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Online Media opinion

Why retrenched journalists are jumping ship to website copywriting services

It's official: the May issue of FHM - on shelves now - is the last issue of the South African edition of the magazine we're ever going to see. Yep, FHM South Africa has officially closed its doors.
Even though FHM is - or, was - a household name in the country, it shouldn't come as a surprise that the publication has been forced to shut down. While the specific reasons for the magazine's closure haven't been made public, increasingly tech-savvy readerships and a growing preference for online content have translated into flagging circulation numbers for magazines the world over.

As a result, many local and international print publications are under serious financial pressure. For those titles that haven't already folded, the future is looking uncertain.


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Modern consumers are consuming less print media and more online media

Magazines and newspapers cost money. It's difficult to justify shelling out for a print publication when you have access to content of an equally high standard online for free. In addition, once read, a magazine instantly becomes a piece of clutter and something you have to throw away.

Getting your content fix online, without having to even leave your desk or couch, is much less of a hassle - and saves a few trees to boot. The fact is that consumers today simply aren't buying as many magazines or newspapers as they used to.

Just because consumers aren't buying magazines doesn't mean that they aren't reading

Modern consumers aren't anti-content by any means; they just prefer to consume content in a digital format. This trend extends to books, too. The incredible popularity of e-readers, like the Amazon Kindle, suggests that readers don't want to go to bookshops to buy print editions anymore. Instead, they're embracing the convenience of digital.

And why wouldn't they? After all, eBooks can be downloaded instantly and digital reading allows for a more interactive reading experience, with online dictionaries and a wealth of additional information just a screen tap away.

Retrenched journalists have read the writing on the wall and are turning their hand to website copywriting services instead

With print magazines and newspapers closing down left, right and centre, many highly skilled, talented journalists are finding themselves without a job. Fortunately, the brand publishing industry is growing at a breakneck pace, and many retrenched journalists are turning their hand to website copywriting services as a result.

There's a reason why skilled journalists are just what the brand publishing game in South Africa is looking for right now. To be clear, by 'website copywriting services' we don't just mean writing clever taglines or snappy copy for product pages.

While those website copywriting services are still essential, the rise of brands as publishers means that brands now need to be producing content that engages, educates and entertains their target market. 'Hard sell' content that openly urges consumers to 'buy this now' just doesn't cut it anymore.

Forward-thinking brands + great writers = brilliant online content

So, what does all of this mean for the consumer? In a nutshell, it means that we can look forward to even more excellent content being freely available online. As more and more South African brands cotton on to the fact that consumers are attracted by educational, top-notch content, more and more highly skilled writers and ex-journalists are likely to get involved in the brand publishing game.

The rapid spread of the content marketing ideology means that consumers can look forward to less irrelevant, interruptive advertising and more interesting, quality content.
    
 

About Graeme Wilson

Graeme has been in the software and telecommunications industry for more than a decade, in various roles concentrating in sales and business development - notably at MTN Business, Verizon and SEACOM. His successful track record of delivering growth and innovation in close alignment with customers' business requirements has earned him a reputation as results-orientated professional. At MPULL, Graeme is in charge of client service, partner relations and sales.
Lucinda Jordaan
I'm not so sure that this is solely due to readers preferring digital content; I've done a pretty comprehensive survey amongst students (yep, the younger generation!) which showed a surprising 50/50 split between digital and print publications in terms of content preference. But it's also become quite clear that the savvy, sustainable mags continue to build on and grow brand awareness. It seems fearful publishers, or those who are growing their digital landscape aren't putting any efforts into marketing or growing their brand, and instead of pushing that brand at the first sign of flagging readership, they're wringing their hands and lamenting the rise and rise of digital. When have you last seen an ad for a magazine that was not in that same publication? TV didn't kill radio...
Posted on 27 May 2014 14:08
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