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Bob Jenkins successfully rides changing newsletter waves, since 1978.

"The business I entered in 1978 was really entirely different from the business I am in today," Robert K. Jenkins of Health Resources Publishing e-mailed me after I submitted a number of questions for an interview. Bob, like many newsletter editors and writers, preferred writing down his answers. To wit:

"I was working at a hospital and I convinced my bosses to allow me to launch a newsletter on sources for grant funding on a part-time basis in lieu of a raise.

"The business wasn't that complicated. I wrote the issues, got them printed and mailed and began to figure out how to send renewal notices.

"For the first several years I followed what I now think of as the Forrest Gump school of management ... whatever happened along.

"If I had known anything about marketing, I certainly would never have launched my second newsletter about hospices. At the time I think there were 63 hospices in the country. But I did know the federal government was about to launch a large demonstration project. As it turned out, I was there at the right time in 1979.

"A little later I was attending a trade show and noticed the booth two down from mine had a line of people waiting to talk to them for two and a half days--so I got in line to see what it was all about. It was adult daycare. I went home and launched another newsletter.

"Honestly I didn't know there was a 'newsletter industry' until I attended my first newsletter association conference in New York. I believe it was December 1979, and founding president Ed Brown was chairman. I met Allie Ash from Capital Publications and some other people who've become friends through all the years."

The newsletter business in 2006

"Now let me tell you about the business I am in today in 2006. We're still definitely newsletter publishers, we currently publish 11 and are launching another this month.

"But I think the association is going the right direction with the change to Specialized Information Publishers Association (SIPA), because that is certainly what we are today. Diversified information providers.

"Today we have five free e-zines.

"We have a total of seven websites, actually eight; one is our online database.

"We do online reader surveys which are just immeasurably more valuable to us in the interactive information we get than the old paper ones we used to mail.

"We sponsor listservs for many of our newsletters. The Wellness Program Management Advisor is just one. Another covers EAPs (Employee Assistance Programs). That's all to the good.

"The listservs do a lot of good for us. It bonds subscribers to us and it gives us an invaluable real-time look at the work-a-day things our readers are most worried about. We tend to think our readers are 'up there' concerned about the loftiest topics when, in reality, they are much more concerned with down-in-the-trenches questions."

Audio conferences

"We do audio conferences. Some of the ideas for them come from the listservs and from the online reader surveys.

"Our audio conferences normally have two or three expert speakers who address the topics we've gained from readers, and usually we have time for Q&A sessions with the experts. We learn what else the subscribers are concerned about, and sometimes topics for further conferences or special reports emerge."

Directories and special reports

"We publish four directories. They also have evolved from the original print-only versions. As an example, "The National Directory of Managed Care Operators" is now available:

1. In a print version for $365

2. On a CD-ROM in PDF format for $595

3. As a database for $1,995, which is regularly updated and buyers can use to create mailing labels, and

4. Online for $2,700 in the version, which is updated almost daily.

"We publish some yearbooks and special reports. We've found special reports to be a source of 'new business ideas.' We published an executive report titled "The Many Faces of Managed Care." It did so well we launched a newsletter and it developed into a whole profit center called The Managed Care Information Center (, which has become a valuable brand for us."

"Not too old" to launch new title

"The new newsletter title we are launching, proving I'm not too old to get excited about a new idea, is titled the Pay for Performance Reporter and it too had its genesis in a special report priced at $125 that sold 100s of copies, showing us where there was a new market.

"So, in all, while we still publish newsletters, it's certainly a lot more and different work producing the e-zines, websites, online surveys, listservs, audio conferences and databases that we do today. Today we are just in an almost totally different business than the one I sort of wandered into in 1978."

Health Resources Publishing, 1913 Atlantic Ave., #F5, Manaquan, NJ 08736, 732-292-1100, fax 732-292-1111,
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Health Resources Publishing
Author:Goss, Fred
Publication:The Newsletter on Newsletters
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 17, 2006
Previous Article:Grabbing the reader with headlines that work.
Next Article:Newsletter group returns to its roots with management association firm.

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