Long gone are the days of walking around to the corner store each month and purchasing your favourite magazine. Peering at the expensive designer brands as you carefully lift each glossy page; those magazines were every girl’s go to (and only) fashion bible. And although Vogue and Cosmo are still household names, their transformation into the 21st tech century has seen a complete makeover of the magazine industry. It’s much more than simply selling stories in a magazine; now it’s about selling the name on the front cover. ‘Magazine’ doesn’t just refer to a glossy printed book anymore; now magazines have multiple personalities and job descriptions that help create exclusive brands rather than a product.
So what are the things that you could call a magazine?
1. A social media influencer
With a strong presence on social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook, magazines have attracted online fame and created specific social media personalities. Through the visibility and accessibility of social media, this personality is able to flourish. Research shows that social media and the influencing personalities discovered on social media are more likely to encourage purchase decisions. By using social media to create a personality for the brand, magazines have been able to boost their brand following and cement brand loyalty. From feminists and political activists to gossips and love-life gurus, each magazine outlet has their own unique character online. See what personalities your favourite magazine possesses below.
Elle: Feminist, empowerment, solidarity.
Vogue: Political activist, foreign correspondent, worldly, classy fashionista
Marie Claire: Feminist, arty and creative, quirky
Cosmopolitan: Sex, love, and lifestyle guru, gossiper
2. A celebrity
A celebrity is a person who is extremely well known and stereotypically works in the entertainment industry. A brand is a name, image, idea, or personality of a company. Modern magazines have creatively connected the two concepts; making the brand become a celebrity, giving the brand a specific online persona and creating their own fame.
Not only have magazines become a celebrity in their own right, but they have used other celebrities as assistance through purchasing their endorsement. Now this is nothing new, companies in almost every industry uses celebrity endorsement to further their success. However, magazines have now taken this endorsement to a whole new level; using the lucky one on the front cover to push all channels.
For example, US Vogue recently featured it girl Kendal Jenner on the front cover on their September issue. With the September issue being the biggest issue the magazine produces each year, it was important for Vogue to encourage sales. However instead of advertising what was on the inside of the magazine, Vogue simply focused on what was on the cover; a trending, mega celebrity model that has one of the largest social media followings in the world.
In the lead up to the release of the issue, interviews were splashed across Vogue’s online version and all social media channels. Kendall participated in short funny clips that featured on both her personal and Vogue’s social media channels, advertising that she was the next one to score a cover. No reference to the content of the magazine was made, just plenty of Kendall fever.
It’s not just Vogue who have taken this approach; a majority of fashion magazines have adopted their cover girl as their new ambassador. Once chosen, the magazine piggy backs the cover girl’s popularity and attaches it to the brand; no longer selling the magazine but the celebrity who is associated with it for that specific month.
3. A news segment
Through social media and their online versions, magazines have taken on the role as entertainment and popular culture news outlets. Magazines have jumped on the 24 hour news cycle train and begun churning out news stories about events as they unfold. This means magazines are constantly updating their information online and publishing new stories, similar to news outlets updating their sites with breaking news as it comes in. For example, articles and social media updates about the Met Gala were published by Vogue as the event was taking place; making the magazine the go to source for entertainment news.
Unfortunately, this choice to be a constant running mill of information wasn’t in the hands of the magazines; pressure from the audience has forced the traditional once a month magazine to be a daily magazine bulletin. With shortening attention spans, the audience require a constant feed to what is happening in real time. For a magazine’s online articles to be popular, they need to be about developing events as this is what grabs the audience’s attention. However not only do they need to be updating the readers, they are now expected to be publishing stories online that you would usually find in the print form. Distributed through their social media channels, audiences can always read further than the standard magazine. For example, some magazines have their own snapchat channel where each day a variety of stories are listed for the viewer to choose from. So now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of social media app to get your magazine fix!
Magazine’s makeover can be likened to a before and after shot of a celebrity’s big break; going from a select few knowing who you are, to being a household personality whose name is constantly splashed everywhere. And although those glossy printed pages will live on for the foreseeable future, the new magazine era is here to stay. So get clicking/swiping/tapping!
Also published on Medium.