How Tag Enhances Magazine Content and Continuity

Caletha Crawford
Tuesday, Nov 15, 2011 at 11:00 AM

As a former magazine editor, I’m very familiar with the appeal and limitations of print media, especially in today’s digital world. Before I even took the plunge into publishing, I always loved magazines in particular. Even now that I get most of my news and entertainment online, it still feels like a treat to sit down with one of my favorite publications. But having been on the inside, I know the pressures these titles face as they try to remain relevant, become interactive and maintain profits. In an attempt to turn the page, many magazines are finding solutions to these dilemmas by integrate multiple platforms. And Microsoft Tag can play a key role by directing readers to online content.

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Tag allows editors to provide:

Expanded editorial coverage. Each month, magazines are chockfull of educational and entertaining information but ultimately, there are a limited number of pages in each edition. With Tag, mags can link readers to microsites filled with supplemental content. For instance, a recent issue of Yoga Journal showcased a handful of new poses and stretched its coverage to include additional positions on a page accessible through Tag. Similarly, Sports Illustrated heated up this year’s swimsuit issue with behind-the-scene videos from the photo shoot plus other fun bonus editorial.

Contests galore. While more articles and pictures are good, additional sweepstakes and giveaways are even better. Shape magazine recently integrated a Tag into an article about Bobbi Brown cosmetics that allowed readers to enter to win loot from the company. Not only were make-up enthusiasts able to sign up instantly, but it’s likely the magazine received an overwhelming response. When Allure embraced Tag for its annual giveaway issue, the pub saw a 38% increase in the number of entrants vs. the number of beauty fans who signed up to win via the magazine’s website the previous year.

Shoppable content. Long before you could click and ship a new pair of shoes, glossies have been in the business of selling product with carefully curated shoots and enticing settings (Think Lucky.). And now, ecommerce sites are seeing the value in presenting goods in an editorial format (Think Net a Porter’s weekly magalog). So naturally the latest trend is collabos between the two. For instance, Details features advertorials of Mr. Porter products while GQ curates Park & Bond products on its site and promotes them in its pages. Just think how much faster those bespoke suits and motorcycle jackets would sell if either of these pubs’ campaigns incorporated Tags that linked directly to the ecommerce product page.

Engagement. In a world where blogs are updated multiple times a day and Twitter feeds scroll continuously, it’s odd that some print vehicles only come out once a month. As consumers, we’re spoiled. We want fresh content all the time. And Tag can help editors deliver. For instance, women’s service magazines are known for offering 30-day plans to improve every aspect of our lives. With Tag, readers could link to online content that updates regularly as they work to lose those pounds, plan that wedding or track their baby’s development. Tag could also deliver an audience to blog content that relates to that month’s stories, thus building a sense of community and keeping readers engaged between issues.

What are some ways you’ve seen Tags used in your favorite magazines? Let us know with your comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

Caletha Crawford is a New York-based children’s apparel consultant and part-time faculty member at Parsons The New School for Design. She has a unique perspective on the concepts, designs and companies that resonate with retailers and consumers.


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