One intriguing experiment was announced last week by Bauer Media Group in the UK. It is creating what it calls a ‘community issue,’ some elements of which will be created in conjunction with its Facebook followers. And central to its concept are some very clever ways of using Facebook Live.
Bauer's Grazia team are decamping to Facebook’s headquarters from 13-17 June and inviting readers to help shape and edit the magazine which will be on sale on 21 June.
In keeping with the way that some publishers have used the platform to go behind the scenes, Grazia will give its followers an exclusive view of the magazine's weekly Monday editorial session where the ideas and concepts for the issue are shaped. Readers will also be able to contribute to regular features such as: 10 Hot Stories, Chart of Lust and You the Fashion Jury.
Pictured: Grazia UK's editor, Natasha Pearlman
“We will also be offering them the chance to help edit/curate the clothes for our cover star,” said Natasha Pearlman, editor of Grazia, “then when it comes to the cover itself – helping us decide the image we will use.”
Grazia will also be screening events on Facebook Live including Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA, Facebook, speaking at an event focused on empowering female entrepreneurs and small businesses.
“Facebook connects people with the things they love and Grazia is giving its fans an exciting opportunity to shape their favourite magazine with what they care about most,” said Mendelsohn. “Building its community issue is an incredibly innovative decision by Grazia and will in turn give readers visiting its Facebook page a whole new perspective of what it takes to create an issue. I can’t wait to see how the magazine unfolds.”
Grazia’s editor Pearlman adds that harnessing the magazine's Facebook community to create an issue has been on its agenda for a while.
“It was an idea that came about because we really wanted to bring the Grazia community to life. It felt really exciting to tap into our online community and find a way to deliver a live experience for them – that they could feel part of and actually be part of/take part in. We approached Facebook directly and they were really excited by the idea. Community is so key to Grazia – and this issue will enable our audience to interact not just with us, but with each other (online and in real life, at the series of events we’ll be hosting that week). We have always valued our readers’ input – now is a chance to really deepen that relationship with them and become even more vital to their lives.”
The concept gives the brand a chance to not just create a unique experience for its readers and deliver an innovative magazine, but it also enables them to discover more about the potential of Facebook Live. As Pearlman acknowledges, it is learning curve for both publishers and the platform.
“We will be launching our use of Facebook Live video with this special issue/week. We have been working closely with Facebook on best practices and key times of day to connect with our audience. We want to create a mix of content for our readers that reflects what Grazia is best known for, alongside content they love to consume online.”
Pearlman also thinks that the company might experiment with other platforms in the future. “We’re always looking to be wherever our reader is. At Grazia we aim to create new ways of communicating with our audience so of course would look to work within whichever relevant platforms enable us to do this. The most important thing for us is to create the right experience for the right environment” she explained.
“Facebook is a natural fit for our audience and this project means we can interact with them in a place where they spend a lot of dedicated time. What’s so brilliant about the Facebook Live project is that while a lot of the content will be ‘of the moment’, we still have the opportunity to save and edit what we create, so that our audience can continue to enjoy it across various platforms.”
And Pearlman expects that the community issue won't be the last for Grazia’s owners Bauer. “This is first ever real time community issue for Bauer. This is an exciting chance for Bauer to push and drive innovation within the industry.”
Bauer Media Group is a member of FIPP.
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