A WIN­NING AP­PROACH

New Zealand Marketing - - Mpa -

The mod­ern me­dia en­vi­ron­ment is char­ac­terised by new tools, new chan­nels, new met­rics, new au­di­ences and new op­por­tu­ni­ties. But it’s also char­ac­terised by less time, less re­source, less ex­pen­di­ture and, in many cases, less read­er­ship of the tra­di­tional print prod­ucts. So how has the mod­ern-day mag­a­zine edi­tor had to adapt? How are they us­ing their in­flu­ence and har­ness­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties? Find­lay Buchanan talks to some of the coun­try’s best.

While the mod­ern-day mag­a­zine edi­tor con­tin­ues to wield their in­flu­ence on what ap­pears in print, the role has changed vastly in re­cent times. Back in the good old days, pub­lish­ers were hap­pily float­ing down the ‘rivers of gold’. But the rise of dig­i­tal has ne­ces­si­tated evo­lu­tion and, in­creas­ingly, mag­a­zine pub­lish­ers have been forced cre­ate a range of dif­fer­ent of rev­enue streams aside from print ad­ver­tis­ing and sub­scrip­tions, whether that be events, spon­sored con­tent, ecom­merce or video pro­duc­tion.

The lat­est Mag­a­zine 360 12-month print met­rics show that while the print au­di­ence is rel­a­tively sta­ble, the shift away from print has con­tin­ued, with 72,000 read­ers de­part­ing over­all. But that has co­in­cided with the rise of on­line plat­forms and events for mag­a­zine brands, with an ad­di­tional 15,845 unique web­site users per month, email news­let­ter reach ris­ing by 28,999 monthly view­ers and event at­ten­dance in­creas­ing by 11,577 us­ing the lat­est Mag­a­zine 360 data from the month of Jan­uary.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Author­ity’s (ASA) an­nual as spend fig­ures, mag­a­zine rev­enue in­creased from from $210 mil­lion in 2015 to $221 mil­lion in 2016. But Stan­dard Me­dia In­dex fig­ures that cal­cu­late me­dia agency spend (and are pri­mar­ily made up of dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing) showed spend­ing with the mag­a­zine in­dus­try fell by 14.3 per­cent. These fig­ures don’t in­clude direct spend, how­ever, which, ac­cord­ing to some of the ma­jor pub­lish­ers, has in­creased sig­nif­i­cantly, in part be­cause clients un­der­stand the value of a pop­u­lar, trusted me­dia brand and are in­creas­ingly search­ing for the skills that a good edi­tor can of­fer to cre­ate con­tent that en­gages au­di­ences and gets their mes­sages out.

These sta­tis­tics un­earth a use­ful in­fer­ence: that edi­tors are be­ing forced to do more with less. So how are mag­a­zine edi­tors rid­ing the dig­i­tal wave and adapt­ing? We spoke to some of the Mag­a­zine Me­dia Award-win­ning edi­tors from 2017: Sido Kitchin from Woman’s Day, Jo Mc­car­roll from NZ Gar­dener and Sally Dug­gan from NZ House & Gar­den.

En­ter­tain­ment, in­for­ma­tion and es­capism

Sido Kitchin had ink on her fin­gers at a young age, fol­low­ing the foot­steps of her fa­ther into the jour­nal­ism busi­ness. 28 years later, she is ed­i­to­rial direc­tor of Woman’s Day, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly and Aus­tralian Women’s Weekly, as well as be­ing day-to-day edi­tor on Woman’s Day, a role she has held for 12 years.

It’s a very full plate, but she loves ev­ery minute of it. She says the largest im­pact on the mag­a­zine in­dus­try – and her own job – is the in­creased con­sump­tion of dig­i­tal

news and en­ter­tain­ment.

“To stay rel­e­vant, we have a vi­brant web­site, dig­i­tal edi­tions and so­cial chan­nels – we have in­creased our au­di­ence touch­points dra­mat­i­cally thanks to our dig­i­tal plat­forms. But the chal­lenge is al­ways mon­etis­ing that.”

This is re­flected in its dig­i­tal ef­forts; Mag­a­zine 360 touted Woman’s Day as New Zealand’s sec­ond largest so­cial fol­low­ing, with the high­est Face­book reach of mag­a­zine ti­tles: 377,486 New Zealand users on an aver­age three month pe­riod.

Kitchin says Bauer’s strat­egy of cre­at­ing hubs like Homes to Love and Food to Love and Now to love – where con­tent from ti­tles like Woman’s Day and New Zealand Women’s Weekly are housed – are ex­am­ples of mov­ing dig­i­tally while keep­ing the brands dis­tinct.

The big­gest chal­lenge for Woman’s Day is man­ag­ing an au­di­ence, which has celebrity news at their fin­ger­tips on ri­val me­dia plat­forms. It means Kitchin is more tact­ful, im­ple­ment­ing puz­zles, recipes and real-life reads in the con­tent pack­age to en­gage read­ers.

Kitchin adds that the on­line hub has been very suc­cess­ful for ad­ver­tis­ing, while har­ness­ing its key so­cial plat­forms, In­sta­gram and Face­book.

On the brand en­gage­ment fron­tier,

Woman’s Day is one of the few mag­a­zine me­dia brands that ad­ver­tises above the line, us­ing ra­dio, tele­vi­sion, out­door and in­store re­tail ac­tiv­ity to drive sales. Kitchin also notes the suc­cess of bring­ing mag­a­zines to life at events, where the brand was re­cently a part­ner for the NZTV Awards.

“We ran a peo­ple’s choice vote on our web­site for the favourite TV Per­son­al­ity of the Year – which Toni Street took out. On the night we had a huge pres­ence on

the red car­pet do­ing Face­book Live chats with the stars and swamped so­cial me­dia. Then we turned around a flip cover and eight-page spe­cial for the print mag­a­zine. I want to do more of that.”

Sim­i­larly, for its ad­ver­tis­ing part­ners, so­lu­tions have moved be­yond the page and Kitchin says it’s al­ways cre­at­ing con­tent, both na­tive and branded, that it dis­trib­utes across its dig­i­tal plat­forms and brand so­cial me­dia chan­nels. She adds it’s also ex­plor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties around pod­cast­ing this year.

But no mat­ter the plat­forms look­ing into the fu­ture, she says the heart of what it de­liv­ers – en­ter­tain­ment, in­for­ma­tion and es­capism for busy Kiwi women – will still be rel­e­vant and trea­sure.

Us­ing all the tools in the shed

Jo Mc­car­roll be­gan her jour­nal­ism quest in Whakatane’s hum­ble com­mu­nity news­pa­per. She con­tin­ued her ca­reer in news, work­ing for the Daily Mail in Lon­don, be­fore ven­tur­ing back to New Zealand where she worked as edi­tor of View mag­a­zine at the Her­ald on Sun­day and then, in 2010, took over as edi­tor of NZ Gar­dener.

To­day, she re­mains at the helm and she de­scribes the most re­ward­ing parts re­main the same: the cre­ation of the prod­uct and the re­la­tion­ship with her read­ers.

“Read­ers of­ten de­scribe them­selves to me as a ‘mem­ber’ rather than a sub­scriber, like the mag­a­zine is a club we all choose to be­long to be­cause of a pas­sion that we share.”

Mc­car­roll links the cur­rent dis­rup­tions and dis­trac­tions to the pub­lish­ing duopoly of Google and Face­book.

“Their ex­is­tence has driven a lot of change in how peo­ple con­sume con­tent, means we have to change how and what con­tent we cre­ate. When I started in jour­nal­ism, the print prod­uct was the end goal, now the mag­a­zine is part - a sig­nif­i­cant part but just part - of an in­te­grated web of dig­i­tal con­tent, so­cial of­fer­ings, one-offs, spin-offs and events that we drive.”

She says NZ Gar­dener is per­form­ing well across mul­ti­ple me­dia plat­forms (it’s on Stuff, prop­erty chan­nel Homed and the com­mu­nity net­work­ing site Neigh­bourly) and re­mains at the cen­tre of the coun­try’s gar­den­ing com­mu­nity, as ev­i­denced by the suc­cess of cre­ative cam­paigns that have asked its au­di­ence to do some­thing, rather than just con­sume some­thing.

“I aim to bring the mag­a­zine to life for our au­di­ence so there’s of­ten a call to ac­tion for an ac­tiv­ity in the real world in NZ Gar­dener, like sow­ing seeds to help bees or sign­ing a pe­ti­tion against Auck­land Trans­port’s ban on gar­den­ing on your berm.”

Cre­ative, en­gag­ing ideas like these are the thing that clients are of­ten look­ing for to get their mes­sages out there and Mc­car­roll says the mod­ern edi­tor needs to look at things with a com­mer­cial lens.

“I think our clients are in­creas­ingly look­ing for more so­phis­ti­cated al­ter­na­tives to brand ads from us, but that’s be­cause their con­sumers are in­creas­ingly look­ing for more from them than the static in­for­ma­tion that a brand ad can con­vey. We’ve had some great suc­cesses by col­lab­o­rat­ing with our com­mer­cial part­ners on cam­paigns that de­liver in­for­ma­tion, en­ter­tain­ment, in­spi­ra­tion or ex­pe­ri­ences to our au­di­ence, where a brand is wo­ven in to a wider story.”

She thinks con­sumers are look­ing for what is en­gag­ing, rel­e­vant and use­ful to them– and com­mer­cial mes­sages can be all of those things when done right.

“It’s hard not to over-use the words ‘story’ and ‘con­tent’, but jour­nal­ists and edi­tors have use­ful skills when it comes to shap­ing in­for­ma­tion to make it en­gag­ing and rel­e­vant to a de­sired au­di­ence. Those skills can be de­ployed to help our com­mer­cial clients meet their goals with­out ever un­der­min­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence for the mag­a­zine’s au­di­ence.”

Mc­car­roll tracks back to her first job when she was forced to paste up with a scalpel and glue, and the stag­ger­ing rate of change that her me­dia ca­reer has un­der­taken since then.

“As the en­vi­ron­ment in which we con­sume con­tent be­comes in­creas­ingly noisy and un­cer­tain, I think con­sumers will be­come more likely to seek out brands they trust. They just might seek us out on new plat­forms, or en­gage with us via events or brand ex­ten­sions.”

Time is of the essence

Sally Dug­gan has spent 30 years in New Zealand’s me­dia in­dus­try, with stints at The Do­min­ion Post, New Zealand Her­ald, Metro, North & South and many more. A win­ner of the Mag­a­zine Me­dia Awards Edi­tor of the Year mul­ti­ple times, and eight years into her role for NZ House & Gar­den and still loves the cre­ative, cu­ra­to­rial ex­er­cise of mod­ern mag­a­zine edit­ing – and the chal­lenges of em­brac­ing new tech­nolo­gies.

“The day that we get the first copies of NZ House & Gar­den, I take one home and lie on my couch and leaf through it, slowly, with a glass of wine. I try not to look for mis­takes but just sit back and en­joy the im­ages and sto­ries, like our read­ers do.”

Through Dug­gan’s eyes, the big­gest im­pact on the in­dus­try is un­doubt­edly that au­di­ences are spend­ing more time on­line. As edi­tor, she is re­quired to drive the brand across mul­ti­ple plat­forms, in­clud­ing the cre­ation of en­tire new on­line brands for Stuff, in­clud­ing new on­line des­ti­na­tion Homed.co.nz, which in­te­grates videos, polls and photo gal­leries.

“We cre­ate a raft of new, daily, ever­chang­ing con­tent for Homed. We know that so­cial driv­ers are hugely im­por­tant for Homed traf­fic so we put a lot of ef­fort into build­ing both brands across In­sta­gram and Face­book.”

Dug­gan says the big­gest chal­lenge is man­ag­ing the dif­fer­ent ca­dences of print and on­line, as mag­a­zines re­quire care, pol­ish and fin­ish to ex­e­cute.

She gives the ex­am­ple of the mag­a­zine, in which on-trend home­wares are used to cre­ate beau­ti­ful styles pages. It in­volves stylists, stu­dios, pho­tog­ra­phers and days of scout­ing stores—some­thing that can be hard to rec­on­cile with the 24/7 de­mands of dig­i­tal and so­cial.

Dug­gan’s also been in­stru­men­tal in bring­ing the mag­a­zine to life and find­ing new rev­enue streams out­side of print that can at­tract spon­sors, and she gives the ex­am­ples of the NZ House & Gar­den house tours and the In­te­rior of the Year Awards.

“I be­lieve in a high-tech en­vi­ron­ment our read­ers crave these high-touch ex­pe­ri­ences.”

Dug­gan be­lieves there will be a shake out as a re­sult of the dig­i­tal dis­rup­tion, but mag­a­zines will con­tinue to thrive, es­pe­cially those that are about in­spi­ra­tion rather than in­for­ma­tion, and that main­tain high pol­ish.

“The mag­a­zines that do well will be the cherry on the top of their brand cake.”

Sido Kitchin Jo Mc­car­roll Sally Dug­gan

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