It seems putting a Mum on a magazine cover draws attention.
There’s been a hullabaloo over the latest Time cover. It’s a provocative shot highlighting a story on attachment parenting including the headline “Are You Mom Enough?”.
As I am sure the Editors had expected, woman everywhere took the bait and launched full throttle into the usual mummy wars battle. There was criticism of blogger, Joanne Beauregard for allowing herself to be photographed in that way, there were attacks on the attachment parent philosophy, while proponents of the practice leapt to its defence.
But let’s leave aside the debate over breastfeeding and the attachment parenting movement for a moment. There’s no doubt the print industry is facing new challenges from the online world, does that mean magazines now have to create more controversial covers than ever before? Is going viral a target for a print publication? If so, does increased visibility online transfer into more real world sales?
Blogger, Alana House of House Goes Home is a former magazine editor who spent 20 years working in the industry. When I asked her if covers needed to court controversy to gain online attention she said “I think magazine editors sometimes confuse publicity with sales. While the recent Time cover went viral, I can’t see many businessmen buying copies. What bloke in a suit wants to be spotted reading that on their morning commute? So it depends what the aim is. If you want to get people talking, yes, you need to be provocative. But if you want to sell magazines – on a sustained basis – make your product more relevant to your core reader.”
Nowadays we have so many avenues for information – blogs, online magazines, websites, Facebook, Twitter, almost all of which are free and available to us 24/7. The mags sitting forelornly on the newsagent shelves are sometimes an afterthought in our busy lives. What does it take to make you buy a magazine?
Alana says “I read so many magazines that feel flat and empty. You can’t afford to be flat and empty. Every page needs to work hard and hook people, so they’re willing to put down their hard-earned cash again next time. There are so many demands on readers’ time these days, the internet is such a time-sucker – just keeping up with Facebook and Twitter is exhausting – that magazines need to be constantly on their game to survive”.
Looking at the portrayal of motherhood on current covers it seems to head either to controversial or perfection. This month’s Harper’s Bazaar gives us actress Nicole Kidman with daughter Faith Margaret. It’s a beautiful shot – oh to have a fashion team, a make-up artist and a great photographer! Would you be more inclined to buy because of the beauty of the picture?
In effect neither of the “mum” covers represents reality for the majority of mothers – but do we want reality?
Can a cover sway your decision to purchase? Or do you have your favourite magazines you buy every edition regardless of what’s on the front cover? Are you buying more or less magazines lately?