In a world of digital marketing channels for every possible audience why are more and more brands rejoicing in print? Print output may have dropped for traditional news and cheap lifestyle magazines. However, for brand publications print seems to be going from strength to strength.
You can sit on the 8:23 train from Holywood to Belfast and everyone has headphones plugged into their phones and Spotify etc, yet record players and vinyl LPs sales have hit a 25 year high. Why? For audiophiles the argument is “vinyl sounds better”. But just as important for many is where a record player places you socially. It’s the same with a good magazine, some content just looks and feels better on paper than on their screen, we use them as tools to place us in social groups.
The fact is, a good magazine is a conversation starter. They can be used to show what social class we think we’re in or what we aspire to. That’s why we leave a good magazine on a coffee table. We want our friends and visitors to see if we’re thinking about a new bathroom or kitchen. Of course not all magazines are created equal. Throwaway weekly mags where the paper is so cheap and thin you can practically see through it still exist. But they are the junk food of magazines. Quick and easy, cheap, no satisfaction from it’s consumption… you get the idea.
I’m talking about publications into which time, effort and money has been spent in creation. And the resurgence has just had the biggest of digital disruptors join its ranks. Facebook has just launched it’s own publication – Grow by Facebook.
Grow by Facebook won’t feature a like and share competition for mass audience growth (could that even work in print?). Don’t expect it to feature memes or cute puppy pictures on the front cover. There will be no flick bait featured here.
But Facebook? I didn’t think they were print publishers?
Grow by Facebook’s target is well healed business leaders, and where would you find the coffee table that business leaders stop at? How about British Airways Business and First Class lounges at Heathrow? Yes, that’s where Facebook has delivered a tranche of their publications. That’s their target market, not you and me flying on Easyjet or Ryanair and in a rush. If we enjoy our time in a business lounge we should enjoy the content we consume in it. If I were in a lounge I’d make sure I had enough time there to enjoy every part of it, magazines included!
So what is Grow by Facebook’s purpose, if we consider Zuckerberg has long argued that Facebook is a tech company and not a publisher. Grow by Facebook will feature business, fashion technology and other similar topics. So clearly they have moved to publishing and content production. Are they trying to position themselves as an informed and informative brand to guide you through a busy modern life? Ko Tin-yau from ejinsight believes The magazine appears aimed at the same kind of audience that patronizes business magazines such as Fortune, Forbes, and Bloomberg Businessweek.
And what about Content Marketers?
More and more brands are pushing out high quality publications as a part of their content marketing. If you’ve read my previous blog on Content Marketing you’ll know I’ve said it shouldn’t be about prices. As some catalogues are now like a high-end magazine and obviously have prices, let’s see these as a exception to that rule. For the most part catalogues go to previous customers so they know what price bracket the product is likely in so it’s almost a moot point. The catalogue isn’t about telling my wife how much a new lamp is. It’s about showing her how good it would look in our house. They invest time in staging photos in beautiful houses with beautiful models who don’t appear to have a care in the world. They aren’t selling you a lamp, but actually a lifestyle.
If a Content Marketer can get a catalogue on a coffee table and let it sit there for 3 or 4 weeks think of the impressions that they are going to get. It’s sitting there, quietly waiting for a time when you have 30 minutes to thumb through the expensive offerings before choosing your next purchase.
When we think about it, it’s easy to see why brands are producing high-quality catalogues and magazines. It helps them sell more of their products. If we hold on to the catalogue for a couple of weeks it’s making multiple impressions on us and if it’s making an impression it’s warming us up as a future or repeat customer.