How We Created a New Media Publication for $3,743

Need/Want created a media publication called Minimums for under $4,000. Here's how they did it.

February 19, 2016

Minimums is our new publication that features the most interesting possessions of the world’s most interesting people.

At Need/Want, content has been a big part of our strategy from the beginning. We’ve experienced firsthand the power of putting out good content and building an audience. We are, by far, our own biggest referrer to all of our products.

We’ve played around with different content ideas internally since Need/Want launched. Everything we’ve put out so far with this blog is ‘inside our business’ content. That is, until Minimums.

The inception

Jon has always wanted us to start a publication of some kind. He’s dabbled with a few ideas before, but none stuck. In fact, before needwant.com was Need/Want, it was a gift guide website he started. It would feature different products that people might need or want.


old-needwant

Need/Want before it was Need/Want

This “gift guide” website didn’t really work, so we used needwant.com for our new company’s brand. The rest is history.

The benefits of creating content are clear. The problem is that creating good content that people want to consume is hard. The posts on our blog that drive the most traffic also take the most time.

Some of our best posts take upwards of a year to gather data around and put together.

Since we’ve been working together, Jon has thought a lot about different types of content that is both interesting and relatively easy to produce. He’s pitched a lot of concepts, but we decided to ultimately not to move forward with any of them. Nothing ever felt quite right, until he pitched the concept for Minimums.


A serendipitous moment

It’s a running joke that Jon, David, and Marshall all have similar taste. One day at our office, Marshall received a box in the mail for some cologne he read about online. It was one of those random impulse buys. As he pulled it out of the box, Jon started to laugh. Jon had got the same cologne in the mail the day prior. After discussing it further, it turned out we both bought it from the same article on Airows for the exact same reason – Steve McQueen supposedly wore it back in the day.

This moment, while hilarious, reminded us why people sometimes buy. It set the seed for what Minimums shaped into.


Buying a great domain name

We were lucky and acquired minimums.com. How we got there was a journey…

Jon started brainstorming ideas and domain names. We put a lot of thought into naming our brands. Finding a good domain is just as important. However, today it’s harder than ever to name a product and find a matching domain.

Jon made a list of single words that could work. After researching design terms, shape names, animal grouping names, plant names, and a few other miscellaneous things, he had a list of 169 words. 169 potential domain names.

Here’s a screenshot of some of the domains that we inquired about. Note the scroll bar. There were a lot.

He went through and did a whois search on every .com version of those words, found the registrants’ email addresses and sent them a super quick email like the following…

Subject: Minimums.com
Body: Would you ever sell this domain? Do you have a price?

Finding a great domain name (at a reasonable price) is a numbers game. If you inquire about enough of them eventually you’ll find a good deal.

Out of 169 emails that we sent roughly 100 people replied.

Out of the 100 people that replied about 50 of the domains were “for sale”

Out of the 50 that were for sale about 5 were reasonably priced.

Out of the 5 that were reasonably priced, minimums.com was the best deal and our favorite.

The original asking price was $3,088 but we managed to negotiate the price down to $2,250.


Proof of concept

We wanted to be on site for the first shoot to understand issues that may come up. During the shoot with Adam Frager, we were all so consumed with the stories Adam had for each product. We started to realize the value of the story and “why” behind each.

Adam making us a drink using Green Chartreuse telling the history of it.

For example, the story and history around Green Chartreuse is very interesting. After he was done telling it, we came to the conclusion that it almost didn’t matter what it tasted like. We wanted it. The story was just too good.

Story really is everything.

The cologne incident happened again, this time with all three of us. As we were getting the posts together, Jack Archer recommended a S’well water bottle, and Jeff Sheldon recommended the Aquaovo glass bottle. We all ended up buying both items the same day. Maybe we’re just consumerist suckers. For the record, though, we all love the S’well bottle and haven’t received the Aquaovo yet.

swell

The S’well bottles we all bought.


Total cost to build

All said and done, Minimums has been fairly cheap to get off the ground. Our biggest expense by far was the premium domain name, and even that we got a great deal on.

Domain: $2,250
Website theme: $43
Theme edits: $600
Photography & style guide: $850

Total: $3,743

It’s been fairly easy for us to justify building Minimums. We spend thousands of dollars every month on ads for our products. Surely it’s worth investing $250-$500 a month to produce content for Minimums. It’s a great way to drive awareness to our brand and products. Based on the results we’ve seen from the Need/Want blog, I’m sure we’ll see an ROI on Minimums. We also have a lot of additional monetization ideas for it. Stay tuned!


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