Harder, better, faster, stronger – the rise of online magazines

December 1, 2015 |

There’s this new thing on the Internet called The Pool, and it has stolen my heart.

Gone are the days when teenagers wait with baited breath to buy the latest copy of ‘insert fashion monthly here’. We no longer solely rely on advertorial wishlists to dictate our monthly spend. There are bedside bloggers, armchair poets, and ordinary people with big ambition and loud opinions.

The Pool seems to recognise that the discerning reader of 2015 doesn’t want a hefty tome overspilling with designer handbags far out of our realistic price range. We want something we can dip in and out of on the train. Something bitesize, for our lunch breaks, and that we can share with our friends online when we’re suitably in agreement (or outrage).

We have seen The Debrief become the go-to place for young, on the knuckle social commentary. We have seen Standard Issue renounce celebrity gossip for a largely female-oriented collection of real life stories. We have seen Tavi, US teen blogger extraordinaire, successfully launch Rookie, championing a defiant insistence on self-expression and originality. The list goes on.

It’s true, The Pool has a headstart on many of the collaborative spaces thanks to its enviable panel of journalists who are already acclaimed writers for other publications. But, it’s no less important to keep an eye on new ways to share opinion, products and news.

We see the rise in online journalism in parallel with print counterparts falling by the wayside. This year, Company bravely dropped its monthly paper copy for a wholly online version. And you will scarcely find a national consumer title that doesn’t have a dedicated online editorial team.

As a PR consultant, we are mindful of these changes, and while not forgetting the importance of print copy, looking for new media is absolutely essential. After all, if the readers are moving on too, we need to know that, as it happens.

I’m excited for this shift. ‘Magazines’ like The Pool have spent considerable time identifying its perfect target audience, and for us, with clients raring to benefit from a niche readership – it could be ideal. Of course, it makes our jobs harder, as opinion is generated more quickly, and with more of a punch. But for an agency like Tank – and I’ve soon realised that ‘PR with punch’ is something of an understatement – it’s an opportunity.

It’s the chance to be part of something exciting, intelligent and pioneering. These curators of content are completely comfortable with who they are and what they are saying. They’re not afraid to buck the trend and contradict the norm. We can all skim read a pithy ‘how to get a beach body’ column, but to question ‘why should I aim for that anyway?’ every day, on the hour, in an articulate, intelligent, gutsy way, is better.

We read different papers for a variety of reasons. To find out more about something, to stay updated, to be intentionally offended. But I read to feel a part of something, and if journalism is heading more towards media like The Pool, I’m more than happy to jump in.