5 reasons I just subscribed to a magazine.

Fast Company, May 014. You had me at "Power and Influence".

Fast Company, May 014. You had me at “Power and Influence”.

Last month I saw Chelsea Clinton on the cover of Fast Company magazine, and I wanted it RIGHT THEN. Alas, it was not in stores YET…. so I did something I haven’t done in at least 20 years: subscribed to a print magazine.

Now, I’ve been in advertising and marketing for over 20 years. The last time I actually wrote an ad for a print magazine — I don’t even remember. So much of what I do is digital — so why in the world would I put any stock into print, especially when I can read content RIGHT NOW ONLINE? Here’s what it came down to:

1. I don’t want the distractions of an online environment.

I want to read the content and absorb it, without a window popping up to inform me I have a new email. Without a flashing ad in the bottom corner. Without retargeting campaigns reminding me of what I was shopping for on Amazon last night. Please, just be quiet and let me read!

2. I want the content without anyone else’s influence.

That means no “suggested articles”, no ads related to the content, and no comments or arguments tacked on to the end. Yes, I can avoid reading the comments online but I can’t always block out the lists of related content on the side.

3. I want to turn pages – not wait for them to load. After every paragraph.

Those purveyors of online content want my clicks. It drives up their value, drives up their ad revenue. As a reader, I HATE having to click through and wait for a new page to load after every couple paragraphs. I CAN READ MUCH FASTER THAN THAT. See #1 about distractions.

4. Content that lives in both print and online has to be amazing.

Okay, print magazines. You got me. I know your online content needs to drive traffic — but I suspect if it’s also destined for a medium that gets outdated before the ink dries, you’re making sure it’s relevant and valuable. Otherwise people like me won’t pay to have the hulk of paper in their hands. And that’s what I want: something you’ve invested in, something you already feel is damn worth my time – whether it’s in print or online.*

* Yes, we all know plenty of tabloids have print versions, and some of us might not find that content relevant or valuable. But some people DO think so, and for some of the reasons I’ve listed they’re also buying print.

5. The last reason I subscribed: I can’t wait to read the next issue.

When my first issue of Fast Company arrived, it came IN THE MAIL – like a present! I sat on the couch and read 80% of the content over a few hours. Nothing blipped at me, nothing beeped, no one messaged me. It was me and the magazine, with all my electronic task masters sitting in a separate room far away. THAT is what I want, and I absolutely can’t wait to do it again.

What’s your take? Do you hold any print magazine subscriptions and do you prefer the content in print or online? Which magazines and why?


See the Fast Company cover – and the headline – that caught my eye.


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