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Stefanie Botelho

TIME’s Cover Double Take

Stefanie Botelho Design and Production - 01/05/2012-10:09 AM

In an interesting move, TIME magazine will run the cover art from its December 12, 2011 issue again on its January 16, 2012 issue. The photo of Mitt Romney’s picture is the same in both treatments, but the headlines and positioning of the image covering the upcoming edition will change. See the covers, and read TIME managing editor Rick Stengel’s letter about the Iowa caucuses as well as the cover decision, below.

Why Iowa Matters (Even If It Shouldn’t)

Iowa is an outlier. The 122,000 people who showed up to vote in the state's caucuses represent less than a fifth of registered Iowa Republicans and exactly 0.09% of the U.S. electorate. In a representative democracy, Iowa is not very representative. It is 91% white and has few Latinos, not many immigrants and low unemployment. Iowa is also the only place in presidential politics where retail campaigning can still make a difference. Jimmy Carter showed this back in 1976, and Rick Santorum followed the same playbook this year.

But Iowa matters, in part because the candidates and media put so much emphasis on it. Probably too much. We would all be better off with a regional primary system, but that's not in the cards. So after more than a year of polls, debates, position papers and commercials, we finally have actual people voting, which is the fundamental right in a democracy. That's really why Iowa matters.

If this week's cover feels a little familiar, there's a good reason for that. In early December, we put Mitt Romney on the cover and asked, "Why Don't They Like Me?" — a question that has been at the heart of the GOP primary process. This week, in the wake of Romney's razor-thin win in Iowa, we've updated and revised the question, using the other half of the same portrait of Romney. The first cover got a lot of attention, not least from Governor Romney himself, who began annotating the cover for those who asked him to sign it. Now the voters in New Hampshire and beyond can answer the question for themselves.

Matt Shanahan

Prospecting Up-sells with Behavioral Analytics

Matt Shanahan emedia and Technology - 01/04/2012-12:34 PM


This post is republished with permission and originally appears here.  

In paid content, one of the challenges for corporate sales is finding demand for content that can be monetized – finding a good lead. Our research shows one of the best sources for leads is within existing individual subscribers where several individuals are sharing the access to the paid content. The charts below show a typical example of how to identify an individual subscriber that is a lead for an up-sell to a corporate or group agreement.

The first chart shows the daily use profile for two different individual subscribers by graphing the total number of reports accessed over a 90-day period. Each daily use profile is color coded based on the unique devices used to access the reports. The daily use profile with just the blue color shows how one subscriber’s account accessed reports via a single device. The daily use profile with multiple colors shows how the other subscriber’s account accessed reports via five devices (each color representing a distinct device).

Whereas the daily use profile with one color represents a loyal subscriber, the daily use profile with five colors is a prospect for an up-sell because of unmonetized demand of multiple users sharing one subscriber’s account. But how can you be sure the multi-color profile isn’t simply a raving fan?

The number two is a good start. In the hourly use profile for each account, the shared account has twice as many active hours as the individual account. Additionally, some devices are active earlier than other devices (e.g., purple vs. orange) but overlap on their activity which means they are used in different time zones. Also, note the individual account profile shows inactivity for lunch in the middle of the day. There are no low activity hours for the shared account rather it peaks at the periods of most overlap between devices.

Looking at the quarterly use profile, it becomes clear that each of the shared account devices were active throughout the period. Unlike the individual account which had ten inactive work-days during the period, the shared account had no inactive days.  Digging deeper into the quarterly profile, the shared account consumes three times the content as compared to the individual account.

The Implication

The shared account exhibits usage profiles with monetizable demand for content. Corporate sales has a number of avenues to pursue the lead either directly, through procurement, or even through compliance. Properly engaged, this lead will convert with high probability.


Stefanie Botelho

Hearst’s David Carey Calls for Aggressive Growth in 2012

Stefanie Botelho Consumer - 01/03/2012-12:10 PM

Hearst Magazines president David Carey addressed the past year and what’s next for the publisher in a letter to employees sent out this morning. According to Carey, Hearst’s aggressive growth in 2011 (including the acquisition of Lagardere and Hachette Fillappacci; the launch of HGTV Magazine; the debut of brand supplement Marie Claire @Work; and purchases of Red Aril and PayDQ) will continue in 2012.

Now claiming 400,000 digital edition sales a month (the publisher hit 300,000 in late September), Carey reiterates Hearst’s goal to tip one million monthly paid digital subscriptions in the new year. He seems to have found the recipe for instant media attention: call out a projected audience number, and watch as web buzz booms.

Other digital initiatives include the continued transition of Hearst’s magazine sites to HTML5. Good Housekeeping’s website (which was once included among the worst magazine websites on the 'net) was the first to get the HTML5 treatment in 2011.

Though digital may be considered the sexier playing field in the publishing industry, Hearst’s print portfolio will not be neglected in 2012. Aside from the forthcoming semiannual Cosmopolitan Latina, Harper’s Bazaar print presence will launch a revamped look; an increased trim size will debut in February.

Carey highlights streamlined production through the Hachette merger as another benefit of the deal (a less obvious coup than titles like Elle magazine), “[We] are able to realize significant cost synergies through the…work of our service departments, particularly our production, IT and consumer marketing teams.”

As a result of these cross-company initiatives, Carey says, “…roughly 40 percent of our revenues are U.S. print and digital, 40 percent international print and digital, and 20 percent are services (iCrossing and CDS Global).”

Hearst’s growth is impressive, but lends little actionable strategy to publishers of smaller scale and lesser resources. With its new YouTube channels, large acquisitions and flashy media partnerships (Hearst took a 50 percent stake in reality television company Mark Burnett Productions in April), Hearst continues to perpetuate one of the most pervasive trends in the magazine industry as of late: publishers doing a lot of business besides publishing.

Martin Tobias

Daily Deal Predictions for 2012

Martin Tobias Editorial - 12/20/2011-15:40 PM

From delayed IPOs, to buyouts, burnouts, layoffs and more, 2011 proved to be a volatile year for the daily deal industry. The business model for profitable group buying remains out of reach for many, and the industry is racing to figure out where to place their bets for growth. Publishers, merchants and business owners want to know what’s next in the social commerce space.

After the phenomenal maturation of the daily deal industry seen in 2011, a new paradigm will usher in programs that merge content with a seamless deal delivery experience. The industry focus will evolve from deal sites and daily emails to other messaging formats, providing relevant deals where, when and how consumers want them. The year 2011 was just Phase One of group buying. Phase Two begins in 2012. Here are some predictions for what portends to be another technologically eventful year in group buying, and reasons why publisher may stand to gain the most.

200 “Groupon Clones” Will Bite The Dust As Consolidation Mode Takes Off

With more than 600 companies currently operating in the group buying space, industry consolidation is going to become a very real threat to many daily deal sites. According to, over 170 deal sites failed in 2011. Next year the trend will continue as large companies purchase smaller rivals and other generic deal brands go belly up. Over 200 of the ‘me-too’ deal sites may close their doors within the first six months of the New Year. Meanwhile, publishers and niche sites that have found a way to integrate daily deals into their existing content, rather than just photocopying Groupon’s model, will not only survive but thrive.

2012 Is The Year of the White Label

White-label providers will reign supreme in 2012. According to Yipit research, this year white labels exhibited a transaction volume of 5-10 percent, but next year it may double as much as 20 percent. Media companies, niche bloggers and digital content creators have credible brands, local sales forces and engaged audiences–critical components that large horizontal sites spend hundreds of millions to grow. The only piece these companies are missing is the technology on which to build a deal site. In the year ahead, white label technologies will allow publishers to prevail after the Groupons of the world have exhausted their resources acquiring new customers and finding new merchants.

Big Branded Sites’ Futures Lies In Instant Contextualized Deals 

2012 will be the year big brand sites, which source hundreds of deals to large audiences with diverse interests, establish a profitable business model. But profits will only follow the ability to tailor content, matching the right customer with the right merchant. Simply put, the daily space will be dominated by the players who understand how to effectively merge content and commerce into a seamless experience, allowing consumers access to relevant deals anywhere and at any time. In 2012, Groupon and LivingSocial will make massive investments in their mobile capabilities, while Google, Facebook and other major audience aggregators will extend their commitment to the integration of location, advertorial, mobile and contextual commerce.

The future group buying landscape will be marked by consolidation, significant developments in offer targeting and the introduction of new deal delivery technology. This year’s success sets the stage for other daily deal players to be taken seriously and carve out a niche of the market for their own. 2011 is not the ending for daily deal industry; rather, it’s merely the beginning.

Martin Tobias is founder and CEO of Tippr, a premier provider of group buying solutions and the flagship PoweredByTippr , a white- label platform that enables publishers to create successful group buying services. A Seattle entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Tobias has 25 years combined experience in the venture capital and technology industries, sits on several boards and is involved in numerous charities through the Martin Tobias Foundation. His Twitter handle is @MartinGTobias .

Stefanie Botelho

Face Up: 2011 Year in Review

Stefanie Botelho Design and Production - 12/13/2011-09:59 AM

2011 was a year of redesigns and relaunches, as magazine covers aimed to provoke (and as a result, to sell). Some efforts amounted in positive buzz and hiked newsstand numbers; others inspired seemingly unending rounds of media heckling (Newsweek’s July 4th cover, which featured a very Photoshopped image of the late Princess Diana, here’s lookin’ at you). Here, FOLIO: asks three of our 2011 FaceUp participants to weigh in on their favorite covers of the year.


October 17, 2011

Publisher: Time Inc.
Design Director:
D.W. Pine
Managing Editor:
Rick Stengel

“I can’t guess how many magazine covers have been designed in the past year (and I’m only counting the ones that didn’t end up in the AD’s drawer). 365 days, 12 months, 52 weeks—hundreds, thousands, maybe more. Weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly—you get the idea. Consequently, when I was asked to pick one favorite from the past year, I almost balked. After thinking about it for awhile, I realized that this year I could actually answer that question with conviction. Anyone who’s been in the publishing business for twenty plus years (particularly on the design side) will understand my answer.”

- Mick Schnepf, Art Director, Traditional Home Magazine


August/September 2011

Publishing Company: Complex Media
Editor-in-Chief: Noah Callahan-Bever
Art Director: Brent Rollins

“Hard to go wrong with a beautiful cover subject like Beyoncé, but the Complex design and photo team raise the bar for a celebrity cover by wrapping Beyoncé in a beautiful set of undulating typography. For this Style & Design cover story, Complex recruited photographer Thierry Le Gouès and artist Ebon Heath. Stunning photography, sensual typography, and killer styling come together in this iconic, arresting cover. A ‘Cover of the Day’ for SPD back in July—this cover is my Cover of the Year.”

-Josh Klenert, Society of Publication Designers, Vice President, Board of Directors


ESPN Magazine
May 16, 2011

Publisher: ESPN The Magazine LLC
Art Directors: Jason Lancaster
Editor-in-Chief: Gary Belsky (now former EIC)

“The gruesome image is stunning, I couldn’t stop looking at it. And I loved the decision to understate the size of the main cover line and put it in the yellow strip.”

- David Speranza, design director, Bicycling Magazine


Have a unique “cover” story? Contact associate editor Stefanie Botelho at

Stefanie Botelho

Utne Reader To Shut Down Editorial Offices, Relocate to Ogden Headquarters

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 12/06/2011-12:14 PM

For the magazine industry, the holiday season thus far has been mixed. The first full week of December brings two pieces of sad news (not including the holiday party budget reductions reported earlier this week—the horror, the horror).

Get Married Media is closing down within upcoming weeks, and Utne Reader is relocating to publisher Ogden Publications’ headquarters in Topeka, Kansas from Minneapolis, Minnesota. The physical move may not be so bad (I hear the Kansas landscape is beautiful), but it is the staff changes and budget reduction that makes this tough news to report.

According to reports from the StarTribune, Ogden Publications is bringing bi-monthly Utne Reader under its headquarters’ roof “so the 30 Ogden employees who work on other magazines can share space and workload”. Other titles include Mother Earth News, Motorcycle Classics, Grit and Capper’s. The seven staffers currently running Utne have elected to not make the Kansas transition, Utne Reader EIC David Schimke tells FOLIO:. Two more issues will be released before the Minnesota’s office closure ensues in March.

Schimke says Ogden Publications may be planning to cut the literary digest’s budget in half, down from $500,000 to $250,000. He tells FOLIO:, "I don't think it was an editorial quality decision, it was about the affordability. Having a satellite office in this day and age is hard."

Earlier this year, Utne was ready to embrace the medium founder Eric Utne now claims to be the print magazine’s poison. Its Alt Wire service, a socially curated digital magazine built on Sociative Inc.’s R88R Platform, launched in July to a generous amount of buzz from the public. Alt Wire was designed to pick up news a handpicked group of “influencers” shared through Twitter. At the time of launch, web editor David Doody told FOLIO: the majority of content shared through the Alt Wire will be from the alternative press sector, categorized by sites like Mother Jones and The Nation.

The only upshot of this news: Utne Reader is not folding…yet. Schimke says, "There will be a smaller core staff, and will be getting support in editorial operations from other Ogden staff." Unfortunately, a new, thinner staff will most likely not lead to a higher quality of product...and a lower quality product will do nothing to improve sales.

Ogden acquired Utne Reader in June 2006. At time of purchase, Utne had a paid circ of 225,000. The magazine debuted in 1984, and now has a single copy price of $6.99.

TJ Raphael

What a Facebook IPO Could Mean For Publishers

TJ Raphael M and A and Finance - 12/01/2011-14:09 PM

As you probably already know, if Facebook were a country it would be the third largest country in the world, more than double the size of the United States, with more than 800 million active monthly users. News circulated across the globe Tuesday that the company is seeking $10 billion in its initial public offering [IPO]. This could have huge ramifications for the media industry.

If Facebook were able to raise the $10 billion for its initial public offering (personally, I don’t think it would be hard for them to do that), the total amount of the company’s value would be boosted to around $100 billion, with about $10 billion in shares backed by equity to be circulated through the corporate casino known as the stock market.

That number represents about four times what Google’s IPO was just 7 years ago.

This news is particularly valuable for the media industry—as the company goes public, there are more avenues for media companies themselves to get a piece of the medium that so much of their content is distributed through and where so many of their loyal consumers are waiting for them.

When a company enters into the public sphere, making internal changes becomes more difficult, something that could prove beneficial for professionals working at publications. Right now, it seems that every six to eight weeks Facebook rolls out new changes to its interface and format. With slower changes, media professionals can better study and adapt to the interface, allowing for optimized content distribution and consumer interaction.

While stricter limitations on changes could bode well for media, it could also cause the platform to become obsolete: the innovation and ingenuity that has made Facebook so popular could be stifled by the views of shareholders, causing users to migrate. While that seems unlikely, think of MySpace. When something more interesting, like Facebook, came along, users jumped ship.

Tech Crunch’s Josh Constine makes an excellent point in his most recent post on the subject.

“In addition to aggressively advancing monetization, stockholders could rail against the product’s evolution,” he writes. “Changes that disrupt user behavior and ask people to be more open might cause temporary stock price dips they don’t want. Instead, they could turn Facebook into Microsoft, slowing innovation and making it vulnerable to more agile competitors.”

One disruption Constine mentions, and this reporter remembers, is when the newsfeed feature was implemented in 2006. There was outcry from those that used the site, something that individuals now actively engage with. A new set of changes that are initially rejected by the 800 million (and growing) users could cause the market to take a big hit, and cause stock holders to scale back changes that may have been just what the public was waiting for, but didn’t know it.

Bill Mickey

For Some, Digital Revenues a Sorely Needed Boon

Bill Mickey Audience Development - 11/29/2011-11:17 AM

As far as inflection points go, this is a good one. In a Reuters story, the Financial Times Group says it's expecting content revenues (subscription and single copy sales) to at least equal, and possibly overtake, print advertising revenue for the first time this year.

During the London portion of the Reuters Global Media Summit, FT CEO John Ridding acknowledged the rough advertising climate, which has put extra pressure on digital to perform. The FT's online operation, says the report, now accounts for 30 percent of its revenues.

In the first half of this year, the group boosted profits by 10 percent. Digital subscriptions are the main driver, and were up 34 percent during the period. The FT's web app, famous for ditching Apple's app store, reached its one millionth registrant in mid-November.

It's still difficult to determine the overall size of the business, however. In other words, quickly rising digital content sales is all well and good, but is it adequately covering the decline of print ad revenues?

Meanwhile, The Economist, in which the FT Group has a fifty percent stake, says it reached 100,000 paid, digital-only circ by the half-year point—twice the amount compared to the same period last year.

Elsewhere, in what could be an aberrant blip or a sign of the times, The Atlantic says its digital advertising revenue beat print ad revenue for the month of October—51 percent of ad sales to 49 percent. That 49 percent is still a record-setting amount, however, says the magazine.

Moreover, The Atlantic's digital ad revenue for October is up 89 percent over last year and 37 percent better year-to-date.

All of this is in the face of a sharp drop in third-quarter print advertising. According to PIB numbers, consumer magazine ad pages fell 5.6 percent in the quarter compared to the same period in 2010. That decline erased the gains for the year, which is now down 1.1 percent for the first 9 months.

JC Suares

State of the Art of the Newsstand

JC Suares Design and Production - 11/15/2011-10:28 AM

If you're in the business of creating, recreating, designing or, God forbid, rescuing magazines on life support, you need to know what the state of the art is at this point.

You don't have to look very far. The dozen or so titles that define the latest details in packaging are on your newsstand.

Some sell well and some very well. And some very well for the past few decades. Examining them amounts to a master's degree in magazine crafts from how to construct a great cover to what's sexy with fashion photography and trendy typography thrown in.


1. Typography
If you want to look up-to-date these days try using very, very condensed sans-serif type. NEW BEAUTY ($9.95 at your newsstand) does it very well issue after issue. However, I can't guarantee that it won't look tired by next year. It's an old rule: the trendier you are, the faster you fall.





2. Info-graphics
Thanks to the legendary Nigel Holmes (graphics "that try to explain things"), TIME made info-graphics an integral part of the magazine since it was re-designed by the great Walter Bernard over 30 years ago. The graphics are more glorious and more frequent than ever. Seems sometimes that most stories come with a chart, a table, a map or a list.





3. Front of the Book
You can pretty much figure out how a magazine is trying to position itself by the importance it puts on the pages that precede the well.How one constructs the front of the book has become a science, from the length of the pieces, to the frequency of graphics and columnists. Esquire wants to attract young men with buying power and it does it in a skillful, literate way. No junky graphics, no quick fixes. And for the first 110 pages of the current issue.



4. Back of the Book
Bloomberg BusinessWeek gets high marks for everything from the reportage to the graphics. However, the only part that doesn't take itself too seriously and is habit-forming is the Etc. section. It's fast-moving and funny and makes no pretense at being useful. Check out "Great Moments in Nepotism", the only article in the issue that will stay with you.




5. Cutting Edge Design
Before there was Conde Nast's Wired, there was Wired. Wired only pays homage to itself and surprises all the time. Some of the graphics need a guide book but the overall package is always amazing.







6. Fashion Photography
Karl Lagerfeld's photographs of the latest couture in Harper's Bazaar are not 100 percent professional but they're straight-forward and totally up-to-date in a strange way.







7. The Sexiest Magazine
ESPN The Body Issue. Ordinary people who happen to be athletes who happen to be sexier than models and movie stars.








8. How to Talk to Women
Cosmopolitan's genius at knowing how to write edgy cover lines that barely avoid the magazine from being sold in a brown bag is still on a roll after 40 years. Although some buzz words have come and gone (last year it was "revenge"), there are still always three mentions of sex.






9. How To Talk to a Generation
Rolling Stone, like nobody else, has always known how to earmark everything that interests its audience from music to technology to politics. To say that it's influential is an understatement (it was one of the first magazines to run Candidate Obama on the cover) and its mix of cover lines is always a good barometer of current popular culture.





10. How to Look Useful
New York is the original service magazine. It's hit some high notes before but Adam Moss has redefined the state of the art. New York is packed with useful stuff presented with obsessive detail. It's the ultimate survival guide to the City and it's thicker and sells more copies than ever before.





11. How To Wow Them on the Newsstands
Vanity Fair picks big stars and big stories and world class gossip presented in elegant ways. The magazine's covers always stand out, the main headline is usually the name of the cover subject. I've counted the words on VF covers for months at a time and the average has consistently been 70, which you might also consider the state of the art.




12. How to Keep Them Coming
The New Yorker, since 1925. Newsstand copies of the magazine get a flap with the headlines on it. The result is one and a half covers: a full-bleed cartoon plus all the best magazine writing in America clearly listed separately.


Stefanie Botelho

For the Unbeatable Price of Free...

Stefanie Botelho Editorial - 11/08/2011-13:26 PM

Free samples, whether from a grocery store, makeup counter or a newsstand, are largely welcomed by consumers. Give people a chance to sample great products without putting down a dollar and watch the line of waiting customers curve around the block. Aside from the free good itself, consumers will often experience a warm feeling for the manufacturer supplying it, “They really do care!” Companies (retailers, publishers, etc.) know this, and maintain the freebie as an act of goodwill, opposed to what it really is: a bite to inspire consumers to buy the entire package.

Today, The Wall Street Journal opens the gates of its paid wall, allowing viewers to access every article on its site without agreeing to a subscription. The key icons, which normally accompany original or more provocative WSJ content, have disappeared. The free access is sponsored by Citbank; a click-through ad for its Thank You Reward Cards is nestled against WSJ’s “The Wall Street Journal Online is Free Today” banner cresting the top of the home page.

No doubt Wall Street Journal’s page views will spike throughout the day, as word about the free content spreads in the Venn diagram of the social sphere. No doubt these page views will be integrated into overall numbers for the month of November and later used in pitches for advertising partners. But the bigger question, the question that will likely remain unanswered in hard numbers from WSJ, is whether or not this free access will sell subscriptions.

As publishers begin to total up digital sales, free downloads are often included in the tallies. This certainly makes the digital scape appear more appealing, with promise of larger revenue and greater audience engagement. But after the giveaways are over, the numbers often recede (as we all know, just because someone downloads a free issue doesn’t mean they open their wallets to purchase a subscription).

In a recent CircMatters Special Report, Jack Hanrahan takes a close look at the state of digital circulation. Hanrahan cites 32 magazines reporting a digital circ of over 15,000 to ABC for first half 2011. He then analyzes those magazines with a “true paid” circulation, compared to those who include partnership subs, sponsored subs and verified individual use copies in their total numbers.

After this parsing, 8 out of the top 10 magazines originally claiming the highest downloads weren’t included in the new top ten who could claim 100 percent “true paid” numbers. In fact, only 10 of the original 32 titles were able to make this claim at all.

Giving out free content is undoubtedly a decision that should be made by individual publishers; unfortunately, when one publisher does it, others are forced to follow. At the FOLIO: Show, Peter Moore, editor of Rodale’s Men’s Health, made no secret of his disappointment in major players like Conde Nast choosing to bundle digital editions with their print subs. By doing so, audiences become accustomed to receiving products for free – setting up a precedent other publishers may not have chosen for themselves, but one that audiences now expect.

So while free may sell, and free may boost numbers, it remains important for publishers (and advertisers, and consumers) to weigh the price of free. After doing so, the publishing world may find itself agreeing with Moore when he said, “Free sucks. We should get rid of free.”

Stefanie Botelho

The Brandividual, “Problematic Neutrality” and the Emerging Editorial Model

Stefanie Botelho B2B - 10/27/2011-14:50 PM

The theme of this year’s American Business Media Executive Forum was paid content, and vets from every facet of the b-to-b industry were on hand to offer guidance and lessons from the field. Beyond the paywall debates, marketing services and analytics discussions was the business brands are built on: the content. David Berlind, UBM Techweb’s editor-in-chief/CCO, John Gallant, CCO with IDG Enterprise and SourceMedia EVP/CCO David Longobardi shared how they are encouraging and prepping editorial staff for the future.

In the Forum’s keynote presentation, president of The Marketing Democracy Judy Franks reinforced the difference between social networks and social media. Social networks (Twitter, Facebook and the like) are the platforms for social media (a provocative article, cover treatment, etc. that inspires sharing among readers). According to Franks’ categorization, and CCO commentary, social media is what will aid b-to-b companies in the transition to the new content model.

Replacing the rush to break news is getting that news picked up by a largely read source. While aggregators may have initially been seen as predators of original content publishers, this view is shifting. “The most important thing to do for editorial team is to get them is change quantity to quality of content,” says Longobardi. “It’s no longer just ‘I beat The Wall Street Journal’, it’s ‘Huffington Post linked to me’.”

The oft-baffling task of garnering attention in the social network space
can be broken down into a less daunting series of steps. Says Longobardi, “You tweet, use Facebook, then provide analysis. Ask smart questions first; this already garners a certain amount of attention.”

Gallant cites a complete narrative of a news story as a way to gain audience interest, “We take multiple slices on things we know how are coming: a pre- and post story. We ask, ‘How do we time things? How do we capture wave of interest around the event itself?’” 

A New Brand: The Journalist

In the social scape, the content creators are being pushed to brand themselves along with the copy they produce. Berlind says, “We need our editors to be ‘brandividuals’. We market them as people you have a trusted relationship with. In this day and age of social media, with all the entities you connect to, the majority are people.”

As brandividuals, b-to-b editors are expected to be as comfortable on camera as they are on a laptop, “We expect each of our editors to operate equally comfortable in text, video, audio and still realms. We have a few people who can really rise to that challenge, and there’s a bright future for them,” says Berlind.

SourceMedia is also on board with the journalistic leap from undetected reporter to visible commentator. Longobardi says, “You have to decide what makes people want to comment. This matters if you are going to publish opinions, things that require a counterargument. We’ve been pushing boundaries in terms of opinion news. We increasingly invite and urge our editors and journalists to express a point of view.”

Opinionated reporting (which can certainly be read as a contradiction) is where these CCOs are placing their bets for the success of their editorial offerings. “We need to take editors, and figure out how to get them to operate them beyond [what can be] problematically neutral. We need to get them to be brandividuals, and able to leverage market knowledge,” says Longobardi.

The dangers of identifying a solidified brand with fluctuating staff (talented editors are often poached for more lucrative opportunities, taking their list of followers with them) was not a pressing concern of the aforementioned CCOs.

“You can’t put all your eggs in one basket; we try to have a network and a core brand handle, so we structure ownership of that. Staff has their own handle, though we encourage them to temporarily embed our brand in their handle. This leads to lots of retweeting. When someone leaves and goes to a semi-aligned content organization, they still often tweet our content,” says Longobardi.

Tony Silber

Sid Evans on What Southern Magazines Can Teach the World About Media

Tony Silber Editorial - 10/27/2011-10:25 AM

What’s the difference between Garden & Gun and Portfolio, two award-winning magazines that were both launched in 2007?

Other than the obvious response—Portfolio is out of business while Garden & Gun thrives—for Sid Evans, the difference comes down to one word: Soul.

Evans, the group editor of Time Inc.’s Lifestyle Division and founding editor of Garden & Gun, says being “soulful” makes all the difference between magazine success and failure, and it’s something Southern magazines can teach the world.

Evans was a keynote speaker at the ACT2 Conference in Oxford, Mississippi, and in his presentation, he offered seven key ingredients for success of Southern magazines, ingredients that all magazine brands can emulate. “Our first cover had Pat Conroy standing in a fountain,” Evans said. “It was not a choice a focus group would have made. But to me it made sense!”

In music, art, literature, architecture, food and more, there is “an abundant, rich life” in the South, and that’s what people want, Evans said. “We were a general-interest magazine about Southern culture, and it struck a nerve immediately,” he said. “And somehow, that translates beyond the South.”

Here are Evans’ 7 ingredients of successful Southern magazines.

1. Make people proud of where they’re from. Think about what was going on in the South in 1966, when Southern Living was launched, he said. It wasn’t great. “But Southern Living was about a civilized, gracious place.”

2. Make food the center of everything. “Food is what binds people together,” Evans said. “It’s what they talk about. And it’s not just the recipes, it’s the stories—the barbeque joint that’s been around since the 1950s. The term ‘American food’ doesn’t really mean anything—but Southern food, that means something.”

3. Never underestimate the power of a great story. “A lot of the media world has lost sight of that fact,” Evans said, recounting a story in Southern Living of how people survived the devastating tornados in Alabama earlier this year, and how it touched people all over the world.

4. Never underestimate the power of nostalgia. “Even as you do Facebook and develop a Twitter presence, remember nostalgia,” Evans said. “At Garden & Gun, we got a letter from a reader in New Jersey who said we made her nostalgic for a place she’s never been. We did story on Facebook about Southern sodas, regional sodas that people grew up with. It was like someone dropped a bomb on our Facebook page!”

5. Have a drink. Southern Living has had a “tortured relationship” with alcohol over the years, Evans said, but now, alcohol is a regular part of the magazine, as it should be. “When you do a story about a mint julep, you’re doing something about more than a drink,” he said. “When you think about most kinds of alcohol, they come from somewhere else. But bourbon is ours. It is uniquely Southern.”

6. Pick the right heroes. “One of the things that makes Southern magazines unusual is that readers treat celebrities as members of an extended family,” Evans said. “When you’re writing about celebrities, you need to be careful. If they don’t seem real, if they don’t represent the South well, then you lose credibility with readers.”

7. Make your readers the star. “Elevate them,” Evans says. “Recipe sharing is a huge part of the culture—a kind of cultural secret weapon.”

And in the end, Evans repeated, a magazine should “be soulful. It’s not a business strategy, but it is a business philosophy.”

The ACT2 conference is organized by Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at University of Mississippi the journalism school, and widely known as “Mr. Magazine.” The two-day event, in its second year, has doubled in size from 2010, Husni said.