I’ve been enjoying checking out the content on PBS’ MediaShift project site, where they recently posted an article about a start-up Romanian magazine that turned to Facebook to attract attention. According to the article, the mag, Decât o Revistă (“Just a Magazine”), is meant to showcase what great journalistic feats Romanian journos are capable of performing when commercial or political pressures are absent. To make a long story short, the magazine got enough attention on Facebook that its creators decided to keep publishing quarterly issues. And those Facebook fans have generated real sales of the printed product.
The magazines creators credit their social media philosophy with their success: Speedy, short-lived, value-added content are posted on social media. Hard-thought, serious, lengthy pieces appear in the printed publication only. In a symbiotic relationship, the mag’s social media involvement has also led to content for the printed version.
“We brought someone we met on Twitter to a shooting. We asked a blogger to bake a cake for us. We published another blogger’s personal essay. Someone called this crowd publishing.” ~ Cristian Lupşa, Decât o Revistă co-founder
It struck me that this Romanian magazine is far from the only traditionally printed magazine to participate in so-called “crowd-publishing.”Plenty of well-known and not-so-well-known mags turn to social media to promote their brand. Gone are the days these publications merely needed enough content to fill their pages once a month. Even venerated mags must generate those value-added pieces for social media, every day. And I do think Decât o Revistă’s strategy sums up the most effective social-media approach for magazines. It’s important to get readers involved, while still leaving some incentive to purchase the printed product.
Unlike the Romanian start-up, well-known pubs still have higher print circulation numbers than Facebook fans. But, in today’s mobile world, those social media efforts can be vital to maintaining readership and integrating their publication even more firmly in to their reader’s lives.
Like the Romanian start-up, other lesser-known magazines rely much more heavily on social media to generate sales of the printed magazine, and even to help generate content. Flea Market Style magazine is devoted to devotees of flea markets, home decor, collecting, DIY projects, and so forth. Its main website is a blog, which promises a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the magazine. In turn, the blog and magazine both feature other bloggers, Etsy artists (the collaborative site for artists) and online shop owners in addition to traditional dealers, junkers and collectors.
Various blog posts actively seek information from readers to source future printed articles, such as recommendations for a list of the best indoor antique malls to appear in the Fall 2011 issue. Subscriptions to this magazine aren’t available; it can only be found in the magazine aisle at stores and through special order. Another niche publication, Artful Blogging, wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for social media. Artful Blogging, published by crafting company Stampington & Co., draws all its content from the creators of blogs devoted to arts and crafts, photographs, written content and all. In today’s digital culture, there’s no longer a distinction between social media content and traditional print publications.