Regional Magazines as the Community Lynchpin

Earlier today I wrote about Live from Southside Magazine, a local San Antonio publication that is thriving on a tried-and-true business model — local ad revenue. Apparently, I’m not the only one who believes local and regional magazines have a leg-up in this rollercoaster economy we are working in. 

Amy Flurry is a marketing consultant who helps interior design professionals develop solid outreach strategies, and she advises her clients to build relationships with regional editors to gain exposure in their market.

“Regional editors can play a significant role in the rise of an interior designer,” Flurry writes. “Building those relationships may take a little time for the editor to get a feel for your work, story and style. But when that happens, it’s impactful in so many ways.” 

Flurry believes these local magazines are a huge resource for local businesses, especially those seeking their “breakout” first story in print. 

“Even before homeowners push ‘go’ on a reno, they pick up the area home magazines for inspiration and to get a sense for designers and architects in their area,” Flurry writes. “A national magazine may bring street cred, but regional placements bring paying clients.”

This kind of local relationship is why many local and regional magazines are weathering the pandemic fairly well. Jeff Stites, publisher of Southport Magazine near Wilmington, North Carolina, says their ad revenue remained strong this year, even given all the challenges the local business community faced.

“We are the closest magazine outlet for these local business; we’re working in the same communities, members of the same chambers of commerce, we’re friends and neighbors and have a rapport with our local business community that survives things like this pandemic,” Stites said in a phone call. 

“And this is far from our first disaster,” Stites continued; his coastal community was hit with several hurricanes the last few years. “Our community is used to coming together.  We all face the same challenges, because we are all in the same boat. That builds a huge level of trust, going through these challenges together.” 

That trust extends to the readers of regional magazines, making these magazines the perfect networking vehicle. Flurry believes that strong relationships with local and regional editors are a solid way to get invited to important events in your area, like design showcases and expos that put you in front of new customers.

“Receiving an invitation to participate in a showhouse generally arrives after your work is a regular on the desk of regional editors and in the pages of regional magazines,” Flurry notes. “Additionally, design centers often partner with regional editors in pulling together panels and other educational events. Relationships are key!”

Local and regional print magazines are truly a lynchpin to the business community, serving an essential role to both businesses and ad partners … in any kind of weather.