Over the past few years, many sources have reported on whether the influence of fashion magazines has been erased by online competitors, including social media. The New York Times, SWAAY, and Women’s Wear Daily are a few of the sources that have investigated this question. Generally, the findings demonstrate that publishers opt for a “try-anything” approach to stay relevant. Companies that used to focus on glossy pages and ad space in their publications now have to worry about investing in other forms of media, including social media outlets, podcasts, and video.
A huge competitor for fashion magazines are social media influencers. Instead of paying fashion magazines for ad space, brands may allocate more money to style icons and influencers. Reports from Forbes and eConsultancy reveal that brands are increasingly looking to involve influencers in their marketing strategies.
So what do magazines have to do in order to stay relevant?
At the American Magazine Media Conference in 2016, the industry was described as a “business in transition”. Ultimately, magazines must move with the generations and keep content relevant based on the reader’s interests. Here are some examples of this with current fashion magazines:
- Glamour Magazine’s new editor-in-chief, Samantha Barry, recently published a radical redesign. In order to “renew the brand’s relevance”, Barry hopes to enhance the history of strong journalism at Glamour by taking on current women’s issues, such as the #MeToo movement and issues on the pay gap.
- In an interview with Business of Fashion, Anna Wintour discussed her strategies at Vogue. She described Vogue’s role as a curator of the changes in culture, politics, and fashion. Amy Odell, writer at Business of Fashion, argues that it is the content that is the most important. In order to tear people away from their phones, it is essential to create “highly addictive content that shapes the conversations people are having online”.
Ultimately, as long as brands are still willing to pay for ad space, fashion magazines will have a form of revenue to publish their curations, regardless of how many readers buy the physical copy. With this source of revenue, magazines still have the capacity to grab the attention of readers by implementing creativity and staying current with relevant events and changes.