Last week’s PPA Customer Direct conference featured a truly uplifting presentation from Bauer’s Lynne Fairburn. The video she played brought a tear to my eye.
Two years ago, her title Country Walking was in dire straits. It was facing its eleventh consecutive ABC decline, its newsstand sale was down 13% and the title faced delisting, subs were at an all-time low and, unsurprisingly, ad revenues were down too.
Cue a crisis meeting. At the meeting, editor Guy Procter started humming the Proclaimers’ ‘I would walk 500 miles’, and … EUREKA!
The title has not looked back since, because from that moment was born the ‘Walk 1000 Miles’ challenge, which has single-handedly transformed the fortunes of the title. The idea, as all the best ones are, is beautifully simple – encourage readers to walk 1,000 miles a year. People would register for the challenge, keep track of their progress, record their miles, share their experiences and celebrate their achievements with fellow walkers. A dynamic fantastically engaged Facebook community has emerged. The magazine is the glue that binds it all together; it publicises and promotes the challenge and covers it extensively.
As a direct result, so far, 27,000 people have signed up and the magazine has gone from about-to-close to growth. According to Lynne, its ABC is up 7%, subs up 31%, commercial revenue up 28% and a range of ‘Walk1000Miles’ merchandise (coffee mugs, t-shirts etc) has generated £20k of profit. The title has got its mojo back.
The lesson is clear. If you can find your own Eureka moment, and engage with your readers at an emotional level, then publishing can be exciting again.
If you want to see that lovely video, click here and scroll down. Just make sure you have tissues to hand.