COVID-19 has had an interesting effect on how people spend their time.
18 months of stop-start stay at home restrictions have left many of us looking for something to do that fits within the strict limits on outside time and travel away from the home.
As a result, there’s been an uptick in interest in an entertainment form that many were writing off not long ago: magazines. The parallels with physical mediums like puzzles and board games, which also enjoyed a massive resurgence, are clear.
With magazines back at the front of people’s minds, what do magazines offer for your brand, and how can you take advantage?
Screen fatigue is a very real thing, made all the worse when we stare at electronic displays for hours and hours a day. With work from home increasing screen time, and the need to find something to do with our idle hours, it’s easy to flop on the couch after a long day of home schooling and work, turn on Netflix and stare into the abyss for a while.
But really, it’s more of the same, and how relaxing is that likely to be?
Magazines are filling a gap by presenting readers with something that removes them from in front of their phones, TVs and computers. The tactile sensation of turning a page and reading well written, well researched and well-presented content is a break for people surrounded by and staring into screens most of the day.
It wasn’t that long ago that magazines were taste makers.
Through them you could find the latest fashions, follow trends, be informed, learn new things and stay in the know about anything from history, through to science, current affairs, geography and everything in between.
They held this position for a long time, making and breaking “cool” as people turned to them as experts in their fields.
With magazine readership back on the rise in key categories, brands with something to say and expert knowledge are well positioned to re-engage with lapsed readers who may have given away magazines for social media and the web years ago by placing articles and editorials in relevant magazines or looking at publishing their own.
This is where your brand authority becomes a huge selling point.
Your customers look to you because you’re at the peak of your field. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling or making, you are the one’s who know it inside and out. They look to you for the truth.
The world wide web is a big place with a lot of voices. But there are few magazines on the market these days. Authority bias says that we’ll look to the loudest voice and listen, so if you’re in a place where the competitor isn’t, you’re speaking with strength, not whispering.
Engaging customers with magazines can be done in a few different ways.
Firstly, you can make your own, if you’ve got the content and expertise to be able to offer something new and interesting to potential readers.
The other option is to place content with an existing magazine and to take advantage of their readership. Making the most of a trend, event or topicality makes for a more affordable and less intense exercise than printing an entire magazine.
You just need to make sure that the content you deliver is engaging, thought provoking and informative.
In the same way that books are kept as reference material, keepsakes or for sentimental reasons, magazines have a second life that lasts long after they’re originally purchased.
That means that whatever the message and content of your magazine content might be, it’s going to be around for a long time. It will be in the home, often somewhere accessible and easily picked up. It’ll then be stored, but still able to be referred to or picked up in an idle moment of relaxation or reference.
And then it will be recycled or gifted to a second had shop or some other interested person.
Your words and expert opinions will live on long after the magazine is picked up off a shelf at the local newsagents.
Magazines offer your brand plenty of opportunity to share your message with them. As a break from screens, magazines share a niche with books and other “offline” past times. They’re informative, pleasant to read and have a long life ahead of them.
With people reading magazines more, brands have an opportunity to get on the front foot and to reach, or re-reach, lapsed magazine readers who have picked up the habit again and rebuild relationships with them.