'Promiscuous' readers meaningless to bottom line, says Monocle editor

'Promiscuous' readers meaningless to bottom line, says Monocle editor

Andrew Tuck, editor of global affairs and lifestyle magazine Monocle, has said that “promiscuous" readers are irrelevant to the company's bottom line, which instead is bolstered by pursuing meaningful relationships with readers.

Speaking at The Bookseller’s Marketing and Publicity conference held at Milton Court in London on Tuesday (26th June), Tuck discussed how his magazine reaches readers in an authentic and meaningful way by using its own platforms and not social media.

“We do no social media whatsoever, we don’t work with Google or Facebook", he said. "Our ambition is to never give away anything for free. Journalism is a valuable product that should be paid for."

He said that as a small media player, Monocle is "not concerned about noise".

"We don't care about millions of people coming to our website unless they’re going to buy the magazine or spend money with us. We've deliberately avoided relationships [with Google, Facebook, social media channels] and we have more subscribers than we've had before.

“Having 100,000 people come to our website overnight is meaningless if those people are gone the next morning. [People who discover us via one-off links on social media sites] are the most promiscuous readers out there. We have to develop relationships with people so they come to us the day after, the week after. Promiscious readers don't deliver anything to our bottom line."

Instead of trying to reach people digitally, Tuck says that the magazine holds numerous conferences and events throughout the year, and these are the perfect environment for building "long and deep relationships" with readers. The company also hosts short-term seasonal events like pop-ups in stores.

“We're out there and marketing ourselves, but we're not doing it through people’s other platforms, we're doing it through our own,” said Tuck.

He also stressed the importance of being dynamic, flexible and not following the crowd.

“One scary thing about the world of print media is feeling that there’s only one solution – that we all must rush in same direction. But at Monocle we tried to be sceptical, and step out of mainstream when needed", he said.

Discussing setting up the magazine 12 years ago, Tuck said at that time there was already a tendency to produce books and magazines cheaper and cheaper, but that the founders of Monocle were "determined" to invest in paper and to get photographers to shoot on film, not digital.

"We wanted to produce a product that is a celebration of journalism and also the craft of printing", he said.

The Bookseller's Marketing & Publicity Conference is running all day and will also hear from Anna Chapman, senior strategist at Contagious, Valerie Brandes, founder of Jacaranda Books, Leena Norrington, social media producer at Vintage Books, and many more. For the full programme, see here.