FMA Conference Profile: Diana Riser

We are thrilled to have Diana Riser, publisher of MIAMI magazine and MODERN LUXURY magazines in the South Florida, speak at our 2015 FMA Conference about her journey in publishing. We asked her some questions about what it is like publishing one of the world’s premiere luxury magazine brands, and to share some words of wisdom with those thinking about entering the field.

1. You began your career in advertising, what made you make the jump to publishing?
Well, opportunity first and foremost. I worked my way up from Ad Rep to Sales Manager pretty quickly and then over time progressed to Associate Publisher then Publisher. I love mentoring my sales reps, I love selling with them and I love the opportunity to formulate an evolving sales & marketing strategy for our brand.

2. What was your journey like as a woman in the advertising field, and how is it different or similar to that now that you are in publishing?
When I started in advertising, it was over 20 years ago and it was certainly more of a man's field. Then things shifted, and I saw women really taking over in the luxury local print segment of advertising sales. The women on the team outnumbered the men, and I still see that today. I had to really act much older than I was (and wiser than I was at the time) and had to prove myself to be taken seriously. I walked out of meetings in which I was disrespected by potential advertisers on more than one occasion. As competitive as media is today in a market like FL, a rep has to be smart and sophisticated and prove they can help an advertiser by creating solutions that yield results. Now that I'm a Publisher, I certainly get calls back more quickly than when I was a sales rep, and it's great to help open doors for my team in that way. Today the solutions we present to advertisers are 360 degree programs that include, print, digital, social media and events. Publishers now act as an agency or extension of our clients’ in-house marketing teams. It's a more complex process with a heavy focus on measurable results.

3. What is your favorite thing about being a publisher?
As a local magazine publisher for a city like Miami, I have the opportunity to make a difference. We help our partners improve their businesses in an authentic way. We help the community by "selling the market" in a very positive way to our readers, locals and visitors. We also work closely with the arts, non-profits and other organizations that continue to advance our city as a top international market. As a good friend of mine quoted recently, "We are here to change the world. Not just follow rules, earn money and die." Making a difference makes all the work worthwhile for me.

4. What is your least favorite aspect of the job?
Doing annual budgets. The rest is heaven.

5. When people say print is dead, you say...
Content is king! No matter what the platform, we are sellers of curated content and environment. So no matter if we are read in print, on an Ipad or mobile device or experienced at an event, we are valued for being curators of local, luxury content. Additionally, the only print that is dead is print that is news and extremely timely. News breaks now on Twitter before television, but to create a magazine that talks about not "The What" of a news story, but "The Why" and you've still got content that is relevant and gives perspective and journalistic value. I think this example came from Mr. Magazine, Samir, so I have to give a shout out to him for that.

Furthermore, as far as the luxury segment is concerned, there is no better environment or platform for luxury goods, products & services than print magazines. Why else would the best marketer on the planet, Apple, run a 12-page campaign in March Vogue to launch its new watch!!!! Right? They get it!

6. If you had one piece of advice to give someone new to the publishing world what would it be?
Find the best quality magazine in your market that speaks to you, make sure they have a sound business model i.e. they are audited, have credible editorial, invest in the brand, find a mentor in that organization and learn, learn, learn by immersing yourself in great resources like FMA, MPA resources, CRMA. There are a lot of publishers that don't do best practices so find those that do. AND FINALLY, IF YOU DON'T LOVE IT, DO SOMETHING ELSE. It's not easy. It's a busy lifestyle, and a challenging/changing world of media. You have to have a passion for it to be truly successful. So if any of you reading this are still interested in the publishing world, call me! We are growing our team and I'm always looking for talented individuals. See you at the Charlie Awards!