Yes dear reader, I’m still in Spain, and it’s lovely thanks. I saw some dolphins from the balcony this morning.
I’m back next week and heading more or less straight to Edinburgh for Magazine Street, where I will be leading a little workshop inspired by this very newsletter and its print predecessor.
If you’re at the conference, I’d love for you to come along and hear how I’m thinking about the Magazine Diaries brand and work though some of the ways you can breathe fresh life into an old idea.
In case you’ve been wondering what magazine I bought to fly out… it was The Atlantic. In the issue I bought the editor’s note is ostensibly about changing to easy-peel subscription labels that don’t interfere with the cover art. That’s a good idea in itself, but the genius of the piece is how effortlessly it draws the reader into the processes involved in making the magazine.
Assuming people know how much work goes into creating the publication they are reading is a mistake. We shouldn’t bore people with every commissioning email, layout change or print spec, but giving them an idea of the care and attention that goes into every issue can only help cement their relationship with the title.
Read Jeffrey Goldberg’s note about labels for a masterclass on how to do it.
The team at Creature & Co. makes National Geographic Kids in the UK and Ireland and they have been sharing how they made the title 100% plastic free. Here’s what they did:
Removed all plastic packaging from subscription copies and replaced it with a recycled paper envelope.
Banned plastic gifts, replacing them with plastic-free gifts that are just as fun.
Switched from a plastic-coated glossy cover to 100% recycled paper.
Put newstrade copies in paper envelopes so gifts no longer need to be fastened with tape.
In making the switch to 100% plastic free packaging and gifts, they reckon they’ll remove over 100,000 metres of tape, 1.6 million plastic bags and 729,000 plastic toys from circulation, per year.
I feel like I’ve mentioned Smarty Brevity in this newsletter before, maybe even under that headline. If I did, I’m bringing it up again because there’s a new book out explaining the concept and I think it will be well worth a read.
If I didn’t or you missed it, Smart Brevity is the writing style and formatting guidelines that US news outfit Axios has used to make its newsletters super successful. It’s all about cutting to the chase and providing signposts along the way, and the book sounds like it’s got lots of how-to information and examples.
This week’s magazine song is ‘Perfect Skin’ by Lloyd Cole and the Commotions. The word magazine doesn’t actually appear in the lyrics, but a magazine is mentioned and, as Chris Maillard pointed out to me, ‘neatly drops in its USP...’
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Please remember to send me any magazine publishing ideas that you think are worth stealing for future issues. And remember, if you would like any help finding ideas for your business, let's arrange a chat.