Graphic Display World shows how the print media resource and community took friendship, coupled it with print media and graphic display experience and started this new, social powered industry site. (They have many other useful print media videos at GDWTV.) Below the video is an in-depth email interview Markzware did with Colin Gillman, which is also very insightful:
Graphic Display World from Graphic Display World on Vimeo.
EMAIL INTERVIEW with COLIN GILLMAN, co-founder, GDW
Q1: Why did you start GraphicDisplayWorld.com?
I have worked in printing for over thirty years and first met Mat Thompson, my partner in Graphic Display World in 2004 when he entered the printing industry with Screen Process and Digital Imaging magazine (SPDI). Mat has worked in publishing for more than 20 years and we would often talk about one day publishing a magazine together with me as editor and Mat handling sales. Nothing came of it, but we kept in touch. It wasn’t until Mat co-founded Graphic Display Professional magazine for the display print market in 2008, just before the global recession hit, that we picked up our relationship once more. Unfortunately they only managed to get a handful of issues out before realizing that at the beginning of 2009, anybody trying to establish a new print title into the market was going to find the going very tough. There just wasn’t enough advertising to go around, and industry magazines need advertising to be able to provide free copies to their readership. Without this advertising revenue an industry trade magazine cannot function effectively.
We didn’t know it at the time but we had both spent most of 2009 trying to find a way to become an e-publisher. Therefore, at the back end of 2009, Mat called me and proposed a joint venture to launch an e-pub site. We knew we could make a go of it, because we both share the same values and most importantly, we both ‘get’ the internet from a publishing perspective and from the visitors’ perspective.
We also realized that there were a lot of marketing managers out there that no longer had anywhere near the kind of advertising budgets that they once used to enjoy. Therefore in addition to the online content we are providing, which we feel will go a long way to help everybody in our industry; we are also offering potential advertisers a means of reaching a global audience through banner advertising but, and this is key, at pocket money prices. For example, printers or suppliers can advertise extensively in our business directory – you can have several pages of HTML coded editorial, as well as uploading loads of promotional video content and so forth for just €220.00 a year! A banner might only cost a company a couple of hundred a month. This makes GDW a highly affordable proposition for anybody wanting to explore further opportunities for interaction with their market, rather than paying out hundreds, indeed sometimes thousands, of Euros for just one page in a much reduced publication that might only be coming out every other month! The benefit to the printer is that, through our directory, he can potentially reach new customers who are searching the internet for suppliers of the kind of print services they offer. We built the site around this concept with total search engine optimization in mind.
Q2: Could you give the Markzware blog readers a short overview on what the site offers?
In a nutshell, the site is a one-stop-shop online community for everybody concerned with the buying, supplying, printing and production of display graphics and signage. GDW aims to engage with everybody in the sign and display sector. Therefore if you’re a buyer of display print and signage, our business directory will appeal to you, and this should be your first port of call to find a supplier of services to meet your every need. We’ll also be talking with buyers of display print and signage to help keep the print and sign makers focused on meeting those needs, in addition to bringing thought-provoking industry commentary and opinions from the industry’s movers, shakers, and knowledge brokers. We have a social network, where you can approach anybody, without fear of rebuke. There is a Forum where you can get business advice and also join users groups dedicated to your type of equipment or software. And if your particular make or model of kit isn’t listed, just let us know and we’ll set it up for you straight away. No quibble. We also carry news and features just like any other ‘conventional’ paper-based publications, except our news and features are updated daily. And there will never be a whiff of a membership fee or any other catch designed to part honest, hardworking people from their money. We hope to survive by providing affordable banner advertising and sponsorships.
Q3: We notice a lot of social media, helpful videos and user interaction built into the site. Could you explain your reasoning behind this?
Our aim is to provide an engaging experience for everybody involved in printing, be it the buyer, printer or the supplier. We passionately believe that there needs to be a stronger element of transparency in the way that we begin to interact with one another as we move further into the twenty-first century. After all, this is the Internet age right? This means that if you join our Social Networking Community, you will be completely at liberty, unlike such sites as LinkedIn, for example, to contact people that you think that you would like to get to know better and to engage with them in a well managed, open, friendly and thoroughly professional business environment. You are are not going to get banned from contacting anybody, just because you wanted to enter into a dialogue with somebody, because this is why you signed up to the social network in the first place. The idea is to empower everybody, no matter who they are, to be able to talk freely and without restriction to everybody and anybody in their own industry. It is also geared to empower people who might not otherwise have the same kind of support services available to them, such as the small or medium business owner.
Our Forum is also geared towards helping people to help themselves in business, but is more geared towards specific topics. That’s why we have established ‘agencies’ in the forum. For example, we have a business ‘agency’ where you can ask for business advice. There is also a marketing ‘agency’ where we can help you with any problems or give you tips and pointers; the PR ‘agency’ will advise people on how to get more media exposure for their business. We have a creative ‘studio’ for [graphic design] and software issues, a training ‘academy’ where help can be provided for training and other related issues. The forum is also host to a whole series of ‘user groups’ where users of a particular brand of hardware or software can meet online to discuss issues, tips, tricks and wrinkles to improve their working lives using these business tools in their own companies either as business owners or as employees. There’s also a virtual pub with a couple of bars; one for shop/trade talk and the other has an ‘anything goes’ informality about it.
The thing we are most excited about though is our [YouTube] TV channel – GDWTV. This is where we can really get into the heart of our industry. As GDW’s editorial director, I am also the cameraman, sound guy and film editor! It’s something that I love doing and I plan to be getting out into the market and making lots of short films (never more than five minutes) about everything to do with the world of display and signage. So, for example, I will be conducting vox pops with both visitors and exhibitors at trade shows. I will be going out into the market to meet printers to make short films about what they are doing with their hardware, software, consumables, their customer relations – everything. I also plan to meet some buyers of print through my association as press officer for IPPSA – the association for print buyers – to film interviews with them about how printers can best help themselves when pitching for work. The potential for this type of free content is limitless and we are pioneering this concept; taking it much further than anybody has been able to do before.
Thank you Colin for the time and insights and for such a lovely new social community at Graphic Display Community. Join it today – I did.
You are also welcome to join the Markzware User Group on LinkedIn and remember to use FlightCheck to preflight files to check print files for print quality before document output. See more printing solutions on the Markzware Products page.
Graphic Display World a new print-media resource and community