Once you’re a print journal and your very important indicators are sturdy, what do you do? Benefit from the trip and thank your fortunate stars that you just’re bucking the secular pattern of print decline? Guess the ranch on dangerous new investments? Or develop synergistic new occasions and retail initiatives?
For Backyard & Gun’s Rebecca Darwin, CEO and co-founder of the journal, it’s choice three, and all initiatives come down to 1 technique: Deepening the connection individuals have with the model.
Backyard & Gun has turn into a dwelling case research for a profitable journal within the digital age, providing wealthy, textured, rigorously centered tales, lush layouts and hanging pictures on Southern tradition—concerning journey, music, meals, upscale looking, literature, dwelling, life-style and extra, and successful three Nationwide Journal Awards amongst many different types of recognition in its 11 years of existence.
Backyard & Gun, Darwin factors out practically each time she’s requested to explain it, will not be a Southern journal. It’s a nationwide journal a few area. And G&G has at all times burdened that it’s not only a print journal—it’s a full-service media model, encompassing print, digital, inventive providers and occasions. In truth, Backyard & Gun does greater than 50 occasions per yr—all the pieces from crafts expositions and clay-shooting competitions, to worldwide journey excursions and a Mint Julep Month for the bourbon distiller Maker’s Mark, by which G&G introduced bartenders from across the South to an occasion in New York.
“I’m at all times fascinated about what else would our readers like?” Darwin says. “What’s a further contact level for the model?” This exercise has ramped up within the final 12 months particularly.
- In April, Backyard & Gun opened its first-ever restaurant, the Backyard & Gun Membership in Atlanta. Situated in The Battery Atlanta (close to the Atlanta Braves’ SunTrust Park), the restaurant seeks to deliver the journal to life.
- The model additionally expanded its on-line and real-world retail experiences by bringing its on-line retail idea Mercantile & Co. beneath the corporate’s current Fieldshop, providing an assortment of merchandise from makers and artisans throughout the South. Fieldshop now contains an e-commerce vacation spot, a brick-and-mortar store in The Dewberry Resort in Charleston, and house within the Backyard & Gun Membership.
- Backyard & Gun‘s Made within the South Weekend simply concluded on the journal’s headquarters in Charleston. It celebrated Southern craftsmanship and makers, with dwell performances, panels, unique procuring experiences and a dinner at the historic Aiken-Rhett Home.
“We nonetheless take into consideration the reader,” Darwin says. “This clearly has grown manner past the reader, however we take a look at what the completely different entry factors are the place individuals intersect with the model. Our complete pondering is about deepening the connection, not a lot about broadening it as deepening.”
As essential as deepening the connection is, the journal has demonstrated some broadening lately as properly. From 2013 to 2017, Backyard & Gun’s whole audited circulation, comprising each paid and verified distribution, elevated by 31.8%, to 396,609. Its whole paid circulation grew by practically 100,000, to 342,656. Common newsstand gross sales elevated as properly, from 34,114 to 42,207.
Promoting has been tougher, with print shaping up as barely lower than flat for 2018 (Darwin attributes this to the sturdy 10th anniversary subject final yr, saying the model shall be up barely from 2016).
Like most print magazines, digital is a small piece of the promoting combine. “We introduced on extra individuals to work on digital and social,” Darwin says. “12 months to this point, we’re up about 35 p.c over final yr. It’s nonetheless a reasonably small piece however you need to concentrate on it.” Not surprisingly, a variety of the digital promoting is from branded content material—newsletters, agency-oriented advertising and marketing providers and comparable work.
“We’re having to be inventive like everybody else to find new methods to pores and skin a cat, however we’re a really, very wholesome journal and a wholesome firm at this level,” Darwin says. “In case you give individuals one thing that they wish to learn, then I undoubtedly don’t see the tip of magazines in sight. In case you give them one thing value taking their consideration off all of the noise on the market, then they are going to.”