I’ve been sharing a lot of news lately on brands that are starting their own print magazines. Many of these brands are – as we might expect – well established with plenty of name recognition, like Facebook’s print magazine Grow, or Airbnb’ s print venture with Hearst.
Yet plenty of the new titles are from small, digital-first and non-mainstream brands, like Hodinkee magazine for watch aficionados. This trend proves that the “must haves” of magazine publishing – like big budgets and massive name appeal – are no longer relevant.
“One notable recent example is luggage company Away, which started publishing its in-house magazine Here in 2017 after noticing that people were calling its customer service line looking for travel tips,” notes this article in Provoke.
“Away hired an in-house editorial team to curate content for the publication, which features crisp design, beautiful images and stories from around the world, the article,” the article continues. “The magazine is included with each luggage order, so anyone receiving it has a certain amount of income and is about to travel. As a direct-to-consumer company, Away understand the demographics of their customer base, which has a clear appeal for advertisers and partners.”
Ah, so there it is again – the audience-first approach that led them to create a print magazine. We see more and more examples of brands that are truly tuning in to their audience to determine what kind of content to create and how they want to consume it – often in spite of what the marketing experts are telling them to do.
As the Provoke article explains, a successful brand title can deliver several benefits to your audience and to your bottom line, if you follow a few key points:
- Build your product stories around people.
- Balance high quality, independent editorial content against commercial goals – this isn’t a catalogue.
- Use great visual design and photo-heavy stories that speak of your brand values.
- Combine print and digital for maximum success: print provides a unique offline experience, whereas digital can be set up to convert sales more easily.
“In the smartphone-worshipping 21st century, print may not seem like the obvious choice, but a successful brand magazine will add value to your customer’s experience, provide useful information about your audience demographics, and can even generate advertising revenue,” it continues. “Creating and sharing curated content that appeals to your target market is and has always been one of the most rewarding ways to attract new customers and nurture brand loyalty.”
And isn’t that what marketing is all about in this post-millennial landscape? Especially now that digital marketing in on the serious outs, with ad execs finally saying enough is enough, print retains its strengths as a trustworthy and welcome platform.
“Though some advertisers are hesitant to invest in print to the extent they have in the past, user behaviours don’t match this prejudice against the medium – people still enjoy the experience of reading magazines,” the article concludes. “The tactility of print and the ritual of sitting down to read a magazine won’t be replaced soon or easily.”
Watch for more branded titles to emerge in print this year, as smaller brands realize the value of print in their publishing model. It’s the new media age we’ve been talking about for so long – and it’s here, now, in living color.