What I’ve Learned From Mustard

Mustard is a comedy magazine based out of England that largely focuses on British comedians and British comedies. I stumbled across it because my favorite comedian Robin Ince linked to it in his blog, but I discovered that it is coincidentally named after a condiment, much like the site that I co-run, Plain Ketchup. And in that comparison, I suddenly realized that Mustard magazine is doing everything I (subconsciously) wanted to do, except that they’re doing it way better. Let’s compare ketchup and mustard.

mustard1. Mustard magazine is more niche than Plain Ketchup. While Mustard features British comedians and comedy tv shows, Plain Ketchup covers musicians, artists, authors, comedians, and actors from all over the world. Our audience is perhaps too broad for retention.

2. There are a lot of cartoons in Mustard. In fact, there are alternative covers where the photos of the subjects are caricatures. We do drawings of some of our guests, too, in our animated podcast, MagCast. It was our most popular podcast and what made us unique, but keeping it up was a challenge and the cartooning has fallen off.

3. You need a way to continue to connect with the contacts you’ve made over and over to strengthen the relationships. Plain Ketchup continues to promote its guests on an ongoing basis through the blog, social media, and newsletter. Mustard gets previous guests to ask questions of future guests. This is brilliant, though it probably would not fit the Plain Ketchup model because our topics are so broad, it’s likely many guests haven’t heard of other guests.

4. You need something unique. I like to think that, aside from the animations, what makes Plain Ketchup unique is that marketing tool where we promote our guests on an on-going basis by following their social feeds and newsletters and announcing their events and products as they come out. One thing that makes Mustard unique is that it has 3D paper cutout versions of all of its guests. I’m not even kidding. I’m kind of jealous.

5. Giveaway. We did giveaways for a while and might again soon. We’d ask our guests to donate something, such as a promo copy of a product or an autograph. Then we’d throw in a bunch of PK swag and do a drawing once a month. I think the people who received their box of stuff felt pretty special, so maybe we’ll try it again. Mustard does a giveaway of autographed copies of the magazine, which seems simpler and is pretty cool.

6. The obvious difference between Mustard and Plain Ketchup is that Mustard is a physical magazine and Plain Ketchup is a variety of podcasts (audio, video, and animated). I find the idea of both having a physical publication of your work in your hand and the fun you can have with layout and design really attractive. I don’t think it’s economically practical for us at this time, though.

Anyway, I’ve bought one copy and it’s really cool. They do ship worldwide, so you do not have to be in the UK to get a copy.


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