Useful, accessible information on circulation and audience development for magazine publishing professionals.

Jun 28th 2016

is the 180 day of the year and there are 186 days remaining until the end of the year.


PepsiCo has announced it will put aspartame back in some of its diet beverages less than 12 months after it pulled the artificial sweetener over health concerns.

BREXIT: Tax rises and spending cuts will be needed within months to deal with economic challenges following the vote to leave the EU, George Osborne has warned.

BREXIT: Nigel Farage has told MEPs "you're not laughing now" as he was jeered and booed at an emergency meeting of the European Parliament to discuss Brexit.

Four suicide bombers were involved in the early morning attack after throwing out a hand grenade in the Christian village of Qaa, Lebanon.

Ikea is to recall 27 million Malm chests of drawers in North America after the deaths of three children in the United States.

World number one Jason Day has withdrawn from the Rio Olympics because of "concerns about the possible transmission of the Zika virus".

Former England captain Alan Shearer described England's Euro 2016 defeat at the hands of Iceland as the "worst performance" he has ever seen from the national team; England lost to a nation ranked 34th in the world - and with a population of just 330,000.

The US Supreme Court has struck down a Texas law that imposed strict regulations on abortion doctors and facilities.

1491 – Henry VIII of England (d. 1547)
1703 – John Wesley, English cleric and theologian (d. 1791)
1836 – Emmanuel Rhoides, Greek journalist and author (d. 1904)
1891 – Carl Panzram, American serial killer (d. 1930)
1920 – A. E. Hotchner, American author and playwright
1926 – Mel Brooks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
1928 – Cyril Smith, English politician (d. 2010)
1938 – John Byner, American actor and comedian
1942 – Frank Zane, American bodybuilder and actor
1943 – Jens Birkemose, Danish painter
1962 – Ann-Louise Skoglund, Swedish hurdler
1970 – Steve Burton, American actor
1970 – Tom Merritt, American journalist

1976 – Stanley Baker, Welsh actor and producer (b. 1927)
1194 – Emperor Xiaozong of Song (b. 1127)
1189 – Matilda of England, Duchess of Saxony (b. 1156)

1461 – Edward IV is crowned King of England.

1745 – A New England colonial army captures the French fortifications at Louisbourg (New Style).

1838 – Coronation of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom.

1846 – Adolphe Sax patents the saxophone

1859 – The first conformation dog show is held in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

1894 – Labor Day becomes an official US holiday.

1904 – The SS Norge runs aground and sinks.

1919 – The Treaty of Versailles is signed, ending the state of war between Germany and the Allies of World War I.

1950 – Korean War: Seoul is captured by North Korean troops.

1964 – Malcolm X forms the Organization of Afro-American Unity.

1992 – The Constitution of Estonia is signed into law.

1997 – Holyfield–Tyson II: Mike Tyson is disqualified in the 3rd round for biting a piece off Evander Holyfield's ear. (Holyfield carried on fighting for a further three rounds because did not hear the referee stop the bout.)

It is time for Americans to accept what the rest of the world knows, guns DO kill people.
Click here to read.

For previous 'And Another Thing' articles, click here.
What Information Should You Give your Creative Team?
Click here to read.

For previous 'Straight Talk' articles, click here.

Day 180 of 366: Second Day of Wimbledon

Direct Talk
By Elaine Tyson

Do Magazine Covers Still Matter?

The short answer to that question is YES… especially if your magazine is sold on the newsstand.  Good cover lines and an image that appeals to your market can attract attention and help improve sales. 

The magazine’s logo needs to be prominently displayed and readable.  It’s strange and unhelpful if you can’t read the logo.  Some magazines excel at being so cool you can’t figure out the magazine’s name.  This really doesn't help sell copies because most newsstand sales are impulse buys and the prospective customer needs to grasp immediately how the magazine will appeal to their specific interests.

Obviously, the cover lines must match the cover image and should also push the contents of the issue.  You need a way to cut through the clutter at retail and magazines have to work hard to stand out from the crowd.

Where those cover lines appear on the cover is also important.  Usually the left third of the cover is the place to concentrate because most magazines are not shown full face on the shelves.  Buyers need to be able to recognize the logo and see some of the contents to maximize sales. 

Newsstand sales have declined over the past few years so making an impression quickly is more important than ever if you want to sell copies at retail.  You can do this by following these well known formulas for good covers and inserting your magazine’s own personality into the mix.  You want to look like yourself and appeal to prospective readers at the same time.

Some publishers use a different cover for the newsstand and one designed for subscribers.  That’s fine if you have a convincing reason to do so.  Just remember creating and printing two covers costs more than using the same one.  Using different covers just for the hell of it doesn't make a lot of sense due to increased costs.  And, be very careful not to use any image that you don’t own. 

Creating covers that people want to pick up, take with them and place on their coffee table should be one of the things print does best.

Brexit is less than a week old and the all-important article 50 has not been signed, but this does not stop Owen Meredith the Head of Public Affairs at the PPA from pontificating, and there is nothing wrong with a decent pontificate, especially on a Tuesday.

The PPA has been an important voice for periodical publishers and other publishers in the UK for a long time, and in reading Mr. Meredith's implications of Brexit, it is good to know PPA are still on top of things. For more, click here.

Yesterday, according to 'Canada Post released a statement explaining that while negotiations with the Canadian Union of Postal Workers (CUPW) continues, a legal work disruption can happen, as early as July 2, 2016.'

If a strike does go ahead, then the movement of mail will stop. Mail in the system 'during the disruption will be secured and delivered as soon as operations' start up again.

Canada Post says 'we understand the impact a work disruption would have on customers and are therefore doing everything possible to reach a negotiated settlement quickly. While a labor disruption remains a possibility, we are asking customers to take precautions.'

Sheelah Kolhatkar is joining the New Yorker moving there from Bloomberg Businessweek, when she has been since 2010.

That is the day says Corinne Grinapol at that 'museums across the country have the opportunity to be just like the Smithsonian’s network of museums.' 9/24/16 is the day 'Smithsonian magazine will host its 12th annual Museum Day Live! event, in which partner organizations, much to the delight of museum patrons, will open their one-day-only admission-free door–provided, of course, that you print out the admission ticket.' For more details, and also the way to get the admission ticket, click here.

Not surprisingly, 'the two biggest regional newspaper publishers in the UK have seen their share prices fall sharply following the vote in favor of Brexit' says Freddy Mayhew at Press Gazette. Trinity Mirror and Johnston Press both saw their share price fall and 'Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), owner of the Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday and Metro, were also hit by the decision to exit the European Union.' Of course this seems to be in line with shares prices across all walks of life in the United Kingdom, but it will be interesting to see when the fall stops and the rise starts. For more, click here.

'On Monday it looked like the world had turned upside down, but Tuesday looks to be calmer, at least with the financial markets' says D.B. Hebbard at Talking New Media. At the moment all seems to be a great deal calmer, but says D.B. 'it is only a lull before then next series of events occur that continue the story of the disintegration of the United Kingdom' To find out what Mr. Hebbard knows, click here.

Day 179 of 366: First Day of Wimbledon
'The computers are gone. The desks have been cleared out. Old papers and letters and decades of paraphernalia have been removed or discarded' scribes Barbara Silverstein at It had been published for over 50 years but 'Outlook has shut down and subscribers received its farewell issue this month.'

An aging readership seems to be the main cause of the magazine demise, as old readers died, younger readers did not come on board. For more, click here.
Jason Nikic will be joining Interview Magazine as their new Chief Revenue Officer and notes Alexandra Steigrad at WWD 'replaces former publisher Dan Ragone, who departed for Maxim earlier this year.' For more, click here.
For many there is a new word in the vocabulary that was not here this time last week - Brexit. In case you have not heard the Untied Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union and after the vote last Thursday it is probably fair to say the fan has been well and truly covered. 'One question' says D.B. Hebbard at Talking New Media 'that many covering the Brexit story don’t seem very interested in right now is how this economic turmoil will effect publishing' - thankfully D.B. delights us with his perspective. Click here for more.

Meanwhile, 'shortly after the shocking news broke' says Alexandra Jardine
at 'The Economist tweeted its latest cover: a torn British flag and the caption "A tragic split." UK retailer 'Dorothy Perkins was derided on Twitter after merrily tweeting: "Woo! Who has that #Friday Feeling? X" with celebratory emoji at 9.21am just as the pound was crashing to its lowest level since 1985. The company has since deleted the tweet.' For more, click here or cliquez ici!

'Angry Birds have taken over the latest installment in Egmont Publishing's Showcase magazine series' reports and 'targeted at children between the ages of five and eight, the issue comes free with two Angry Birds gifts plus Angry Birds Movie trading cards.' The magazine will be available next week priced £3.99. For more, click here.

'The partnership is an expansion of Go RVing’s sponsorship with the brand for the Country Living Fair; Go RVing is a sponsor for all four Country Living Fairs across the U.S., with interactive RV installations at each site' says Sara Guaglione at Not only this says Sara but 'Country Living and Go RVing are also partnering on a sweepstakes. The winning reader will get $5,000 to go on a cross-country road trip this summer.' For more, click here.

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Content marketing specialists know there is a great return on investments especially when teamed up with a quality telemarketing... Ronen Ben-Dror explores some options. Click here to read.

Native advertising is here to stay, probably. It is a good thing, possibly. So why can't Glen Martin decide whether he likes native or not? Click here to read.

We act as if “native advertising” is something new, so what is it and how should we best use it... an introduction to "native advertising!" Click here to read.

Just how safe is your data? With so much data held by publishers, could it be "hacked?" Elaine Tyson and Roy Beagley asked the people that know, the fulfillment bureaus themselves. Click here to read.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau found that more than a third of web traffic is fraudulent and BPA says only 40% of ads measured are actually viewable, but how much of a problem is this? Click here to read more....

Telemarketers are well aware of the Personal Identifier Question and recent changes in rules regarding the PIQ have caused somewhat of a debate in the industry. Ronen Ben-Dror of Blue Valley Telemarketing takes a look at what gives. Click here to read more....

Customers of telemarketing services often commission work without undertaking even the most elementary checks. What should the informed customer look for when choosing an outbound telemarketing agency? Click here to read,

Publishers need to address the USPS's suggested increase before it is too late. Click here to read,

Social media channels today are playing an interesting role in the future and the publishing world now views social media as a positive exchange with subscribers, so To Tweet or Not to Tweet, That Tis the Question Click here to read more....

How Well Do You Know Your Audience? The more you know, says Ronen Ben-Dror, this could eliminate the battle of qualifying leads. Click here to read more....

When executing a direct mail program, you should give lots of thought to the requirements of merge/purge. This could end up saving you a great deal of money, not forgetting making your life a great deal easier. Karen Tyson explains...

5 Mistakes You Should Avoid When Planning Your Audience Development Efforts by Kinjal Husges. Click here to read more....

To develop a realistic circulation forecast based upon current economic, industry, and company conditions is part of any circulation director's job. Benefit from the accountant's view and read Peter Sangiorgio's 5 Simple Tips to consider when developing a Circulation Budget. Click here for Peter's insight.

Businesses that put their customers front and center will ultimately win and the secret to successfully scaling CRM practices into any large organization is to really understand your markets. Benefit from Pam's years of experience and learn how to segment your file and become a success. Click here for Pam's insight.

Sending out a direct mail campaign requires a good lettershop operation... Karen Tyson explains....

For years the concept of earning and deferring income has confused many, but it is not that difficult. Get the facts behind earned and deferred income from Peter Sangiorgio. Click here to read more....

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Cash flow is probably the most important resource any business has. Benefit from Peter's insight and knowledge. Click here to read this exclusive article.

Circulation can be an asset on a sales call. Peter Lenahan explains what to do, and as importantly not what to do in this exclusive article. Click here!

How to manage a telemarketing campaign and make it work for you. Karen Tyson explains....

While all major publishers maintain marketing databases, it is just as important for small publishers too. Pam would argue it’s more important than ever to maintain a database as a tool for identifying, developing and implementing strategy. Click here!

Getting a direct mail package printed takes advance planning. Karen Tyson has some thoughts and ideas as to how to make this sometimes daunting prospect easier to handle... Karen Tyson explains....

Rebecca Sterner is one of the most respected people in the audience development job function. Now you can benefit from Rebecca's knowledge on Setting Up an Auto Renewal Program. Click here.

Enjoy and benefit from this exclusive article for written by Peter Lenahan who explains why the circulation staff keep the sales force motivated, and how that benefits all concerned. Click here!

Reader's response: One of most intelligent articles I have ever read on ad sales and the all-important relationship with circulation. Well said. Harry S, Sacramento, Calif - via email.

Free magazines are different from "Controlled" as we all know, but the distinction is becoming less and less relevant to advertisers. Click here!

Evaluating how a campaign is working while agents are in the process of communicating with current or potential clients, live monitoring is an essential tool. Can companies afford to waste all those efforts on a careless approach to monitoring the campaign? Of course not. Click here to read more....

An accurate call list is an extremely important aspect in waging a successful telemarketing campaign. Scrubbing the list is the responsibility of the publishing company and the telemarketing agency. Click here to read more....

Virtually all marketing campaigns are most successful when they employ a multi-channel approach to a targeted audience... even in the "all-digital" world. Click here to read more....

On October 16th last year, a new regulation from the FCC went into effect. Ronen Ben-Dror asks how does the FCC rule affect you in the B2B environment? Click here to read more....



WWD does good email subscription promotions.  This one is hard to resist.  It’s got a good subject line – “URGENT:  Prices Going up in July.  Lock in Lower Rate Today”.  The email subject line is just like envelope teaser copy – it has to pull prospects into the promotion and this one accomplishes the mission.

The copy and design is clean, colorful and loaded with benefits – the biggest of course is “Beat the prince increase!  Last chance for Current Rate”.

And, if you order with this offer, you can also save 20% on the 6 month online access price and pay only $59.  It looks as if this might actually be a last chance.  And, it’s always good to think a last chance offer might actually be a last chance for something.  This offer was overused in mail efforts – but you don’t see it as often in email. The offer is used to good effect here.

There’s a prominent Subscribe button to make ordering easy.  Following that is a picture of the web site and arrows that call out the features of the site.  Clearly, WWD offers a lot for the money.  And as subscription promotions are all about the offer, this is a winner. To see a larger version of the offer, click here.

This TV Guide gift effort is colorful and loaded with smart ideas – a two for one offer, special donor renewal price, holiday gift cards, multiple premiums and a reply-by date to move prospects along.

This is a very good email offer for a subscription to the print edition of WWD.  There is a lot to recommend the creative.  First, the email looks the way you expect WWD to look – smart, elegant and intriguing.

Second, the copy is filled with proven direct marketing technique.  The headline says “Summer Special for Industry Insiders” and that’s an appeal to the recipient’s ego.  It’s very flattering to be considered an industry insider and to be recognized as such by an industry leader such as WWD is even more appealing.  If done correctly, flattering prospects is a smart move.

There is a very strong subscription offer being made and the email leads with that offer – a 34% price saving on a six month subscription.  Offers drive promotions and it’s important as a marketer to remember that fact. 

You can’t miss the call to action – a GET IT NOW button to order coupled with a prominent respond by date.  This technique generally moves prospects along to order as it creates a fear of missing out.  Direct marketers have used reply by dates for years and years in mailed offers.

There are also benefits offered in addition to the special subscription price – more content, a new, bolder look and “extras” such as daily email of top stories and three issues of Beauty Inc.

This email offer uses smart direct marketing technique developed through many years of print campaign testing and marries it to the immediacy of email.  It’s difficult to ask for more.

We recently received an interesting direct mail package offering a subscription to House Beautiful magazine.  It’s interesting for a number of reasons. Click on the picture below for more details.
The New York Times wants me back - nice. An outer envelope that perforates on the right, left and top which then revels a single order form and a postage paid reply envelope (not shown.) It is an interesting offer '50% off for 16 weeks' - the 50% off I understand, but the 16 weeks has me a tad confused... more than a quarter, less than a half and not quite a third. If it was intended to get me thinking, it did.

I can get all the digital elements my little heart desires and access to Ordering is made easy, I can phone, go online even use the USPS and try and reduce their losses.

Sadly, the reason I canceled my subscription weighs heavier on my mind as does the all-singing, all dancing offer I received, so for the moment NYT - thanks, but no thanks. To enlarge the image on the left, click on the image.
We recently received the regular offer from Opera News and this offer, like our old nanny Mary Poppins is practically perfect in every way. '3 Risk-Free Issues' always a vote grabber, a free gift offer of a CD, an involvement device, savings of 68%, and a reply by instruction. We may have died and gone to heaven!

Inside, or the reverse depending on your point of view, 'Free' is mentioned not once, nor twice but four times in as many paragraphs and an excellent re-stating of what we are going to get, or not if we don't reply in ten days. The Free issues are even restated on the reply card. Whoever wrote and designed this should be sent a bag of onions, because they sure as hell know them. It looks good, does all the right things and Opera News mail it regularly, so we can conclude that it works for them. (Click here or on the thumbnail to view larger image.

We received our monthly renewal offer from TV Guide this week, and it does all the right things and looks good, and makes ordering very simple. As with many publications the actual renewal date is not mentioned, something which annoys me as a subscriber, but pleases me as a marketer - can you tell I am a Gemini? IF you click on the image above, you can see what happens at the ordering stage, although this is made as simple as possible. Interestingly, for an online order form, and a renewal form at that, TV Guide offers a Bill Me option.
Here's a good offer from Oracle Magazine for a qualified controlled publication. It has good benefits copy and makes requesting Oracle Magazine easy with a couple of "Subscribe Now" buttons.  There is interesting PS copy offering a new publication for those who might be interested in Java Magazine as well as Oracle. The design is clean, uncluttered and attractive. To view the offer, click here. Not sure why the publisher is only offering six free issues, but given the quality of the promotion there must be a very good reason.

Here is the latest offering from People magazine. Nice personalized outer envelope, and a simple and concise brochure showing good covers and copy that sells the subscription. To order, it's old school, snail mail - no mention of ordering via the web anywhere. Nice package and well done to People for knowing that direct mail via the post office is still a good way to get orders.

Click on the image to see large versions.
Here’s what appears to be an advance renewal offer from Vegetarian Times.  It’s a renewal sweeps – smart idea because the original sub order was placed through PCH.  We’re assuming it’s an advance renewal as only one copy of the subscription has been received thus far.  The offer is a strong one –a 78% saving on the renewal plus a chance to win $25,000 (along with other prizes).  Package includes clever “sweeps” techniques on the outer envelope, an offer deadline and small flyer detailing prizes.  Good job, Vegetarian Times!

Click on the image to see large versions.
We received this double postcard from GQ magazine. The card looks great, has a nice cover and a nice free gift, but also has a rather confusing offer. '24 issues of GQ for only $20.00 - that's 83c (plus 17 cents shipping and handling) per issue; in other words $24.00 then. If you add 83 cents to 17 cents, you get $1.00 which if you then multiply by 24 issues you get $24.00. Click on the image to see large versions.
When my subscription of 'The Week' arrived last week, inside the envelope was an offer for 12 issues of 'The Oldie' magazine. As far as I am aware these magazines are independent of each other, but have a great deal in common.

This is a nice way of promoting a magazine that is probably already known to readers of another magazine and would be fairly cheap to produce and execute. Nice offer. Click on the image for a larger view of the outside and inside.
Always nice to get something from 'The Economist' as they always do things so well.

A free copy of 'The World in 2013' is a nice incentive for the readers among us, and a free tablet cover for the tecchies to boot - which also indirectly pushes the digital version.

The predominant red is great as it screamed "ECONOMIST" as soon as I opened my email. Oh and 69c a copy, they got me! [Click here or on image for large version].
'People' really knows how to use it's house file. Good offer, nice creative and use of personalization.

The offer is strong and the order form is pre-populated - what's not to love?
(Click on the image to see larger size and also the order form page.

This is an interesting offer. On the one hand it pushes newsstand sales, you can save $1.00 if you print out the coupon. However if you clicked on the Save $1.00 link you can also subscribe and get eight issues free.

An offer is an offer,
even though this offer
is not publishing related,
it has ignored basic
promotion rule 1-0-1:
Know Thy Prospect!


To view larger size, click on the above image.

A recent offer from People magazine. It looks simple but a great deal of thought has gone into this offer, not least the cover featured on the tablets.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
Let's state it up front - we know the email at the end of the link is spam. Even so, it is a great example of why some design is a good thing in email promotions - even text only promotions. We cannot believe anyone who got this email would even have got so far a clicking a link! Click here to see the email, which is a screen shot taken from our computer.

Rebecca Sterner wrote on CircSpot on how to set up an autorenewal. It just so happens that today we received our auto renewal for Time. In all honesty we had not planned to renew it, but it is done, and although we could cancel it, $81.00 for 56 issues is not worth the hassle of canceling, so we guess the auto renewal worked... at least in our case.

To view larger size, click on the above image.
A reader looked for something on the Times of London web site, and this popped up while the page they wanted to view was loading. He liked it, took a picture, and sent it to us - thanks Glyn C-R of Buckinghamshire.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

A reader subscribed to Fast Company and paid $10.00 for a subscription. After placing the order, they received an email offering a $5.00 credit if she can get another person to subscribe in the next 6 hours. This seemed like a very clever idea to the the person who sent us the information - and we agree.

To view larger size, click on the above image.

Here's a nice promotion from The Nation.  It's quick to read, offers an invitation to receive exclusive free offers - it's a flattering offer and comes from a credible publication.

It ultimately leads you to a subscription landing page offering 4 free issues (very strong offer) plus attractive subscription prices and a choice of format - print or online access.
The promotion is clean and uncluttered with enough enticing benefits to attract readership.

Click on the image above for a larger version.