GLHF Magazine – the ‘freemium’ model done right

If you’re a StarCraft II fan, this one’s for you.

GLHF Magazine is an online e-sports publication focused on StarCraft II, capturing the best community stories and providing exclusive interviews and editorials.

The e-magazine has been around for about a year now, steadily growing in popularity. And considering it’s created by volunteers, the articles are of high quality and the design could easily rival that of a professional magazine.

But, as I’m not a big gamer these days, GLHF actually caught my attention for a different reason; its success as a ‘freemium’ magazine, published without the support of big industry names, investors or other elements that are often seen to be essential in today’s overly saturated gaming market.

The interesting thing about GLHF is that it isn’t unique. A quick Google search shows hundreds of alternative free epublications covering a variety of games. GLHF is not the first magazine to be published exclusively online, either. And it won’t be the last. However, it’s still an interesting approach to sharing engaging content.

The pay-what-you-want approach is also a great idea, no doubt building upon the success of HumbleBundle and other working examples of this pricing structure.

Through online advertising deals and a dedicated readership, GLHF can now afford to pay its contributors. The commissioning rates are quite low, granted, but it’s a start and shows how successful the ‘freemium’ pricing model can be.

This has got me thinking about adopting this model, or something similar, for future marketing projects. The goal would not be to secure advertising or sponsorship, but to increase traffic and inbound links.

Rather than placing content online and attempting to drive traffic by broadcasting its presence over social media, a ‘freemium’ model could be adopted where users have to actively share the piece of content before they can gain access to it.

Evidently this approach wouldn’t be practical for a blog post, but could work for exclusive video content, an industry report,  or, indeed, an e-magazine – as demonstrated by GLHF.

This approach has already proven successful for Kelvin Newman, with the launch of his Clockwork Pirate SEO ebook. It’s a great idea, and something I’d like to try in the near future. Sometimes the best results come from experimentation.

Kelvin introduced this marketing technique almost two years ago, so it’s questionable whether this would still work. Would users be willing to give up a little social capital to access exclusive, engaging content that’s relevant to them?

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