Four Big Ways to Sell a New Publication Through Direct Mail
The goal of a publisher unveiling a new magazine or newsletter through direct mail is simple: Get as many people as possible to pay attention to the publication and, soon, pay money for it. Sure, a publication needs consistent advertisers and media attention, but only a growing base of readers that plan to subscribe and renew will make it go from viable to vital.
“You need to get the new magazine into as many prospective subscribers’ hands as possible,” says copywriter Elaine Tyson, owner of Tyson Associates in Brookfield, Conn. Tyson helped launched such magazines as Elle Decor (in the United States), George, Zoetrope and Crains NY Business.
Getting a publication to that stage, of course, is more complicated. “With any launch, it’s really important to be able to articulate the point of difference to the consumer, give them a reason to buy this magazine—that it is not going to be like the other magazines they read,” says Ellen de Lathouder, vice president of creative services at Des Moines, Iowa–based Meredith Publications, who was involved with the More magazine debut last year and ReadyMade launch this year.
With this in mind, here are four ways to spring a new publication to success through the mail.
#1 Establish Its Identity and Attitude
Because the identity of women’s service magazines tend to blur, de Lathouder asks her staff at Meredith to go through the “fill-in-the-blank” exercise. “No other magazine gives you what? How are my desires going to be met by this magazine? How am I going to be transformed?”
Fifteen years ago, de Lathouder wrote the launch package copy for American Patchwork and Quilting Magazine, and that copy still helps it remain No. 1 in its category: “Help for quilters like no other magazine has ever offered.” She explains that its success emanates from that first word, “help,” and continues to demonstrate the difference between APQ and competing quilting magazines.