#SYP2020: Magazines in 2020.

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The final countdown is on to our inaugural conference 2020: A Publishing Odyssey. So, we wanted to know what people thought different areas of the publishing world will (or should) be like come 2020. Nikki Simpson of PPA Scotland looks to the future.

To me, the magazine publishing industry is an irresistible one. Full of passion and creativity across journalism and design, magazine publishers use photography, illustration, advertising, social media, events and more to connect with their audience. This sense of community is what many publishers thrive on – creating a magazine and just putting it out there is no longer enough (has it ever been?) and successful publishers are now experts on making their readers feel special. And this can only increase as consumers become more picky and publishers become more savvy, so here’s my top three tips for connecting better by 2020.

1. Focus on your subscribers, not your potential audience.
Kerin O’Connor, CEO of The Week at Dennis Publishing, put it best when he spoke at Magfest last year: “You wouldn’t go to a party with a group of friends and ignore them all night in favour of making new friends, so why do publishers do this with subscribers?” Rather than just offering a copy of the magazine to subscribers, make them feel valued by giving them a subscribers-only space on the website where they can see more content from the magazine, invite them to subscriber-only events, ask them to comment on content for the next issue, give them discounts on your products or your advertisers products, etc. The lifetime value of a subscriber is huge in comparison to a one-off purchase, so make them feel special.

2. Targeted advertising will make your audience feel like you’re listening.
With the rise of ad-blockers and the ease of deleting emails and promoted posts on social media, targeting your advertising to those who want it has never been more important. There are people who can tell you how to do this a lot better than I can (just google contextual advertising), but a good start is to get to know your audience better through asking them (I know, crazy huh?!) or – even easier – through Google Analytics and then Google Ads. When you’re advertising to those who actually want to see it, you’ll get a lot more interest. Want to know more? You could also come to our Audience Segmentation workshop on 24 March – plug plug…

3. Run events around your content.
As consumers have more and more content thrown at them through the Internet, surely the obvious reaction to this is to want to have more face-to-face interaction. Most publishers are making the most of the community they’ve already created, and are bringing them together for conferences, awards, launch parties, fashion shows, hackathons and more. And it doesn’t need to either be a) really cheap so that people will come or b) expensive so that you make lots of money. You can have small gatherings that make your guests feel special, or large events that make your attendees more loyal to your brand. Why not ask your readers to help organise the events, or they might make great speakers, or know others who might be. Its win-win.

Nikki Simpson represents the Scottish contingent of the Professional Publishers Association (PPA) – the industry body supporting magazine publishers.

Nikki will be speaking at our conference  March 18th, giving a great insight into the magazine industry in Scotland. Book your place over here.

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