Archive for March, 2013


In Magazine Publishing, There’s Nothing More Exciting Than the “Launch”. An Excerpt from Our Wisconsin Magazine.

March 30, 2013

photoI love magazines, and I love magazine launches even more. That is no secret. So, when I acquire a new magazine or read a story about a magazine launch, the urge to share my love with the whole wide world is overwhelming. Saturday or no Saturday, I found myself emailing my friend Roy Reiman, Publisher of the new magazine Our Wisconsin, and Mike Beno, the magazine editor, to ask their permission to reprint parts of the introduction to the second issue of the magazine. So without any further ado, here is an excerpt from the February/March issue of Our Wisconsin magazine:

In magazine publishing, there’s nothing more exciting than the “launch.” Not many other things in business come close to this kind of adrenalin rush.
You begin by coming up with an idea or concept for a magazine you feel is “entirely different”. You’re sure potential subscribers have never seen anything like this before.
So you spend months (in our case, we began last spring) planning the format, the design and mostly the content. And then you start gathering that content…which isn’t easy when you don’t have a publication to show anyone. You just have to wave your hands a lot and write lengthy descriptions of what you plan to do.
Then you pull all this together…sort through hundreds of pictures and ideas for articles (some terrific, some not even close)…write and design 68 pages…and finallyput the first issue on the press, printing enough to “test the market”….
And then you wait.
And it drives you crazy. You wait for more than a week for the first response…any response, to see what total strangers think of your “baby”.
“Inventing” a magazine is much more personal than inventing a lawn mower or a toothbrush. It’s more revealing of who you are; it’s an extension of your personality. There’s a lot of you between those pages. So the fear of rejection is greater.
After you put that sample issue in the mail, you’re like a field goal kicker with the game on the line, with its heel or hero element. So you wait as the ball sails…for a long week or more.
If, when the early responses begin trickling in, you learn readers don’t like the first issue, it hurts. To a degree, it’s as though you learned they don’t like you.
But when you learn they like it–and some people even say they love it–wow! That ball is sailing through the middle of the uprights, and every subscription is a pat on the back.

And the people said AMEN!


“New and Exciting Better Than Sexy”: WSJ’s Michael Rooney Tells Mr. Magazine™ in this On-Demand Webcast from the Offices of The Wall Street Journal (via

March 28, 2013

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 9.09.26 PMWhat’s the magic formula for newspapers to survive in a digital age?

Michael F. Rooney, the chief revenue officer and senior vice president for the Consumer Media Group, at The Wall Street Journal and I had a candid conversation about the ever-changing media landscape. This is the first Mr. Magazine™ Live Webcast. A new Mr. Magazine™ forum for insight and exchange with a maverick, experienced, ground-breaking and innovative publisher. Mr. Rooney’s publishing success story shows that he practices what he preaches.

Click below to listen in on the conversation between Mr. Magazine™ and Michael Rooney (via

Mr. Magazine™ Webcast with Michael Rooney, WSJ, Chief Revenue Officer


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: Rex Hammock, Founder & CEO, Hammock Inc., on the Future of Print and the Difference Between the Know and the Flow.

March 27, 2013

You can call Rex Hammock, the founder and chief executive officer of the Nashville-based Hammock Inc., any name you want, except that of a Luddite. Rex bought his first Apple Mac in 1984, and has been tempted by the Apple ever since. On Twitter he is simply known as @R. He is all over the web, the digital sphere and more.

So when Rex came to speak to my magazine students at the Meek School of Journalism and New Media yesterday, I seized the opportunity to ask him two questions, after he completed his presentation to the students.

The first question had to do with the future of print in this digital age. Click on the video below to hear the surprising answer from this multimedia chief executive officer:

My second question to Rex was about his dual concept of “Flow and Know” in defining the role of content in magazine media. His second “minute” answer is as surprising as the first. Click the video below to listen:


Service of Discovery: The Secret Ingredient Behind the Reinvention of Good Housekeeping magazine. Rosemary Ellis and Pat Haegele Give GH Readers Something They Don’t Get Online: Discoverable Information. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview.

March 25, 2013

Good Housekeeping Magazine: An American Institution
“Getting a Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval may mean the difference between tepid and rapid sales.“ – CBS Sunday Morning, March 24, 2013

GOOD HOUSEKEEPINGGood Housekeeping has been around for almost 128 years and is still thriving today as it did in yesteryears. That is a fact. Another fact, like any good magazine, Good Housekeeping has been evolving with each issue since its inception. Case in point–the magazine was featured on CBS Sunday Morning, and another case in point, the recent reinvention of the magazine last January, which introduced a brand new Good Housekeeping. Recently, I was fortunate to visit with the editor and publisher of Good Housekeeping at the offices of the magazine at the Hearst Tower in New York City.

The entire history flashes in front of your eyes as you walk into the offices of the magazine, passing through the Good Housekeeping Institute. The day I was there it was like a beehive at work, the testing of products that has been taking place for more than a century. Today the winning tested “swimsuits” are put to the test as the models try the winning suits and the photographers snap the pictures for an upcoming issue of the magazine.

Passing the Institute, I reach the Good Housekeeping “living room,” and the “dining room,” adjacent to the living room. Unlike any other magazine interviews that I have conducted, there was a real “at home” feeling. Good Housekeeping is an American institution.

But what’s the future for this publishing mainstay in the age of digital?

Rosemary Ellis, Editor in Chief and Pat Haegele, Senior Vice President, Chief Revenue Officer, of the magazine have seen the future of Good Housekeeping and they are extremely excited about it. Picking the brains of their customers proved both enlightening and fascinating, as extensive research showed that today’s Good Housekeeping reader wants something a bit different than her mother before her: they want convenience, more extreme graphics, with visuals that pop, information between the pages that is so discoverable even Christopher Columbus would be impressed–and they want FUN.

TOFThe “service of discovery” is at Good Housekeeping’s helm and is what both the editor-in-chief and the publisher believe is most important in today’s magazine. The content must be fresh, conversational and extremely fun for today’s GH reader. The brand with the Seal and the Institute will still provide information about products that the reader loves and can trust, but will now also add an element of engaging discoverability to the mix.

It’s an interesting and long overdue concept. Rosemary Ellis defines it this way: “It’s what online cannot do; tell you what you didn’t ask for, but that you really want to know.”

Picking up a print magazine is a far different experience than going online, and both captains of this huge ship understand that. Flipping pages in print is always a discovery because the information between the cover and back page is something that the reader had absolutely no part of conceiving, far different from online, where to get information the reader has to ask for it first. And while the reader of Good Housekeeping’s print version discovers surprising and entertaining content, it’s always relevant because of the research and discussion that goes into each issue.

Of course, Good Housekeeping hasn’t ignored their digital companion website and other online resources in all of this, having revamped their online presence with the same discoverability. So it’s a win-win situation for everyone, but especially the reader–the most important part of a magazine’s success story.

Mr. Magazine’s™ Seal of Approval has been stamped all over this reinvention for Good Housekeeping’s future. It promises to be an exciting and entertaining tomorrow over that digital horizon.

Read my entire interview with Rosemary Ellis and Pat Haegele at the Mr. Magazine™ Interviews here

And watch the CBS Sunday Morning segment about Good Housekeeping by clicking on the link below.


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: Michael Wolfe, Publisher, THE WEEK and Mental Floss magazines, on What Makes a Brand Successful…

March 21, 2013

Michael Wolfe knows a thing or two about brands and branding. Mr. Wolfe has held the publisher’s job at Rodale’s Best Life, Wenner Media’s Men’s Journal, and now Dennis Publishing’s THE WEEK and Mental Floss magazines. Michael loves to talk about brands, not any brands, but rather smart brands in particular. I asked Michael about the secrets behind successful, smart brands. His answer is below in this Mr. Magazine™ Minute.


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: Randall Lane, Editor, Forbes Magazine, on How Print and Digtial Are Working Side by Side

March 19, 2013

When you walk into the Forbes building on 60 Fifth Avenue in New York City, you are welcomed by a series of paintings, drawings, and portraits offering a sense of majestic historical days of people who have occupied those offices over the years. Randall Lane, Forbes current editor, arrives in the historic library lined with bookshelves and filled with (ink on paper) books from floor to ceiling. He is wearing his “trademark” hat (inside and outside the office, the hat has become a Lane fixture…). I asked Randall about the future of Forbes and whether the magazine will ever cease to exist as a print publication. His answer is in the following Mr. Magazine™ Minute (well, make that two minutes):


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: Chris Johns, Editor-in-Chief, National Geographic Magazine on the Commitment to Print +

March 18, 2013

Chris Johns, the editor in chief of National Geographic magazine is quick to tell you his best definition of a brand: a promise kept. That “promise kept” is what guides his plans for one of America’s favorite “living room” magazines. The “Yellow-Border” magazine has been a household name for more than 125 years. I asked Mr. Johns whether that “promise kept” is going to continue to exist in print and what the plans are for the future. His answer in the following Mr. Magazine™ Minute:


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: David Carey, President, Hearst Magazines, on “Why I Love This Business?”

March 15, 2013

David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, fell in love with The New Yorker at age 16 while living in California. From that day he knew he will be New York bound. The man who at a young age was passionate about magazines continues to share his passion for the magazine media industry while he leads one of the most innovative magazine media companies in the world, Hearst Magazines.

For this Mr. Magazine™ Minute, I met David at the Hearst Tower in New York City and asked him, “what do you tell folks interested in getting in the magazine media field today?” Click on the video below to listen to his answer:


Mr. Magazine™ Minute: Steven Kotok, THE WEEK’s CEO, “We Treat News As Service.”

March 14, 2013

When Felix Dennis brought THE WEEK to the United States in 2001, it was not the first attempt at curating the news, but it was first time curation in the 21st century was done well and was done in print. Needless to say that “curation” is the in-word in the digital age, but still no one does it the same way The Week does. I asked Steven Kotok, THE WEEK’s CEO, about the secret behind The Week’s curation and success… Click on the video below to reveal the secret of THE WEEK’s content and curation in this Mr. Magazine™ Minute:


Reimagining The Women’s Magazine: The Redbook Way. Jill Herzig and Mary Morgan Reinvent Redbook for 21st Century Women

March 12, 2013

REDBOOKIn the magazine media industry, listening to your customer – that audience of one – is vital. You have to have large ears and an open mind. There’s no other way to approach success for your publication without the people who occupy the head offices of the magazine having the previously described features.

That being said – Jill Herzig and Mary Morgan, editor in chief and publisher/chief revenue officer respectively, of Redbook Magazine, redefine those characteristics as they embarked on the latest “reimagined” magazine.

Herzig and Morgan have researched and surveyed their audience and discovered what they want: a down-to-earth, reality-based magazine that is a handbook for fashion and style for today’s busy woman. So they’re giving it to them, reinforcing the belief that if you give them what they want, they’ll find what they need.

I had the opportunity to meet Jill and Mary at the offices of Redbook magazine, at the Hearst Tower in New York City. The new Redbook just arrived. The April issue (on the newsstands today) ushers a brand new magazine, reinvented and reimagined. The new cover design and approach scream at you, wow you and stop you in your tracks. A job very well done, and it shows.

I started my stream of questions and the answers were dashing back in stereo, in unison.

TEAM REDInvesting in this new print version in a digital age was never a quandary for the two visionary’s at Redbook’s helm, recognizing the progression of crossover high-fashion into retail marketing as their key to the door of the consumer’s fantasy-turned-reality. And ascertaining that print magazines are still the rainbows that lead to that particular pot of gold as no other medium does. It’s a relevant concept, with relevant content, for a relevant customer, something that must be in place when you reinvent any entity for the buying public. Herzig and Morgan recognize that fact.

Redbook’s new face belongs to any age group of women, but as Herzig said, “I would say that she’s a woman in her 30s and 40s and she can be from any town in America.”

Knowing their audience and marketing that percentile is very important to her. It’s the foundation for Redbook’s new structure and it has to be a sturdy and felicitous one for all involved.

While they know the print reinvention is paramount to the success of their venture, they also recognize that print and digital must coexist in today’s world. It’s an absolute.

Enter a new mobile app that makes shopping from your smart phone simple: the technology of Eye Capture. With Eye Capture you can take a picture of the entire activated page and are offered a screen full of images and magazine-approved links of content that’s directly related to what’s on that page. Every page and not just a few selected pages in the magazine are digitally integrated. Herzig and Morgan are very excited about the simultaneous debut of both the app and the new Redbook Magazine. To them, this is how print and digital can work together to bring the reader the most enjoyable and memorable experience ever. And after all, isn’t that what magazines are here to do?

In the scheme of things, what Redbook is doing is very important to the magazine media industry today. They are paving the way for other publications to realize the potential of making a niche for your magazine. Targeting and redefining your audience and then pairing the results up with a digital package that goes hand-in-hand with your print entity is the answer to a lot of questions out there today about how to make magazines more successful and relevant for the reader.

No matter how old your magazine is, creativity and good leadership are always essential to keeping the brand alive and going. I left my interview with Herzig and Morgan reassured that there are some leaders in the magazine media industry who are still full of passion, emotion and yes, gutsy moves based on some solid connectivity with the customers.

To read my entire interview with Jill Herzig, editor in chief, and Mary Morgan, publisher and chief revenue officer, of Redbook, click here.

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