The “good thing” cliché is inevitable, I suppose. According to Caysey Welton writing in MIN, print truly is a good thing for Martha Stewart Living. Welton interviewed the magazine’s editor-in-chief Elizabeth Graves about what lies ahead for the brand.
Graves, who moved to Living from Martha Stewart Weddings last year, says the evolution of the magazine is grounded with a firm understanding their brand and its value.
“We took a good look at our core values first: Who we are as a brand? What have we always stood for? And what will continue to be important to us forever and always? Then we set out to innovate and bring in new energy and life,” Graves explains.
That new energy comes in the form of a new content flow, new columns, new imagery and reuniting the Everyday Food concept under the Living banner. The results are encouraging.
“We saw our audience grow bigger and get a little younger,” Graves continues. “Newsstand continues to be a challenge for everyone, but we were encouraged by having more than a few wins and nice surprises there, and our subscriptions are up.”
(And we have to note — yet another media brand focusing on subscriptions; clearly, it’s a growing and encouraging change in our industry.)
Graves is quick to credit their brand’s relationship with their readers for their success, saying “People are taking note of where their content comes from, and since we’re a trusted brand, this helps our cause.”
The title is an excellent example of a magazine using all the available channels to engage and nurture those relationships in a true audience-first approach – they have a solid presence across channels, and are leveraging their annual awards event and spin-off meetups in cities around the U.S. All of it centers on solidifying the reader’s experience.
Graves is candid about print and its importance to the brand. “Not all magazines necessitate a printed form, but Living does—our readers continue to enjoy and save issue after issue. The visual experience is important to them. We are also a magazine about celebrating life, and that never falls out of fashion in good times or bad,” she notes.
“It takes a village to help maintain print’s integrity and the power of the platform,” she concludes. “But it is unparalleled when it comes to reader trust, and we need to keep that.”
In an era of fake news and the general erosion of the line between editorial and ads, it’s great so see such unabashed commitment to the brand and its readers.