Ways to increase subscription for magazine_publishers.
It can be online too.
One final area of involvement with the readers is campaigning.
A campaign is more than a series of articles on the same subject.
At its best, it arises from a reader experience.
That is followed by an investigation by the magazine’s journalists,opinion surveys and more detailed articles.
In the latter stages there should bediscussions with public bodies or politicians to make something happen.
Readersexpect an emotional pay-off, otherwise the campaign will cease to be a source ofeditorial excitement and become a curse.
Think about where it’s going to end,even before you get the special campaign logo designed.
When it works, a campaign binds readers and magazine together,
showing that you can identify your readership’s concerns and speak up about them.
Meeting the readers
Have some sort of ‘reader event’, but often the connection with editorial is remote.
They are organised by the promotional department, or themagazine’s name is associated with an event,
without any closer involvement. But readers don’t see it like that:
they expect members of the editorial staff, from theeditor down, to be present and visible.
Women’s magazines hold successful readers’ evenings at department stores.
They organise conferences and lunches,with speakers from the magazine and elsewhere.
Why not use these opportunities to speak to the readers about the magazine and your plans?
Awards are much more than a way of keeping in touch with your readers.
Formany business-to-business publications, they provide another source of incomeafter advertising and circulation.
They do provide editorial benefits— enhancing the status of the publication, providing an opportunity to make valuable contactsand
links with useful organisations, raising the magazine’s profile in the outside world—but they are time consuming.
Editors are increasingly pressed to come upwith revenue-generating ideas, and awards are among the least irksome.
Some advertisers have found that they can gain kudos and an editorial presenceby setting up their own
award schemes and bullying editors into promoting them.
It is better to take the initiative: devise an award scheme or major competition inconjunction with some professional
body or expert organisation, then ask yourcommercial colleagues to look for an advertiser to sponsor it.
That way you retainthe initiative.
Any such scheme must be run on fair and transparent lines. If not, the image of the magazine will suffer.
Nor should you overdo it.
Some editors feel that thereis a danger of their paying advertising being supplanted by awards, competitionsand sponsored events,
which may bring in extra income for the publisher but donothing to make the magazine itself profitable.
Magazines can always involve their readers through competitions, but the editorial department rarely initiates them.
Instead your colleagues in the promotional area will cajole advertisers or PR companies into providing prizes in return for
a flattering mention in the accompanying text and liberal use of the benefactor’slogo.
The questions are always easy, especially for anyone who has read the copy,ensuring that the ‘competition’ brings in the
maximum number of entries, whichcome in on a coupon cut from the magazine.
The winner is usually picked from ahat. The whole operation is of dubious legality.Keep this kind of thing at arm’s length.
Read the copy to make sure it is notmisleading, and that readers are being treated fairly.
But such competitions are best viewed as advertisements that happen to be paid for in kind rather than in cash.
They have a value for advertisers and for readers, but they’re nothing to do with journalism.
Even so, most publishers will count competitions as editorialpages for the purpose of flat-planning and determining the advertising
Involving with the readers.
This period of intense involvement with the readers—finding out
what they’relike, trying to anticipate what they want to read—
tends to come at critical points in the magazine’s development: in planning a launch, attacking a market leaderor fending off
a newcomer, or in staving off a decline. The rest of the time thereis a tendency to take the readers
This is understandable, but foolish.The editor-reader relationship is at least as important as that of the editor-
publisheror editor-staff.It used to be thought that all readers wanted from magazines was to buy them,read them and throw them away.
These days, few people think like that. All modernmanagements have discovered that it is cheaper
to keep a customer happy than tosearch for new ones.
The magazine industry has a deep-seated belief that its product has
a special meaning to its buyers.
‘People love their magazines!’,according to the title of an elderly but much-quoted piece of research by
theadvertising agency WCRS:
‘The most impressive lesson emerging from current research is that readers enjoy a very
close relationship with magazines that they chose to read. It is a relationship that is impossible for other media to replicate.
’But if they have that commitment—and surveys continue to find evidence of it—they should receive some
sort of recognition or pay-off for it. At the very least,they deserve to get a sense
of belonging and of being recognised. But you can get something from them; guidance on your direction.There are many
straightforward editorial devices for reader involvement.Editorial contact numbers should be clearly displayed and phones promptly and
politely answered. It is feasible to give all staff direct lines and to print those numbers in the magazine.
A proportion of calls will be from time wasters and cranks, but most will not.
Readers should feel able to
Bring with ideas andsuggestions, and, when necessary, with complaints.
All should be dealt withcourteously. E-mail addresses should be printed in the magazine, but will attracta lot of rubbish.
If they appear on your website, they will certainly bring in screedsof repulsive electronic junk mail, or spam.
Encourage people to dump it instantly rather than let it mount up.
These are supposed to be channels of communication:they need to be kept clear for useful and important messages.
Should you print your own direct line number and e-mail address?