of branding" but uses e-media to complement its papers.
The company also uses e-media to provide lead generation. As editors survey markets and launch topical e-newsletters, which UPI calls newswires, companies can sign on as a sponsor (week by week). As a sponsor, UPI sends the email address plus contact name, company and job title, if available, of every person that clicks on the sponsor's ad. On Sept. 1, the company will premiere a new wire, Top 5 Money Wire, featuring stories on M&A, recapitalization and venture capital investments.
In addition, UPI hosts two conferences -- HME Business Summit and Tech Sec Solutions -- to connect with the industry. At its hosted conferences as well as other events that staff attends, UPI brands shoot videos, which are posted on dedicated branded video websites (HMENewsTV.com, SSNTVNews.com and SDNTVNews.com). Advertisers can also post product demonstration videos for a fee.
"The key is going to be content -- always, always, always," says Taliaferro. "Content still wins every time. If you have weak content it doesn't matter what medium you put it on, it's still weak and will not attract the loyalty or the trust of your readers."
By Elizabeth A. Reid