New EIC for Popular Meredith Title Embraces Print Proud, Digital Smart Mantra

If there’s one thing magazines still desperately need in this digital age, it’s good editors. Yes, of course, it’s important to use digital as appropriate for your brand’s reach and engagement. But at the helm, we need people who firmly believe in the underlying strength of their print titles.

Focusing on digital needs over print is a mistake we sometimes see in this industry, as some media execs speak about a “shift to digital” over a “print plus digital” approach.

Not so for one brand: Lauren Iannotti, the new editor-in-chief for Meredith’s Rachel Ray Every Day, asserts that “we’re still quite a print-forward brand.”

“My goal is to elevate all of our numbers, get all of our numbers up without neglecting the care and feeding of our beautiful print magazine,” Iannotti explained in an interview with Samir “Mr. Magazine” Husni.

Iannotti has a long-standing relationship with the brand, serving most recently as executive editor, and certainly has plans to expand their reach in digital content and social presence. But at the end of the day, she understands that the work she is doing is first and foremost about the audience.

For lifestyle brands like Rachel Ray Every Day, the audience seeks different content in different ways – quick recipes online, crafting how-to videos – but at the heart of the lifestyle experience is the print magazine.

“What I’ve always loved about working in magazines, working in the media, working for these content brands, is that we’re improving people’s lives,” Iannotti continues. “We entertain and inform them; we’re giving them something that is quality, and I think, especially in this day and age when they’re seeing a lot of gunk, they still know that there are certain brands that mean quality. We’re one of them; Meredith makes high-quality brands.”

She’s embracing what Husni has coined as the “print proud and digital smart” idea, “… to be where our readers are seeking us; make sure that we’re on the platforms where they look for us on, or our kind of content on, so we can serve them where they’re looking for us and where they need us.

And at the base of it all is the print title, she explains, saying “…we’ll still always delight in producing the print magazine. I want to bring the print magazine’s voice into 2018 feeling modern and cool, and very much like Rachael. She’s a cool woman and she’s doing lots of awesome stuff, and I want to make sure that we’re representing that well in the magazine.”

Social media, she notes, will help gain new audiences for the brand, “those who may not be aware of all of the cool and interesting things Rachael has been up to.”

As I’ve noted before, it’s not about “either/or” when it comes to digital: Many publishers are doing great things there. Still, it’s important to remember that, for the men and women who lead this industry, imagination will always trump technology. Meanwhile, remain proud of print and what it can do, while being savvy about digital as a way to help us all keep doing it.