Over the last six months, multiple men’s style and fashion publications have folded – Details closing gave the industry pause. Where do we go from here? As publicists, we found traditional men’s outlets dwindling, and with men’s grooming product lines booming, the way to get the word out has drastically changed. As we usher in the new era of men’s press, we have found the following to be true:
Change is Happening, And It’s Not All Bad
Playboy doesn’t focus on nudes anymore and Four Pins is done. But it’s not the end – men’s coverage is simply evolving, and rightfully so. As the nation, specifically purchase-driven millennials, enters into this election year and publishers can readily access data on what is important and how to shape the voice of a media outlet, multiple platforms are embracing change – both socially and technologically speaking. Complex and V-Man were included in the WWD article Men’s Magazine Market in Upheaval as Readers Decline (February 3, 2016) as examples of more inclusive and open-minded coverage models. Editor in Chief Noah Callahan-Bever was quoted in WWD:
I think that the rigid definition of being a men’s product is an anachronism of the past. The way that people are searching out information on the Internet is much more based on interest than gender. We want to create a platform that’s inviting and not alienating anyone.Noah Callahan-Bever, Editor in Chief, Complex magazine
Especially important considering the consumer is not just one type of man (or necessarily a man, really) – purchasers are coming from all backgrounds.
Go Blog or Go Home
It’s not all doom and groom – while many men’s books are shuttering, men’s interests online have been flourishing. Men’s beauty interests coexist effortlessly with lifestyle in blogs such as Ape to Gentleman and In Haute Pursuit; the game changers in the publishing industry readily embrace all genres to cover, becoming journalists, photographers, experts and trendsetters with websites that reflect magazine-level taste and criticism. To put it bluntly, the men’s style and grooming blogs of 2016 are top notch visual feasts, and have staying power (many are 5+ years old and they’re not going anywhere).
Social is (Still) King
Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube – the whole nine yards – are where all beauty products are thriving. Trends catch fire on social and can make or break a brand or idea – and this includes men’s styling gear (everything from brows to manbuns show up first on Instagram and the articles then follow). Organic inclusion in a social post is low overhead/high results while paid social programs can knock brand awareness out of the park. Everything from sampling to YouTube stars (veritable celebrities in their own right, usually young and captivating with dedicated audiences) to inclusion in a subscription box (the best of the boxes blast the partnership in email marketing, hashtags on Twitter, stylized images on Instagram) show fantastic results in website clicks and sales. Developing intensive social programs can help fill the void left by the closing men’s mags, and usually are more effective with direct links to purchase.
Celebrity influencers, especially athletic endorsements and subsequent social programs involving up-and-comers and even top tier names, are incredible resources. Agencies delivering athlete campaigns know how men shop and the influence their clients carry. As always, if a product gets into the right hands… it’s worth its weight in gold. So while men’s style interest magazines may be closing, the opportunity to reach the grooming consumer lives on.