Many new and old print titles are trying to reinvent themselves in this digital age. Despite publishers of many of these titles migrating advertising dollars from physical to digital platforms, high-end and luxury print magazines continue to draw readers — and the advertisers who want to reach them.
The appeal of glossy
As digital, social media, and mobile technologies have fragmented once strong magazine loyalties, and dwindling consumer attention spans favor short, concise reads, some print magazines struggle to remain relevant. Print is simply not a dynamic medium that caters to the “need-it-yesterday” mindset of today’s on-the-go consumers. And that’s precisely why luxury fashion, art, and travel titles are still popular and in high demand for members of a very large and very loyal audience. These consumers are in search of a different experience.
As the international president of Vogue told Medium, “it is very hard to replicate the physical allure of a luxury magazine on other platforms. It has something to do with the sheen of the paper, the way that the ink sits on the page, the smell of money and desire that wafts off the page. Readers move into a different mode when they engage with a glossy.” In fact, despite the common notion that digital has cut into the revenues of print magazines in general, Vogue has seen a steady increase in magazine sales after the rise of the internet.
Another reason for the success of the luxury magazine sector is that titles target specific niches. These magazines can serve members of this elite readership — which includes those who are typically well-off, appreciate quality, think of the magazine as a status symbol, and often purchase it for the advertising. Prestige magazines are status symbols, and advertisers love how their ads appear in their pages.
Keeping print relevant
Although these high-end luxury magazines continue to experience growth, their publishers can’t sit back and watch the profits roll in. It is a constant challenge to maintain relevancy.
With the number of media options consumers have today — print, digital, social media, mobile, YouTube — publishers need to broaden the methods they use to reach their core audiences. Instead of concentrating on producing a high-quality once-a-month luxury experience, publishers need to turn their magazines into brands complete with a print magazine element.
It should not be a matter of choosing print or digital. Each should work synergistically to complement and enhance the other. Print is an excellent branding and marketing tool, and digital can augment the print content with additional real-time information, interactivity, and multimedia aspects. Digital can increase magazine reach, keep magazines continually in the minds of core audience members, and push casual readers into becoming subscribers.
Take, for example, The Wall Street Journal‘s WSJ. Magazine. The newspaper’s monthly luxury leisure title, which recently published its tenth anniversary September issue and is a reliable print advertising vehicle, is increasing its digital presence. It is expanding its website, ramping up staff and strategy for social media and multimedia, and, instead of primarily publishing previously published print content, it will provide more original digital content. It’s also launching a newsletter to “keep the conversation going in between the weekends the monthly magazine is released.”
Like those at WSJ. Magazine, publishers need to get creative with their content and marketing. Parents magazine created an innovative “powered by Parents and presented by Clorox” editorial feature in which Clorox gets credit for content already in the publishing queue. Events — both online and in person — as well as forums, related books and newsletters, social media influencers, and other methods to engage with readers are crucial to creating a complete brand around print products.
It’s also critical to find new and innovative ways to show vendors the effectiveness of their print advertising spending.
Readers of prestige magazines want a different experience — one that a computer or mobile device screen can’t replicate. They want the touch and beauty of a luxury magazine’s pages to transport them to another world. These readers are loyal and will continue paying for the experience, as long as that experience continues to provide what they are looking for.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.