An influential British political blogger who started because he couldn't get a job is now so popular he is using it as a springboard for producing a print magazine called Total Politics, according to a story
in the UK Press Gazette
While his blog,Iain Dale's Diary, launched in earnest in 2006, and has been enormously successful at raising his profile, nearly all the money he has made off the back of it has been in the mainstream media – through broadcasting and writing.
And now he is looking to take his media career to the next level, what is he planning to do? He’s launching an ink-on-paper printed monthly magazine called Total Politics. Dale admits: “People think it’s a bit strange.” But when it comes to his blog, he says ad agencies “just don’t get it”.
Total Politics will be available free online, at least initially, as a virtual e-magazine and will be for sale on newsstands at £3.99 as well as via subscriptions. However the bulk of the circulation will be free to 22,000 elected politicians.
Explaining his decision to launch a magazine Dale says: “We looked at doing this as an internet magazine but thought we would never be able to get the revenue to make it work.
“You can promise advertisers that every elected politician from the Prime Minister down to locally elected councillors will receive a copy of this magazine at home or their desk. But you can’t do that with a website.”
Dale took six months off after his personal failure to get elected as a Tory MP, followed by a stint as chief of staff for David Davis when he fought David Cameron for the Tory leadership.
“I found it very difficult to get back into the media, all the producers I used to work with had moved on to other things – so the blog became my USP (unique selling proposition).“I only ever used it as a platform to air my views – but I started to break stories....”
Dale says most of the media work he does now – which includes a column in The Daily Telegraph
and regular punditry on TV and radio – has come about as a result of the blog; its value in promoting his "brand" has been huge (he claims in May that he had 72,000 unique visitors, which he says is more than the combined traffic of the official websites of the Conservative and Labour parties.
Still, direct income amounts to no more than £7,000 a year: “I don’t think anyone in this country has been able to earn a living from what they make on a blog.”
Issue one of Total Politics includes an interview with Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The editorial mission statement is, says Dale, to be “unremittingly positive about politics”.
He says: “The thing that unites all politicians is the desire to get re-elected, so we’ve got a lot on that. We also want to make this a fun experience.
“With a lot of political publications, people seem to buy them because they feel they ought to read them, not because they want to.”