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Dwell Publisher Michela O’Connor Abrams Gives Advice About Building A Community

Michela_923.jpgStrong media brands — like shelter and design brand Dwell — are managing the weather the economic storm by diversifying their content and building a strong and loyal community.

In an interview today on, Dwell‘s president and publisher Michela O’Connor Abrams — a veteran of high technology and business magazines who joined Dwell at the outset in 2002 — described how she helped attract and build the incredible Dwell community:

“If I had learned anything from working at high-tech and business publications it was this: You serve a community, and you should endeavor to know everything about that community — and I mean everything — no matter what your topic is. Like what kind of running shoes they wear, and scotch they drink, and vacations they take, and where they take them, and what airline they like to fly, and cars they drive; the whole psychographic profile. And then and only then could you really understand how to attract a community and make the most of it on any number of platforms. So we literally drew the model into the business plan that had the Dwell community that we call design-seekers, who are professionals and consumers, in the middle.”

O’Connor Abrams also talked about where she saw Dwell fitting in among other media brands, whether folding Domino was a good idea and what the future holds for the medium.

“In 2002, believe me, everybody in New York, all the agencies and clients, said to me, ‘Call me when your circulation is at a quarter million and call me again when you’re at 500,000, and we’ll work with you then.’ That has changed dramatically. I didn’t give in to that, because I knew it was the wrong thing to do for our model. But the larger media companies did do that. And in order to maintain those circ levels, they did things like charge 50 cents an issue and $3.50 on the newsstand, so when advertising came down, there was nothing to rely on…The reason I believe that print will be here a long time is that we do have a lot of intelligent people in this industry who now realize the folly in chasing an ad base, and they’re now cutting rate bases, as you see.”

Read more of O’Connor Abrams’ insights here.

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