Mequoda Systems Pivots into Consumer Publishing with Food Gardening Magazine Launch

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After nearly two decades of helping other consumer publishers launch and run successful digital magazine publishing systems, Mequoda Systems has pivoted into the consumer magazine publishing business with the launch of its own consumer magazine brand.

Food Gardening Magazine April 2021 Issue Cover

Food Gardening Magazine

When Nicholas brought the idea of launching a gardening magazine to his management team, he was surprised by their enthusiastic response.

After nearly two decades of helping other consumer publishers launch and run successful digital magazine publishing systems, Mequoda Systems has pivoted into the consumer magazine publishing business with the launch of its own consumer magazine brand. Food Gardening Network launched in January 2021 and continues to grow with fresh content daily.

“We’ve been around long enough to know that the pandemic was going to put a hole in our new business development pipeline,” says Mequoda CEO and executive publisher Don Nicholas.

When Nicholas brought the idea of launching a gardening magazine to his management team, he was surprised by their enthusiastic response. “I knew we had one gardening expert on the team because we’ve taught a gardening case study for years that she’s helped lead. I was surprised to find that we actually had a bunch of food gardeners, including more than half of our content generation team. We’ve routinely hired journalists to be copywriters over the years because of the kind of content-driven marketing that we do. The unintended byproduct is that we also discovered we had a deep editorial bench on the topic of food gardening,” Nicholas says.

Nicholas shares about the details of the pivot, “As our bandwidth opened up in the spring of 2020, we quickly put together the editorial team that would produce Food Gardening Magazine and Food Gardening Network, and then divided out the technology and business roles and responsibilities—just as we would do for our clients and partners,” says Nicholas.

Over the coming months the organization produced six prototype magazine issues which include companion videos, and 18 book-length gardening guides on specific plants, ranging from tomatoes and basil to quinoa and avocados. Their eight-person blogging and social media team generated 130 daily posts and set up all the appropriate social media pages for launch. Following their own best practices, Mequoda generated three freebies to use as email subscription incentives by repurposing the daily posts: How to Grow a Vegetable Garden, Recipes from Your Garden, and The Best Way to Grow Tomatoes.

“Things really did move quickly, because we’ve done this so many times before with our clients and partners as content producers. I believe the editorial content our team has produced is as good as any we see working with clients and partners over the years. And because everyone who works here understands our best practices for digital magazine publishing, all the premium content fits neatly into our digital magazine publishing frameworks,” says Nicholas.

The new Food Gardening Network digital magazine publishing system went live on January 5 and has been warming up its marketing channels using all the best practices the company has been teaching for years. Mequoda is also working with a number of third-party publishers to initiate reciprocal marketing programs. Nicholas and his team have taught thousands of industry professionals the Mequoda strategy for digital magazine publishing over the past couple of decades, and those relationships are a key part of the Food Gardening Magazine and Food Gardening Network business strategy.

“More than 30 years ago, I launched Magazine Week as its editor-in-chief. Since then, virtually all of my time has been spent helping others publish their magazines, books, and newsletters. As rewarding as I find that work, I must say that I am really enjoying the role of executive publisher and the feeling of accomplishment that goes with starting and running a new digital magazine publishing business from scratch,” says Nicholas.

Over the past couple of decades, Nicholas and his team have guided the development of more than 300 digital publishing and marketing systems spanning dozens of consumer and business topics. The company currently partners with 10 organizations, providing marketing and technology services for more than 100 premium information products including magazines, books, newsletters, and events.

Nicholas is quick to point out that he and his team are looking forward to helping other publishers plan, launch, operate, and optimize digital magazine publishing systems for their legacy brands today and in the future. He’s hopeful that after the pandemic is over, his pipeline of new partners will open back up, and the experience he and his team are gaining with Food Gardening Magazine and Food Gardening Network will make them an ever more valuable marketing and technology partner.

About Food Gardening Network: Food Gardening Network was founded by home food gardeners and for home food gardeners—the mission is to serve gardeners with tips, tools, advice, and recipes for growing and enjoying good food at home. During the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020, it became apparent that home food gardening would grow beyond a hobby for many home gardeners. Food Gardening Network launched in January of 2021 as an all-encompassing resource for gardeners of all skill levels, with in-depth articles on planning, planting, maintaining, and harvesting home garden crops. Food Gardening Network also includes easy-to-prepare recipes so home gardeners can enjoy the fruits of their labor in delicious, creative ways.

About Mequoda: For nearly two decades, Mequoda has been exploring and expanding the evolving art and science of digital magazine publishing. The Mequoda methodology and frameworks are used around the globe to power state-of-the-art digital magazine publishing systems. The company’s Haven WordPress software platform hosts more than a dozen diverse digital publishing and marketing systems including Cabot Wealth Network, Financial Freedom Federation, Food Gardening Network, I Like Crochet Network, I Like Knitting Network, Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School, RecipeLion Clubs, TSI Wealth Network, Yankee, and Your AAA Network.

About Don Nicholas: During his decades-long career, Mequoda CEO Don Nicholas has worked with colleagues, clients and partners to design digital publishing and marketing systems for more than 300 magazines, newsletters, memberships, clubs, and events. Don currently serves as executive publisher for Cabot Wealth Network, Financial Freedom Federation, Food Gardening Network, I Like Crochet Network, I Like Knitting Network, and RecipeLion Clubs. His team's Haven WordPress CXMS offers publishers the industry’s most flexible and robust online publishing and marketing platform.

Contact: To request complimentary press access to Food Gardening Network, or to speak with a member of our team, please contact Christy Page at Christy@Mequoda.com or (617) 217-2559. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook @Mequoda

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