In late December 2017, Seventeen magazine turned 73. At the time, they were leveraging social media to introduce new readers to the brand and built an audience of 12 million readers. A year later, they announced a change in print strategy, moving away from a monthly title to a quarterly “special issue” format.
Their first themed issue – on the topic of college — is now on the newsstands, writes Sara Jerde in AdWeek.
“It’s the first themed issue the Hearst brand is tackling in a special, 92-page spread after announcing last year that the magazine would be eliminating its subscription service and would only print four special issues per year, centered on themes,” Jerde writes.
“This idea of having four SIPs around topics that are of significant importance and relevance to this demographic gives us an opportunity to have something that is substantial that you can hold in your hands,” said Nancy Berger, Seventeen svp/publishing director and chief revenue officer.
Advertisers Maybelline and Fossil both play prominent roles in this issue, the first with a cover spread and the latter with the back cover.
“We thought this would give those advertisers something special. They loved having ownership to the magazine, which you really can’t get elsewhere,” Berger said.
They’ve moved away from the iconic “cover star” approach, as their readers can now follow their faves in real time on social media. Instead, they are using these quarterly SIPs to curate useful content that won’t expire so quickly.
“It was important for this issue to have the kind of content that wouldn’t go stale fast, but also serve as a one-stop place for readers to read about what they were googling,” Jerde writes. “That’s the way this generation is consuming print,” Berger explained.
“Other top magazine publishers are using the same strategy of committing to printing special issues, including Condé Nast (with its Glamour brand) and Meredith (with Cooking Light),” Jerde writes, “… using the opportunity to attract print ad dollars centered on big life moments for their readers or the brand’s marquee events.”
When the information truly matters – when it’s useful and important –readers want it in print. Hearst understands this, even as the print newsstand moves from mass market to niche. All of us – even the digitally native younger generations – need that time to unplug and engage with printed material that matters.