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Publisher that’s making the most of the down time

Galway-based publisher Golden Egg Productions is tackling the effects of the recession with a revamped website designed to attract new business. Patricia McCrossan, the company’s founder and managing director, said the downturn had created a valuable opportunity for companies to reassess boomtime strategies.

‘‘In the middle of the boom, we were so busy producing the magazines every month that we found it difficult to do everything we wanted to do,’’ McCrossan said. ‘‘We now have space to think about our priorities, and especially the web end of the business.

Expanding social media

‘‘We redesigned our site completely, relaunched it in March and we are very pleased with the results. Our deputy editor, Jo Lavelle, blogs each day, and we are really expanding on the social media end of it. We are working on different online packages for advertisers at the moment.’’

Golden Egg organised the first ever Irish Fashion Innovation Awards in February, featuring such luminaries as fashion guru Eddie Shanahan, jewellery designer Slim Barrett, Irish Times fashion editor Deirdre McQuillan and TG4’s Paisean Faisean presenter, Blathnaid Ni Dhonnchadha, on its judging panel.

‘‘Recognising young talent was something we had always wanted to do,’’ McCrossan said.‘‘It took seven months of really hard work, but it was absolutely brilliant. It was our tenth birthday as well, so it was    a nice way to celebrate. We want to keep that going on an annual basis, and for it to help Galway to be seen as a national centre for design.’’

Publishing projects

Golden Egg is also focusing on one-off publishing projects, having just produced a dining and shopping guide for the Galway City Business Association.

‘‘We have also done a few different in-house magazines for different stores,’’ McCrossan said. ‘‘We are currently working with a company in the North, and we may be publishing a magazine for it on a contract basis, which would be perfect for us.’’

Golden Egg Productions was established in 2001, following the acquisition of Galway- Now magazine. The company grew significantly through the Celtic tiger years to encompass a number of other titles, including LimerickNow and WeddingsNow. ‘‘My focus through the boom was to grow the turn- over,’’ McCrossan said.

‘‘The bottom line was not overly important, as our advertising revenue was high and our sales through the news agents were good. You were not overly worried if your bottom line was going up or down, as you had 30 per cent increase on sales year-on-year.’’

Not that recession again

The recession has forced the company to cut some titles and halve full-time staff numbers from 14 to seven. ‘‘A lot of our advertisers would not have the money to spend that they had, but they still want a presence in the magazine,’’ said McCrossan. ‘‘We have to work hard in coming up with more creative packages to fit their budget. That can mean editorial or photo-shoots, rather than big, glossy ads.

‘‘The bottom line now is the be all and end all if you want to survive. Once the recession hit, we had to look at our overheads and cut where we could, without cutting the bottom out of the business. It has not been easy, but our bottom line is much healthier now than two years ago.’’

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