I am reading so many positive pieces about print. The death knell that has rung loud and long for print publications over the last decade or two is fading. That dirge may well be done, and good riddance!
By no means do I discount the power and pervasiveness of the online magazine - the immediacy, the connectivity, the mobility, the metrics. The marketer and publisher’s dream alike. But something is happening out there regarding the print magazine, and it appears to be spanning some surprising demographics.
Print magazine evangelist Samir “Mr Magazine” Husni has been tracking the good news for years, heralding the increasing trend of new print publications coming to market. If you haven’t read his latest Hot Launch list, you should. It’s worth your time.
Luxury and lifestyle magazines lead the pack. It’s understandable. Big, bold, beautifully printed pages convey luxury and affluence – and really do draw the reader into an experience. What’s more, this type of upscale publication is now finding favor with millennials, in addition to the more senior, staid and affluent audience.
Other newsstand and checkout over-achievers include Hearst powerhouses such as Food Network Magazine, Dr. Oz The Good Life, and HGTV Magazine. Health is another category that continues to draw more print readers, particularly among millennials. (For more data on millennials and print magazines, check out this recent Conde Nast report.)
Millennials are print devotees? What could be more encouraging? Well, in an article titled Teens and Tweens are a Print-Hungry Audience, I found more to smile about, as well as a revelation or two. There’s a new group of emerging print darlings – magazines targeted to teenaged girls.
What really struck me was that this adolescent audience, truly one of the most social media savvy tribes around, is turning to print because print has something they can’t get online. Like? Posters, wall galleries, designer templates, recipe cards, cooking conversion charts, even placemats.
That was my “ah-ha” moment. Print can and should go beyond the glam, and actually get functional.
Be Functional, with Regularity
Build the expectation with your readers that each and every issue will give them a functional print take-away. Every special interest magazine stakes claim and expertise to a passion shared by its readership. One piece of valuable content per print issue brings readers back. For a travel publication, it may be a quality map; for a craft magazine, a paper activity. Greeting cards, posters, checklists, pocket reference charts, how-to instructions, sheet music… ideas abound. For instance, Classic Sewing magazine includes pattern envelopes within the issue.
I know people who cut out favorite New Yorker cartoons and tack them to a bulletin board or fridge for a little levity. OK; I might be one of those people.
With this revelation, I started to see the divide. Online publications will continue to thrive. Their best attributes: the ability to search and navigate with ease, to quickly find facts and information, to facilitate instant response or action, to access video/audio, to consume content in bites while on the go.
Print magazines, on the other hand, give the reader license to take time, immerse oneself in the pages, to dream, inspire, and absorb a mood. And they can do one more thing: deliver something of function and value to the reader that can’t be found with their online counterpart.
Rumors of print’s demise have indeed been greatly exaggerated.
So, let me take a little liberty with a favorite poet, “…never send to know for which print magazine the bell tolls. Instead, pump some purpose into your print!”