THERE IS A WHOLE NEW MARKET READY FOR A PRINT MAGAZINE SURGE
Ad spend for print magazines continues to dwindle. Some sources say that the print magazine industry puts on a brave face, but the writing is on the wall: print is failing in the digital age.
However, there are other sources that claim that print magazine is poised for a revival, and there’s plenty of evidence to indicate the show is far from over.
For example, a Kickstarter campaign was recently launched to bring the beloved Amazing Stories sci-fi brand back to life – in the form of a print magazine, of all things.
Celebrities and brands are continually expressing interest in their own branded magazines. Just a couple years ago, magazine goliath Meredith experienced its first time ever launching a new magazine and getting a call that a major retailer was already sold out.
That’s right – companies are creating new magazines and consumers are investing in magazine revivals DESPITE the data that claims ad spend is on the decline.
This is great news for the print magazine industry that was thought to be teetering on the brink of death just a couple of years ago. Here’s what we’re already seeing from print magazines and predict to continue thriving in the coming years:
Print Has Officially Achieved Cult Status
The digital era hasn’t been as widely embraced as many would believe. In fact, there are some niches and audiences that are outright against adopting digital in their lives and are taking a stand against the fast-paced technology industry.
Much like the resurgence of vinyl, magazines are experiencing their time in the spotlight with a cult-like following. There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia associated with print magazines, and Millennials and Gen Z-ers are latching onto magazines because they offer a different experience than what they’re used to.
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, either. Many old-school formats are experiencing a renaissance, like direct mail, classic 8-bit video games, film cameras, and the aforementioned vinyl records. The hipster generation has led the foray into nostalgic entertainment and marketing, and its effects are certainly being felt throughout the industry.
There’s definitely a sense of nostalgia associated with print magazines.
Influencer Marketing Remains Strong in Print Magazines
When you think of modern influence marketing, things like IG models and bloggers typically spring to mind. But print magazines are quickly turning into the newest channel for influencers, and it’s easy to see why.
Meredith’s recent launch of The Magnolia Journal features HGTV stars Chip and Joanna Gaines, two of the most famous faces in DIY home renovations. Within a year of its launch, the magazine had racked up a 1.2 million full-price claim rate and an average sell rate of 62%, which is more than twice the industry average.
Other influencer-based magazines, like Oprah’s O magazine, Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, and Ree Drummond’s The Pioneer Woman, have taken a unique position in the magazine industry by bringing a new level of recognition and loyal fan bases to the print sector. Publications like these require a major investment from magazine publishers, but they’re quickly realizing that the investment is more than worthwhile by finding influencers with an already-strong, loyal, and sizeable fan base.
In fact, some may argue that influencer-based magazines are a driving force why some print magazines are still alive. For example, major television network Lifetime tried to duplicate the success of Hearst’s O magazine but shuttered the publication less than two years after it was launched.
The failure stemmed from the fact that, despite the love for the Lifetime network, there was no single unifying influencer for the intended audience. Its viewers watched Lifetime movies, but the magazine lacked a central focal point, so failure was imminent.
While The Magnolia Journal numbers are nowhere near the industry’s biggest magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, which has a circulation rate of over 7.6 million, it does show that there’s still plenty of room in the market for a print magazine revival to occur, if executed correctly.
This lack of uniqueness has penetrated other magazines, which has led to many long-time publications shuttering.
Indy Magazines Are All the Rage
Aside from major magazine publishers like Meredith, indy publishers are quickly gaining recognition for trendy, niche-specific magazines. These are ultra-specific titles for an ultra-specific audience that promote curiosity, intrigue, free-spiritedness, and high value in their subject matter.
Granted, the topics are fairly common across the board: hobbies, travel, music, fashion, beauty, and family, to name a few. But it’s their head-turning editorials and high-level design value that are helping indy mags edge their way into the market.
Head-turning editorials and high-level design are helping indy mags edge their way into the market.
Titles like Delayed Gratification, the Idler, and Private Eye are soaking up audiences and bringing print into a whole new level of enjoyment.
Print Magazines Create Corresponding Digital Editions to Drive Sales
As with any cross-marketing or omnichannel experience, print magazines are also careful to consider their digital counterparts to better disseminate their messaging.
For example, the once-popular SPIN magazine published a print edition in 2016 – the first in over four years. With just 15,000 copies carefully distributed around cultural hubs like barber shops, hotels, and music stores, this limited edition run was sponsored by Amazon in an effort to promote its new Amazon Prime show “Good Girls Revolt.”
The magazine also has a supporting digital edition to fuse the experience for readers.
The twist, of course, was that the e-tailer was using hard copy magazines in order to drive its digital sales, giving way to many possibilities for other marketers to do the same. The expected result is that print magazines can lead to improving digital subscriptions and increasing the viability of paywalls.
Print Is the New Effort to Build Credibility
We’re living in a world where just about anyone can be a “publisher” and post fake news and misinformation however they please (often without having to take responsibility for it). It’s becoming increasingly important for all media consumers to carefully scrutinize where their information comes from.
As audiences are starting to question the validity of their sources with more gusto than ever before, it’s important to find new ways to build authority and create a lasting positive impression. Consumers know that magazine publishing isn’t the lightning-speed process that encircles social media and blogging, so there’s more time for fact-checking, editing, refining, and tweaking before something makes it into print.
The result is a renewed level of credibility that used to exist before the digital airwaves took over, and consumers are happy going back to their roots.
Print Magazines Fits with Today’s Subscription-Based Business Model
Print magazine subscriptions certainly aren’t new, but now that digital channels are embracing this business model it’s becoming easier for magazines to fit it with consumer expectations.
The subscription-based model provides companies a better valuation of their business while also regularly connecting with customers and creating a stickier product. Magazines enjoyed these benefits for years before subscriptions tanked in favor of digital media, but they’re set to make a major comeback.
Why Publish Your Own Magazine
You don’t need to be a major publisher to enjoy the benefits of a print magazine. Your circulation may not reach a million subscribers, and you may never see your cover in the supermarket checkout line.
But businesses should consider how print is making a comeback and how they can capitalize on using print to connect with their audience.
Ready to get started with your print magazine?
Contact our team today to learn how we can help you craft a print magazine strategy that can help you succeed in the print marketing revival.