Back in the glory days of magazines (2005, let’s say), marketing went something like this:
Step 1: Put Jennifer Aniston’s face on your magazine cover.
Step 2: Put copies of those magazines in places where people buy magazines.
Step 3: Collect a profit.
It’s not so easy these days. Adweek reports
magazine’s managing editor Larry Hackett thinks it’s a bit harder.
“The era of the A-List movie star is over,” he recently said. “I will confess, there were times in the ‘90s when we put people on the cover because they were huge stars, but the stories weren’t exactly scintillating. Now, the bar is higher. … People need a narrative arc.”
Hackett was speaking on a panel during Advertising Week. His fellow panelists, including Entertainment Weekly
managing editor Jess Cagle, agreed that selling magazines ain’t what it used to be.
Today, they said, bigger consideration is given to a celebrity’s social media footprint—how many Twitter followers, Facebook fans, etc. they have.
[RELATED: Learn how to build buzz with content that sticks at our December NYC summit.]
When picking a cover subject, editors today can't ignore the social media amplification factor. Cagle said when choosing between two celebrities for EW, the star with the bigger social media footprint (read: more engaged fans) will likely win.
Further, the idea was discussed on the panel that print magazine products could one day “become the loss leader that feeds all of the magazine’s other revenue streams.”