Event Recap: Showcasing Success in Magazine Media

On November 2, we hosted a knowledge-sharing and networking evening for magazine professionals and creative types, where a panel of magazine creators shared a favourite successful project.

The discussion focused on achieving success in a number of areas—on the newsstand, in events, in editorial and on social—with a common theme of how magazines are connecting to and reflecting their audience, today.

Showcasing Success: Innovative magazine professionals share the stories behind their most successful work and favourite projects.

Here are a few highlights from the panel:

Cottage Life‘s cover strategy

Cottage-Life-Spring-2017

Braden Alexander, Associate Editor, and Liann Bobechko, Deputy Editor of Cottage Life, talked about how their success story started out as a problem: “Our spring issue was lagging at the newsstand,” said Braden. Their innovative solution was to try an SIP treatment.

The team came up with an editorial concept—opening up the cottage—that would benefit readers, and make sense in the context of the spring Cottage Life Show where this issue is prominently featured.

Then the editorial and art team worked together to re-frame existing content, revamp the cover lines, and change the look and feel of the issue with a book-like cover design, thicker cover stock and higher cover price.

They also worked with their circulation team on strategy, giving the issue a late off-sale date so it would stay on the newsstand longer alongside the next issue (like a true SIP).

The result: a 43% increase in revenue! “Circulation and editorial really worked together to make a big difference,” said Liann.

Curated Life‘s integrated events

Julene Chung, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Curated Life, talked about the magazine’s Masterclass series and how she uses events to help grow both the magazine’s readership and its relationships with sponsors.

“Magazines are not paper, magazines are experiences,” said Julene. And the magazine experience encompasses everything from print to digital to merchandise and events.

Curated Life‘s signature event is the Masterclass. Julene had been hosting events for five years before launching the magazine, and held the first Masterclass almost six months before releasing the first print issue of Curated Life.

“It allowed me to clearly define who my target audience was, what event format would work best, and who my potential sponsors were. So by the time I was ready to launch the magazine, I knew which brands and PR companies to reach.”

Aside from engaging readers and sponsors, the events are also great sources of editorial content, with a recap and photos from each event included in the following print issue, and social media content, providing photos and videos that encourage more people to attend an event or pick up a copy of the magazine.

The Kit Compact‘s community connection

The-Kit-Compact

Jessica Hotson, Creative Director of The Kit, talked about how their pop-up magazine The Kit Compact speaks authentically to a millennial audience. “In a way, we treat our readers as celebrities and models,” said Jessica. The Kit reaches out to its community to help create editorial so that readers will see themselves in the pages of the magazine—sometimes literally, as the models in beauty and fashion stories are often Kit readers.

This approach came out of a larger question about how to show their millennial audience something different and relatable when they are inundated with images of models and celebrities on social and online.

“This really connects readers to the brand in a way that makes them feel like they are participating, and almost as if they are part of the team,” said Jessica. It has a benefit for The Kit as well: “On set they are sharing on their social media channels, and helping us grow the awareness and reach of our brand.”

It’s also a way for The Kit to learn more about their readers, from their readers. “Our audience is used to being targeted and marketed to, and they are extremely aware of what is happening in the world,” said Jessica. Making them part of the conversation is invaluable for authentic connection.

Canadian Geographic‘s social reach

Can-Geo

Andrew Lovesey, Travel Editor-At-Large for Canadian Geographic, is the voice behind the magazine’s growing social media presence. He shared his tips for building an engaged online community:

“To build a social media presence, start by finding your own voice,” said Andrew. Social media can seem like millions of people shouting over each other—and it’s your job to make yourself heard in the din. First, find a unique way to approach social that makes sense for your brand and your community, and then stick with it.

Next, find your frequency: how often you post, and where and when. “Using insight tools will help you discover when your community is most active,” said Andrew. Find out when your community is plugged in, and meet them there.

Finally, find your friends. “Personal connections and word-of-mouth marketing are still two of the most effective ways to communicate,” said Andrew, “which is why social media is such an effective marketing tool. At its core, it’s a relationships network.” Remember that when you gain the trust of a follower or fan, you are making a bond that’s just as strong as one you could make in person.


Showcasing Success was held on November 2 in Toronto at Le Germain Hotel. Nearly 60 people attended, from magazines large and small as well as the wider publishing and funding community, for an evening of networking and knowledge-sharing. The panel discussion was moderated by Brandon Kirk, VP of Client Solutions at Rogers Media.

We would like to thank all of our panel speakers for sharing their time and enthusiasm with us: Braden Alexander, Liann Bobechko, Julene Chung, Jessica Hotson and Andrew Lovesey. The event was made possible with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Join us for more networking and skills training at these Magazines Canada events in 2018:

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