Sundays have a new trend in the form of glossy weeklies – and it is big. This is according to New Media content director Clare O’Donoghue, the creative mind behind two of South Africa’s fastest growing weekly magazines, My Tyd and i. Distributed as a supplement with Sunday newspapers Rapport and City Press respectively, these magazines are important for two reasons: circulation figures and content form.
Under the editorship of Ferial Haffajee, City Press is growing into one of the country’s most quoted and relevant newspapers – not just for covering controversial topics – due to clever strategic moves which aim to reposition its traditional market and provide an integrated read for all South Africans. Central to this strategy is the launch of imagazine, the tabloid size read which covers a range of lifestyle topics. It is a ‘croissant and coffee’ read, which means you’ll have finished reading the magazine by the time you take your last sip of espresso – and in this lies the core of its success.
The online environment – and social media in particular – has changed the way we want our content dished up. Long form journalism has its place in the Vanity Fairs of the world, but generally, we are being conditioned to know the story in 140 characters. We ‘Twitter-edit’ our world into short bursts of information and we make our daily observations into a Pinterest mood board.
Looking at the format of both i and My Tyd magazines the application of ‘digital thinking’ is clear – and clever. Content is organised into bite-sized information with big, bold imagery throughout. It is a tactic that engages the reader more thoroughly, as every bit of information is tackled with renewed interest – like a refresh button for your brain.
For PR professionals, it asks to approach the way we manage our clients’ content differently as well. Long form articles on our clients might look impressive, but i will put my head on a block it is not more effective than a short blurb in these glossies. Learn to tell your client’s story in 140 characters or less before you tell it in 400 words and watch your following grow…
Pointing to its massive success this past Sunday saw i go national with it distributed in all City Press newspapers going forward.
Jeanri-Tine van Zyl is an account manager at marcusbrewster.