Are Blogs & Digital Media Taking Over Print Magazines?
I am always one to argue in favour of printed books over digital readers since I find it easier on the eyes and there's nothing quite like cracking open a book for the first time. Up until recently, I felt the same way about printed magazines. I love heading to the store, browsing through my favourite magazines, and picking at least one out to bring home (usually it's Elle Canada - my absolute favourite one).
However, as I've been running out of shelf space on my bookshelf, and trying to save as much money as I can, I've begun to question my monthly habit.
Not only that, but is the content as new and exciting as it used to be? I used to turn to magazines for the newest fashion trends, the best beauty products, and advice. Now, it seems that there are a ton of blogs out there to do all that and more. Plus, with the rising of social media (especially Pinterest and Instagram), anyone can check out the latest from fashion weeks all over the world, and advice on anything and everything.
That being said, magazines have definitely picked up on this. All of my favourite magazines have turned to creating a strong online presence through Twitter, Instagram feeds, fully-loaded websites, and blogs of their own.
While print magazines may be finding themselves staying on shelves more so than in the past, magazine companies are turning towards digital media to keep and build up their following. Many are also offering exclusive online content to subscribers to keep their income flowing and provide loyal readers with the ability to read their favourite magazines on the go without adding to their physical stash.
Magazines may be finding success here, but there is definitely a challenge from the rising popularity of blogs. Bloggers offer their content to the public at no cost, and they can be found through a simple Google search or through the convenient use of Bloglovin'.
What Does This Mean For PR?
If you've read any articles on how fashion bloggers make their cash, you'll notice that some of them are bringing in huge sums for advertisements on Instagram and making extra change off of blog advertisements. More followers means more money for the blogger.
So, the change from print focused media to digital media simply means that there needs to be a shift in PR strategies. In October 2014, Magazines Canada found that the "number of digital magazine readers in Canada continues to increase, up 57% from last year." While advertisements in magazines can definitely benefit a brand, as there are still loyal print magazine readers, a shift in focus to digital media can draw more attention to a brand, with greater amounts of readers focusing on online content.
By reaching out to prominent bloggers, PR teams can get their brands noticed through loyal blogger followers. If a blogger lets people know about an amazing pair of shoes, a new face mask that really makes their skin glow, or really any product that they think is great, it will create interest in the product, which leads to a rising interest in the brand.
Blogs aren't the only way for PR teams to capture interest of the masses though. They can use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest to gain brand interest. All of these social media sites work a bit differently, but towards the same goal.
Twitter has the short and sweet version of an advertisement, maybe a catchy phrase paired with a photograph for a strong statement. On the other hand, Instagram relies upon images to capture the audience's attention, so by posting interesting, funny or stunning photographs, a brand can catch the eye of an Instagram user when they are scrolling through their Instagram feed.
Magazines or Digital Media: Which One?
So, while blogs and digital media certainly have a bunch of perks like portability (everything is on a single device, which can be handy for people who are always on the go), magazines definitely have perks as well. For people who prefer to get away from the computer for a little bit, magazines offer a break for the eyes, and they are full of entertaining content and catchy advertisements.
Blogs and social media have become strong advertising focus, but do I think they are replacing magazines? Probably not. Magazines are adapting to the rapidly changing technology, and the digital world. They are creating their own force of social media and strong web content to keep up with the prominent bloggers.
Since we're talking about magazines and their digital content, I'm going to post my favourite ones here, so you can check out their websites and social media feeds. Growing up, I dreamed of one day being editor-in-chief of Elle Canada (probably after watching Devil Wears Prada and feeling inspired by the transformed Andy Sachs), and I'm still a huge fan of Elle Canada to this day (although my editor-in-chief dream has slightly faded away). Check their website out here. Another Canadian magazine I love to keep up with is Fashion magazine (link here).
Magazines are becoming more of a brand themselves with their growing online focus and followers (seeing as Elle had their own line at RW & Co.).
Overall, loyal readers (with extra shelf space) will stay put, while those of us feeling a bit weighed down by our magazine stash are turning to online content when we can. Personally, I can't resist picking up a magazine every now and then, especially when I'm heading out on a flight, as it offers a good, light read for the plane ride, or when I have some spare change in my wallet that is just begging to be used up on my favourite glossy magazines.
While PR teams should definitely continue working hard at gaining online followers for their brands, they shouldn't neglect print magazines, as they still have a strong following, and I don't think they're going anywhere for a while.
Are you a loyal print magazine reader? Which one is your favourite? Or do you think print magazines are suffering because of blogs & digital media?
Until next time,