Last week the UK edition of Wired magazine hit the newsstands for the first time. I have long been a fan of the US version and was interested to see how they had taken the format and adapted it for a UK audience.
Generally I was impressed. It’s a brave company that launches a glossy consumer mag in this environment but the team at Condé Nast have done a pretty good job.
UK Wired kept a lot of things that I liked from the US magazine but toned down the bleeding Sillicon Valley edge – maybe focusing a bit more on design and media instead of gadgets and west coast internet celebrity.
After the launch I was curious about what others were saying about the magazine and so did a quick Twitter search to see feedback from others. Again, it generally seemed to be fairly complimentary and a lot of people were talking about the possibility of subscribing – in fact I was one of them.
But I haven’t.
Now this doesn’t mean that I won’t. In fact Condé Nast have some pretty attractive subscription options and competitions for new subscribers that I still might take advantage of but the chances of me doing so are getting lower by the day.
You see the main problem that consumer publishers have is that they lose direct contact with their prospects. No matter how good a job the Condé Nast marketers and PR machine have done to get me to buy the first edition they have no idea that I did so and have therefore lost any ability to follow up.
It got me thinking about what I would do differently if launching the magazine.
My first job would be to build buzz in the run up to the launch. Now this should be fairly easy. There aren’t many high profile magazine launches around at the moment & the topic areas are eminently ‘PRable’. I’m sure Condé Nast have a team of in house and agency PR’s who can do this job in their sleep but I was slightly disappointed in their use of social and online media.
This for example was the magazine’s Twitter feed. It only went live on the day the first edition hit the streets and even now, nearly a week later, there are no real conversations taking place. And where are the Facebook / LinkedIn pages for fans to congregate and show support? – they may be there somewhere but I couldn’t find them and there are no links from the magazine’s webpages.
Now, how about that webpage? What’s it for? There are some nice articles on there and a video introducing the magazine from the Editor but really; what’s it for?
As I have said already the major disadvantage the consumer publications have is that they lack direct contact with their customers – who generally purchase via a newsagent. The website should be a great way to get round this. It should be used to capture information about customers and prospects and it should offer a chance for dialogue. There is a section that asks you to ‘Join Wired‘ but what is that and why should I?
What I would like to see here is that data capture becomes the primary purpose of the page. With the buzz you can make about the launch I would be disappointed if a decent B2B marketing team couldn’t get tens of thousands of people to register on these pages – what about a free downloadable white paper, a regular weekly e-mail alert or even a free sample of the first issue? There have been lots of great books written about creating effective landing pages, it’s not difficult but is so important.
At the same time a lot of people are already going to be converts. Let’s get their money now & lock them in before launch with a special charter offer for anyone who subscribes by the end of March. The website already pushes subscription options widely but there’s no urgent call to action. When you get through to their subscription landing page it hardly inspires the customer (one of the problems with subscription bureau that try to standardise everything). I bet it has a high bounce rate.
I’ll leave this post here. But let’s assume that it is now 2 weeks before the first edition hits the newsstands. We have 60,000 people registered via our webpages, 12,000 charter subscribers and active communities on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networks. Now the real fun of launch starts – I’ll come back to it in part 2 (and also let you know if I’ve subscribed yet).