Audience Engagement
3 mins read

Prima Editor Jo Checkley on meeting increased demand for print magazines

Hearst UK recently announced that women’s lifestyle magazine Prima would increase its print edition from 12 to 13 issues a year, following a 68% surge in subscriptions this year.

This week, we talk to Prima’s Editor Jo Checkley about what factors led to the decision to increase the frequency of the magazine, how their content has encouraged a community feel among their readers, and what lessons they’ll be taking from producing magazines in lockdown. Jo also outlines what she’s done to keep her magazines thriving during her career despite tough market conditions for women’s titles.

Here are some highlights:

What’s behind Prima’s subscription success

It’s been the combination of a lot of factors that’s led to the big subscriptions increase we’ve seen. During lockdown, people have had more time to read magazines, and they really appreciate the entertainment they bring. So they’re seeing now as the perfect time to sign up as a subscriber.

On top of that, with Prima specifically, alongside obviously, all our great interviews and features, we have a lot of content that’s focused on arts and crafts. And that’s something that a lot of people have taken up this year. It links to mindfulness, and it links to wellbeing so people have seen having more time as a time they can do more crafts, for example, sewing and knitting. And in fact, our sewing patterns has proved so popular over the past 12 months, which has been great. And I think that’s all helped with see a need to get the magazine into their hands.

We’ve also had a great marketing campaign geared towards getting new subscribers, and it’s had the message, ‘Prima is like sitting down for a chat with your best friend,’ which really resonates because that’s really what Prima is all about. It’s about us being here for you.

Planning an extra print issue

What we’ll be doing for sure is focusing on all the most popular bits of Prima. So there’ll be extra craft, and there’ll be the gorgeous sewing and knitting patterns, and the pretty makes that you can do for your home. And of course delicious things to bake.

How we’ll do it is that we’ll run the issues for four weeks exactly. So normally, the magazines follow calendar months. So yes, it fits in that way. It’s a great news story in a very difficult year.

But the decision behind that extra issue was actually quite an easy one. We have such a loyal reader base, and they’re looking for more content. And with our subscriptions up by 68%, we thought it made perfect sense to add this extra issue a year.

Retaining new subscribers next year

I think it’s about making sure that the content in the magazine matches and exceeds what our subscribers are expecting. And that’s something I have huge confidence in. We have the best team of writers who really get a wonderful mix of content, and make sure it’s something on every page that our readers really connect with.

It’s really key that we keep coming up with fresh ideas. And that’s obviously my job to keep thinking up the different ways of entertaining our readers. Always on my mind, so there’s lots to look forward to over the next year. lots of exciting things coming up.

How to keep magazines thriving in difficult conditions

The key for me is always, I’m listening to my audience. The Prima reader is really responsive, as we’ve said, and it’s clear when they’re connecting with something…and for me, that drives me on to think of new ways to create different features and articles that really will resonate with them.

Because I’ve got such a strong connection with my readership, it’s very easy to understand what they’re feeling at a certain time, what they’re reacting to. And for me, that really keeps the magazine fresh. So I’m always looking for the latest topics that are concerning my readers, and then I’ll feed that into the magazine in the most relevant way I can.

In the news roundup the team discusses Future Plc’s resurgent fortunes and purchase of GoCompare, the UK government’s attempts to create a competition regime to tackle the ‘fundamental imbalance of power’ between platforms and publishers, and Spotify launching a Stories copy.