They've done it again! A year after my interview with Julia Raphaely, chief executive officer of Associated Media Publishing (AMP) on embracing digital for print to prosper, AMP has again seen outstanding Q3 ABC figures.
With the rise of digital, and mobile in particular, many have been predicting the 'death of print' for the past decade and a half. Luckily, a handful of quick-thinking publishers are bucking the trend and proving that embracing all things online can actually boost print sales and readership.
AMP is the perfect example of this, with rising paid circulation figures as well as online success in breaking the 1 million follower mark. But it's not just about print and online — events and 360-degree content also play an important part in audience engagement.
Raphaely talks us through their success in doing so:
Bizcommunity.com: In a time of declining print readership, AMP again bucks the trend - tell us about your healthy Q3 ABC figures.
Raphaely: Associated Media Publishing recorded exceptional results in the latest ABC figures. Good Housekeeping and Goeie Huishouding saw phenomenal growth of 28 percent year-on-year in paid circulation and 9 percent for the quarter. This is no mean feat in a declining market. Cosmopolitan's total circulation is up 6 percent quarter-on-quarter and House & Leisure's up 2 percent quarter-on-quarter. We are so pleased that this increase in ABC figures ran parallel to us reaching the milestone of an audience of 1 million across our digital platforms. This shows that the overall audience we are able to reach through the Associated Media brands is growing on all platforms.
We are looking forward to the inclusion of multi platforms into the January ABCs, as this will demonstrate the true value of magazine brands in audience numbers.
How do you keep your online audience engaged?
Content is key, as well as understanding how to talk to people on the various platforms. We pride ourselves on delivering content that is 100 percent relevant to the audience. We also measure and share learnings across the business to make sure that everything we do is audited on a continual basis. And we take advantage of our innate agility to change direction and improve what we are delivering to our audience if we see it is not as engaging as it should be.
You've just passed the 1 million mark in your social media following. Explain your social marketing strategy.
Our audiences interact with our brands on multiple platforms across the content 'ecosystem.' Our social media platforms play a vital role in this mix. They allow our audiences to engage with us, voice their opinion, interact with our content and start conversations. As mentioned above — content is key to this engagement. We have put a lot of time and effort into making sure we understand our audience on each platform and feel we have a solid grasp of what they need/want from us as a brand. Social media teams strive to deliver content that adds value on both a practical and inspirational level.
Elaborate on the 360-degree content package turnaround the industry's currently going through.
We have realized the value and particularly the return on investment for clients when working on 360-degree campaigns. This allows our audience to engage with us and brands on multiple platforms — print, online and events. We have always thought of ourselves as a 360-degree business, so the fact that we now have multiple platforms 24/7 to add into our already well-developed channel mix is an additional blessing and a massive opportunity. Print remains an important part of the channel mix with its own specific role to play, while our multiple digital platforms enhance and complement the magazine brand in a way that was not possible before. Everything is now immediate and measurable, which is a massive change in terms of the old publishing business model. In addition to the multiple platforms, which now are starting to offer access to significant audiences, we have always had events as a part of our overall 360-degree offering. With 45 events running across all brands during the year, we have fully integrated them as additional opportunities for our readers and advertisers and they also play an important role in the channel mix.
How does this in turn bolster traditional print sales?
Print has always been the foundation for our business. It still is — however, as we are growing and developing our digital platforms our clients certainly see the need to be able to engage with our audience at multiple touch points — print, online and through events. We don't look at our platforms in isolation, rather as a means to engage with all audiences. We are also very focused as a company on delivering return on investment (ROI) throughout the entire content ecosystem, so any opportunity is conceptualised at its origin to provide value to readers and clients along the entire consumer journey and on all platforms. This means that content in print needs to be curated for that medium and a different version of original but authentic brand content needs to be curated for digital platforms at the same time. All channels push and pull backwards and forwards between print and digital, and as long as it is relevant to the user to move from channel to channel, they will.
Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via Charlotte Moon.