Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Narrow niche = tightrope act

Listening to our students discussing the cover for one of the course magazines has brought home to me something that should be obvious: the tighter the niche you're operating in, the less room for manoeuvre you have.

A magazine with some element of general interest has the possibility of playing around with images and coverlines that range over a broad-ish spectrum of content. In reality, of course, a title will home in on a cover style and stick with it; the classic example of this is Men's Health, which knows exactly what its readers want and gives it to them month after month, year after year.



(Pic copyright Men's Health)

But a mag that is targeted at a specialised readership must constantly beware of falling off the ledge.

Case in point – a mag about independent film making. This is already difficult because it must avoid, at all costs, straying into Empire, Total Film or Sight & Sound territory. Add to this the likelihood that the bulk of the readership is into live action film rather than, say, animation, and you have another limitation on your options.

The "rules" about covers, so economically expressed by David Hepworth in 2005, apply doubly here. Not only must the covers of ultra-specialised magazines appeal to a moron in a hurry, they must appeal to a moron with blinkers on.

3 comments:

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  2. We like your topic and statement. Sure magazine publishers like Men's Health know there readers/market. Sticking to old school marketing is also a great risk they will 'never' enter into a new market We suggest to have look at one of our clients, Dutch leading newspaper de Volkskrant. They are not afraid to 'experiment' to get in touch with new readers and markets...

    They started exciting new multi media projects with online publishing. Not a boring flipping PDF but true multi media digital with no limits in online publishing. The new impressive technology to design and publish in real time is developed by MagStream.Com. The media staff of de Volkskrant can design and publish features and breaking news on the fly. Another 'gizmo' of the new technology is processing RSS feeds Blogs and Breaking News images from mobile phones in Real Time to already published webpecials, quite amazing!

    De Volkskrant launched two webspecials, about the 2008 Spring Fashion Trends http://vkmode.vkwebspecial.nl and the Super Tuesday, a special on the USA elections, http://vkwebspecial.nl The next edition is covering the World Press Photo and online published April 20th. Enjoy and best regards,
    Jos Knoote, MagStream.Com

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