How and why we have reinvented the North’s biggest lifestyle magazine to become the number one free publication in the our region.
Over the last 17 years H2B Magazine undoubtedly became one of the most iconic high end free lifestyle publications in Yorkshire.At the beginning of 2016 we felt the whole industry was suffering from a tired reputation in an increasingly competitive arena. In early September we decided to turn around our fortunes and reinvent ourselves in a very short space of time.This is a summary of what we decided to do – however by now you can see the magazine difference as you should be holding it – or maybe reading it on line.
Our first task was to determine how and where the magazine was dated and needed modernising.
It is obvious to everyone print is in decline; however the sheer number of so called competitors that have sprung up and the increasing difficulty in grabbing the attention of the correct target audience has become harder.
Whilst we obviously have a few competitors, in today’s digitally driven and content saturated world it is also the likes of YouTube, Net-A-Porter and even Bitmoji that dilute. In essence a rival is anything that millennial eyes might otherwise be drawn to.
As a result of this it became more and more evident that a new innovative strategy – one that focused heavily on innovation around the core product of the magazine.
How will esteem generate growth?
Rule 1: Look in the proverbial mirror.
Our first action was to `slay the sacred cows`.
In other words we decided that the things we were famous for – like the name `H2B`, colourful features, sexually charged headlines, usage of space, paper quality and the front cover were the very things holding us back.
So, it was out with old and back to re-discovering what the millennial consumers actually care about.
Rule 2: Forget about pride and ego. We realised that H2B needed to shed its old stereotypical hallmarks; we also needed to reassess how we distributed content.
Before, our assumption was that as H2B was the biggest free A4 glossy magazine in Yorkshire with the widest distribution, that millennials would automatically be driven to us. This relied on the consumer seeking out H2B in tradition ways, such as retail outlets etc. However with content consumers evolving, it was apparent that we needed to do more to engage new and loyal readers elsewhere. With this in mind we have not only increased our distribution to 60,000 copies. We have also increased the areas of distribution and indeed increased saturation in existing areas.
A few examples of this are bigger distribution to higher end homes and increased deliveries to fast pick up points, such as coffee shops, golf clubs, hotels etc.This will serve to offer unparalleled added value to loyal advertisers as well as get into the correct demographic millennials hands. This will excite and engage our audience in the places where they live and socialise.
Harnessing the power of social media.
We are also investing heavily in social media – mainly; Twitter and Facebook. We are aiming to be the most formidable publication in this arena within 12 months.
We understand that we are far from dominating the audience here, however by considerable investment, time and effort, by creating unique and quality content, we will connect with both our existing audience and an entirely new audience. This will in turn convert them in to loyal readers of ESTEEM.
Our old website has gone and been replaced with www. esteempublications.co.uk This new user friendly site will be updated daily to keep it fresh, desirable and a good point of reference.
Everything we do – Magazine – social media etc will be driving traffic to the new website.
Rule 3: You are much more than you think you are.
We want our brand to be thought of as an eco-system.
In addition to the extensive development in print and digital, ESTEEM will be focussing more on commercial partnerships and growing its charitable work. Over the last 17 years we have raised close to 3/4s of a million pounds for charities such as Cancer Research, Deaf and Blind society, NSPCC to name a few.
ESTEEM is also investing in ways to improve the impact we can actually make within the lives of our readers. We recently focussed on help and possible alternative cures for cancer sufferers; we received stacks of e -mails about the emotive article. We were humbled by the e- mails and decided to try to tackle sensitive subjects in the future.
No more restaurant awards.
In the past we have sold our soul on occasions and awarded awards to unjustified restaurants to gain advertising revenue. Whilst many awards were justified, it’s fair to say some were not. This industry is rife with these indescretions. As part of our new ethos, we promise to have 100% integrity in the future.
What has changed besides the name?
- No picture on the front cover, chic and minimalistic are our buzz words.
- ESTEEM is a new size – more manageable.
- Ongoing interior re-design.
- Adverts much more minimalistic.
- Less sexually charged content.
- Social media dominance.
- Commercial partnerships to increase readership and digital followers.
- New innovative website, updated daily.
- Ethical and less monetising features to improve reader’s lives.
- Distribution 60,000 copies – making ESTEEM by far the biggest free magazine in Yorkshire.
- Increased pagination.
- Wider distribution – more areas covered than any free Yorkshire magazine.
- Innovative content to engage the modern reader.
- A more diverse range of advertisers to offer a broader comprehensive choice to readers.