In the early days of this blog (2009) I wrote this in-depth series of articles on magazine advertising. It’s still the most read post on the blog and the one that brings most new visitors from Google.
But is wedding magazine advertising still relevant in this age of Blogs, Facebook and Instagram?
How have things changed?
Despite the rise and rise of the wedding blog, wedding magazines in the UK have shown great resilience. Of the publications I advertised in, only Cosmopolitan Bride has disappeared (I ran my stationery business through 2004 to 2011).
And a quick glance through any of the glossies shows plenty of wedding businesses willing to advertise.
One thing the national magazines have done is adapt. All now have an extensive online presence to back up their printed publication – websites full of articles and features, email newsletters, lots of social media activity plus digital versions of the magazine.
A whole package is what the more locally focussed magazines offer too. As well as their printed and online publications, many also run wedding fairs, networking groups and awards events.
Blogs are moving into print
And interestingly, we are now starting to see bloggers moving into print. Rock ‘n’ Roll Bride launched a printed magazine in January this year.
What do industry insiders think?
The national publisher
Rachel Morgan is Creative Content Director at Wedding Ideas Magazine:
“Whilst we have seen a shift in real brides looking online for their wedding information over the last few years, many still want, and enjoy, the traditional aspects of actually holding a physical wedding magazine in their hands. It’s important to have a presence across all media to expose your brand to as many potential customers as possible. I wouldn’t advise turning your back on traditional media.
It’s important to have three things in print advertising…
- Continuity – for at least 3 months or more to get your brand recognised
- A lifestyle look – brides are looking for ideas and ‘feelings’ when they look at magazine ads. Show your products in a lifestyle, real-life setting
- Accompanying editorial – regular ad campaigns in some cases secures you editorial or advertorial coverage. Try to work with a brand that offers that as part of the package.
Also, make sure you have a consistent brand look across online and print advertising to reinforce your message.”
“Since 2009 the wedding magazines themselves haven’t changed. Everything else has, though. The decision to advertise in a printed magazine now needs to be weighed against every other advertising medium.
There are many more options to consider before advertising in a national print wedding magazine. Look at publishing your images online: first, put them on your website. Then your blog. Then your Facebook page. Pin them. Approach wedding blogs. If your images are beautiful enough, you’ll get published for free. (Styled shoots are worth their weight in gold – get a gorgeous shoot on a major wedding blog and you’ll get noticed far more than you would in the printed press.) Then try the printed magazines, both regional and national. All of these free routes take time, but personally I think they’re worth it… they cost a hell of a lot less than paid advertising in a printed magazine.
Magazine advertising is still relevant – but perhaps it’s better suited to the massive designer brands than to the hundreds of independent craft businesses which make up today’s wedding industry. Maggie Sottero won’t blink at paying thousands for a full page, but as a calligrapher I can’t justify a couple of hundred pounds for a tiny ad. While magazines haven’t changed, the fabric of our industry has. I’m leaving magazine advertising for the likes of Maggie and spending my advertising budget more creatively.”
The Local Publisher
Liz Clark publishes The Wedding Guide for Yorkshire and North East England. She also runs the North of England Wedding Awards and has recently launched a series of networking events for wedding suppliers.
“The main thing is that although brides will go online to search for suppliers, we know they do, a printed magazine is tangible and brides LOVE to flick through a mag! I had a bride contact me only last year and she said she was ‘all wedding faired out and never wanted to step foot in another one’ and that she had seen I had a new online version on the web but would I mind posting a hard copy to her as, quote: ‘you can’t put Post Its on your computer screen’”
The Wedding Business
Tanya Lloyd is a wedding photographer based near Manchester.
“I’ve been advertising my photography business in my local glossy magazine, County Brides, for the last 3 years. One of the main reasons I advertise is that it gets me priority booking for the wedding fairs run by the magazine – which I’ve found to be the best in my area. Doing both the fairs and the advert means people keep seeing my name – they reinforce each other. Last year I paid for a large advert and got several pages of weddings I shot into the main body of the magazine and on the front cover. This year I’ve just taken out a small advert – you’ve got to try different things
I always ask my brides where they heard about me and they do mention the magazine. “
So is magazine advertising still relevant?
From all the people I talked to for this article, the majority feeling was that, yes, magazine advertising is still relevant, but only if (a) you target the right publications, and (b) you get much more than just the advert.
Pretty much what I was saying back in 2009. The advice in those original articles still holds good today – do your homework, plan a campaign, measure results.
Perhaps the one key thing that has shifted is that it is vital to look for a full package from a publisher – print, online and even face to face – and develop an integrated advertising campaign that backs up your own awareness building activities on social media and elsewhere.
Magazine advertising isn’t for every wedding business, but for many it is still an important part of their marketing and one that is effective when done properly.
We’d love to hear your experiences of magazine advertising. Do leave a comment below or post on our Facebook page