9 Changes Print Must Make Now

Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni certainly has a way with words.

“Digital is a beautiful and seductive mistress,” Husni told the audience at a recent Media24 editors forum.

“In 2010 we fell in love with iPads and smartphones – but our one-night-stand became a love affair, and we started robbing our faithful spouse, print, to spend more money on the mistress.”

“But five years later, where’s the money? The mistress has run away with it, while print is still bringing in the cash.”

According to Adelle Horler in Storyboard, the answer is that digital is a sister, not a lover. “Print and digital have a happily-ever-after future together.”

Print is increasingly being recognized a premium medium in its own right, yet Husni insists that print has to make some changes to remain powerful and continue to stay relevant into and beyond the digital age.

So what are the nine changes print publishers must make to do this? According to Husni it’s this:

  1. Be curators of content. “There’s too much content, and a scarcity of curation.” Print can say: we’ve done the research for you, now here are the answers.
  2. Be analyzers of data. “Google knows more about me than my wife. We must analyze the data so we know our audiences.” Rather than focus groups, he suggested taking 10 readers to lunch. “Listen to their challenges. Then feed their hunger.”
  3. Be creators of solutions. “Amid so much conflicting content, validate information for readers. Let them depend on you by being one step ahead – preview the near future.”
  4. Be masters of opinions. “Start conversations and lead public debate – you are the authority. Then, importantly, let the audience know they’re being heard, even if you don’t agree.”
  5. Be makers of experiences. “Share and create experiences that lead to engagement.”
  6. Be suppliers of addiction. “Nobody needs a magazine, so you need to make readers dependent on you. Dispense the drugs the audience needs. Change their wants to needs.”
  7. Be witty storytellers. “Fulfill your readers’ needs, but don’t forget the cliffhanger to make them buy the next issue.”
  8. Be provoker of emotions. Create content that stirs emotional reactions.
  9. Be innovators in print; keep doing things differently.

Sage advice, as always, from Mr. Magazine.