A Challenge to the Claim

For the majority of the magazine industry, it seems that print magazines are starting to die out. I have heard this fact stated over and over again. It would appear that print magazines just cannot keep up with the new social media and technological advances that are happening today, and their death is inevitable.

Or is it?

I read an article from Business Insider recently, about 13 very expensive magazines that are still thriving in print today. All of the magazines were ones that most people have not heard of, and that most people probably could not afford. A few of them were even $150 for one year’s subscription! (Here’s the link to the article if you’re curious: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-expensive-niche-magazines-2010-11?op=1.)

I found it very interesting that magazines that cost so much, and were generally only available in print, could still be resisting the growing trend. Additionally, many of the magazines were only 5 or 6 issues total for a subscription, and still cost quite a bit. Yet it seems that the reason these magazines are succeeding is their tendency to target to a certain public. For example, one called Parabola focuses specifically on religion, talking about religious symbols, myths, art and rituals. It doesn’t seem that many people would be interested in subscribing to a magazine like that, but apparently the company’s high prices and quality of articles, which creates a dedicated fan base, keep it going.

This just goes to show, some of the most important ways that a magazine publication can gain readers are through pleasing its current audience, making a quality product, and targeting one group specifically.

An Example of Magazines Promoting Through Social Media

Well I know I’ve already discussed this topic before so I won’t really go into it all that much, but I recently found a video on Youtube of a magazine called “Real Simple” promoting themselves.

http://youtu.be/WMzh_wmZjtg

Not only is the video itself using social media to get their message out there (through YouTube); the managing editor of the magazine talks in the video about all of the other mediums in which the average viewer can use social media to make it easier to access in their daily lives. The video itself is professional-sounding, and uses clips from news coverage on their product to help make it seem well-known and popular. Also, the managing editor talks about being able to read articles of the magazine through iPhone apps and other similar social media.

This video is just a really good example of how magazines can use social media, in more than one way, to gain more readers and advertise in a better way.

Why Magazines Are Different From Newspapers

Now, I know what you’re all thinking. “Of course magazines and newspapers are different, I don’t need to read about this, it’s pointless!” But I’m actually not talking about the basic concept of why magazines and newspapers differ from each other in that sense. Rather, I’m talking about how this difference might help magazines last longer than newspapers, now that the Internet has started to take over and readerships are diclining for both.

I recently read an article on Gawker.com that talked about this very point. (If you would like to read the article, here’s the link:http://gawker.com/359301/the-future-of-magazines-possibly.)  The author said that magazines, although they are declining in print readership just as newspapers are, have an advantage. For one thing, magazines tailor to specfic groups of people and each specializes in certain things, whereas newspapers generally only talk about events and interesting things going on in the world.

Another point is that magazines tend to have writers who know a lot about what they are writing, which gives them more credibility and professional knowledge than most journalists, who often have to learn about the topic of their story as they are writing it. People appreciate writers with experience and knowledge in their stories.

However, there is one possible problem with magazines that newspapers do not really have: magazines depend heavily on the economy being good. If people don’t have the extra cash to spend on reading something they enjoy, they will simply unsubscribe. Many magazine companies suffered, and continue to suffer, during the recent economic problems that have been going on in our country. Meanwhile, newspapers will not necessarily lose readers for this reason, as people will usually not decline a chance to learn about what is going on in our country. In fact, they may even gain readers who want to keep tabs on the economic depression.

A Change In The Relationship Between Magazines and Celebrities

In the past, people would go to big magazine labels, such as People, to learn about their favorite celebrities and any new information about their lives. However, the trend nowadays is for the public to go straight to the source – the celebrities themselves.

Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter have become increasingly popular for celebrities. They can choose to say whatever they would like (within reason) and get it out instantly to the hundreds or thousands of people that follow their accounts, instead of letting the paparazzi decide how the public will view them.

An example of this situation is the recent birth of Jay-Z and Beyonce’s daughter, Blue Ivy Carter. According to the Huffington Post, normally when celebrities have children large magazines will fight over who gets to release the first pictures, usually offering giant amounts of money to the couple as bribery. However, in this case, Jay-Z and Beyonce posted the pictures themselves, to Jay-Z’s Tumblr account.

This simply shows how the field for magazines, and how they can bring about public relations to celebrities, is constantly changing. Magazines may have to step up their publications in some way if they want to gain the power over and respect of celebrities that they once had.

For more information on the Huffington Post article, please go to this website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/21/celebrity-baby-photos_n_1291502.html.

Creating Your Own Online Magazine!

So I found this video on YouTube the other day (just a side note: YouTube is one of my most favorite things ever, and I’m slightly addicted. Bascially.).

http://youtu.be/GQTIzsUGAqo

This man, Mark Clifton, actually has quite a few videos talking about marketing and public relations, and I happened to find this one involving tips on how to create your own online magazine, (or, as it is apparently called, a Web-Zine). From 1:41 on, he talks about public relations and communicating with people that subscribe to your magazine.

Clifton says that it is important to keep the people subscribing to your magazine feeling important and involved. This is especially true when you first start out, since you probably don’t have many readers or publicity. And nothing is stronger in public relations than people telling other people something positive about your product. So keep people feeling involved, and your magazine will be well on it’s way to becoming the next big thing!

What About Social Media?

In my last post, I talked about how magazines promote themselves through public media on the Internet in general. This time I want to delve more specifically into the area of social media, and how magazines are using this newfound phenomenon in their PR campaigns.

According to Mashable, a website that discusses various kinds of social media, there are a number of ways (seven to be exact) that magazines can use social media to draw in new readers through sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, etc. If you would like to read this article yourself, here is the link: http://mashable.com/2011/02/09/social-media-magazines/

One of these ways is through collaborating with other magazines and newspapers, by reblogging information that readers might find relevant to their lives. Although this might seem counterproductive at first (who wants to tell people that they should read another magazine, not yours, to find out something?), it actually works well in a round-about sort of way. Gaining readers’ trust is one of the ways that magazines can draw people in, and if a publication honestly says, “Hey, I don’t have this information, but you can go here to find it,” not only will people think the publication is trustworthy, they will also realize that when the magazine does publish something, they  must know what they are talking about.

Another way that magazines are using social media sites to attract their public is more obvious; they use sites like Twitter and Facebook to update their followers in real time with experts in the field and important information that the people may want to know immeadiately. Being able to communicate with experts can make readers realize how valuable the publication is, and can also let them see how many connections the publication has in higher places.They can also conduct contests, which can draw people in most effectively. (At least, I know I often join contests if the prize is something I really want, even if I have never hear of the company before.) Events are also easier to do, such as when inviting people via sites like Facebook, since a magazine company can simply press a button and all of its followers will be notified of the event.

And one of the biggest advantages of social media sites: THEY ARE FREE (generally). Free publicity (as long as its postive) is something every magazine desires. To get your name out there, so people will actually be thinking about you.

(I left out quite a few of the other reasons that magazines will use social media sites, so if you are interested in learning more about this, again here is the link to the article: http://mashable.com/2011/02/09/social-media-magazines/. Also, for an example of a magazine’s social media site, go to http://www.facebook.com/#!/dogfancy, http://www.facebook.com/#!/peoplemag, or http://www.facebook.com/#!/vogue.)

Magazines – Using The Internet To Gain Readers

Hello there! This is the first post on my new blog! How exciting!

In case you did not yet realize, this blog will be about magazines, and more specifically, how magazines use public relations to promote themselves. Because contrary to popular belief, magazines actuallydoneed to promote themselves to gain followers. That is how they are able to stay in business.

One of the more prominent ways that magazines advertise themselves is through the Internet. However, posting ads on Facebook or Google is not the only way to do this. Rather, they seem to be using the Internet mostly to post new articles never seen before (for their current customers), or to lure new customers into being curious enough in their publishings to subscribe fully, according to an article on The Bivings Report, (entitled The Presence of Magazines on the Internet – here is the link if you would like to read the article yourself:http://www.bivingsreport.com/2006/the-presence-of-magazines-on-the-internet/).

This article talks about how The Bivings Group completed two studies, one on how newspapers are using the Internet and another on magazines. Apparently, newspapers are using the Internet more for printing actual articles, while magazines, as I stated above, use the Internet mostly to supplement their real-life printing and to encourage newcomers to subscribe to the magazine.

The article then goes on to describe what most magazines actually have on their website in more specific terms. Here is a chart put at the end of the article showing all the different things magazines use in websites (although I will talk about some of them later).

maggraph.gif

48% of the magazines’ websites have RSS feeds, the most common feature for all of the magazines studied. RSS feeds are used as a sort of news or information medium to make these things available for all who have access to that site. 46% of websites have message boards for people to comment on, giving their feedback about something the magazine did or wrote. This is especially one of the more important aspects of public relations, since getting feedback on the magazine can help the publishers to make it better.

You will also notice that under the catagory of RSS feeds including ads, 0% of the magazines studied used this promotion on their websites. It appears that the act of subscription (since 38% of the magazine websites required registration to view some part of the website) makes up for advertising the magazine in more traditional methods.

We all know how it feels to go on to a newspaper or magazine site and see an article that we are actually interested in, only to click on the link and read something like, “You must subscribe in order to read this article.” I know there are times when I’ve actually considered subscribing just to satisfy my curiousity about the one article that I wanted to read, which I know seems ridiculous! But this is the effectiveness of the forced subscription, and the magazine website that is a prominent part of the magazine’s advertising.

(For more information on this subject, or if you would like to read the rest of the article OR the actual study from which it was written, just click on this link: http://www.bivingsreport.com/2006/the-presence-of-magazines-on-the-internet/. The study link is posted at the end of the article.)