User Generated Hard Copy – trade publications

Every Woman is a trade publication for nurses. Here’s MediaPost evaluation of it:

With a tagline of “Your prescription for healthy living,” Every Woman tries to milk its one big point of difference from other titles. Almost every article is written by nurses instead of journalists. The diagnosis: it’s an approach that doesn’t entirely work.

For example, while the writing is fairly clear and professional–I caught only one major typo when I put my copy editor’s hat on–it sometimes reads as flat as a prescription (”At your drugstore is a topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug…”) Many articles feature straightforward presentations of information about a particular illness or condition, as in pieces on how to prevent strokes, handle a diagnosis of breast cancer or prevent migraine headaches. But it’s how health journalists and editors shape such information–adding the important elements of newsworthiness and/or reader identification–that makes compelling reading. And that’s sometimes missing in Every Woman.

Another disadvantage of the expert-only voice is being perceived as too close to the medical establishment to provide a nuanced view. I caught a nauseatingly self-promoting quote from a Federal Drug Administration official–”This is another example of our endeavor to counter rising health care costs”–and an uncritical mention of two weight-loss drugs that got slammed in other reports. The fact that the book majors in drug ads didn’t reassure me that it was impartial, either.

Go ahead and read the article it’s interesting if you view it with an open mind. And note the last line:

In short, Every Woman would do better if it stopped trying so hard to be like every other woman’s magazine.

That says to me that there IS a market for niche user-generated publications. Only don’t try and mix traditional marketing with new media marketing. In my opinion, find people with passion (we forgive a lot of typos if we engage with their views – pro or against), don’t ask nurses or whoever to write like a journo or exhort them to “be professional”. Do NOT use a sponsorship model – use underwriting. A simple ‘brought to you by’ works. In the article they talk about the photos being realistic and the stories realistic – again, calling on a truth that only a professional in the area can really express.

Rounding out the more serious articles are a mixed bag of lifestyle pieces–not badly done, but not really necessary. Like the Teri Hatcher Q&A. She talks intelligently about topics like breast cancer and sexual abuse–but does the world need celebrity interview No. 155,825? I like “Freewheeling,” about cycling and its health benefits, because it makes me want to buy a bike and hit the road. “The Wonder Of The Bra”–how to buy and care for one–is OK service journalism, but the sidebar on the history of the bra is, um, padded with facts that nobody except a lingerie fetishist would enjoy. Then there’s that psychological quiz, with its generic advice to “buy flowers” and “gaze at the sky.”

And don’t try and be like every other magazine.

So is there a market for an online community integrated with an offline magazine, in this form? Perhaps uploading your story to a website, and at the end of each month, the digg version (most rated and ranked) get published? Would the web readers buy the hard copy that they had voted on in the forums? Or is this a way of getting non-web readers to integrate with their online brethren? (Face it, your online presence should be primary, print secondary now). What do paper magazines do so well that online ones don’t , encouraging use of both mediums? Hint: NeoPets magazine and site. Backwards and forward, backwards and forwards.

Now I haven’t read the magazine, but then again I’m not in the target demographic. I’m not a nurse. Oh, it it was a traditional magazine, I absolutely would be but then again we don’t talk about mass media anymore do we? I’d love a nurse to review and post their evaluation (it’s a US mag.)! What does a nurse see that others don’t in a magazine written by nurses, for nurses? BTW I’m pretty sure that most sector-specific magazines are written by people who come from that industry first, and become journo’s later. Or at least, thats the case with PC game magazines. Only once the PC game fan has moved across to the magazine, they have their ‘unprofessionalism’ (passion) thrashed out of them in the name of unbiased reporting.

Back to Laurel’s mantra #1: integrate your offline activity with online community. And your online community with offline activities. Can’t have one without t’other.

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Laurel Papworth

Named by Forbes™ Magazine in the Top 50 Social Media Influencers globally, named Head of Industry, Social Media (Marketing Magazine™) and in the Power150 Media bloggers (AdAge™). CERT IV Training and Assessment certified trainer (Diplomas and Certificates etc) Adult Education. Laurel has manager Facebook Pages for Junior Masterchef, Idol, Big Brother etc. and have consulted on private online communities for banks Westpac, not for profits UNHCR & governments in SE Asia. Lecturer, social media, University of Sydney for 10 years and Laurel has 11,000 online students. Laurel Papworth personally connects to 6 million followers online and has taught around 100,000 people in the last 10 years how to be social media managers.

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