Sacha Bonsor, Editorial Director at Boat International Media
Boat International has a very loyal readership. What’s your magic recipe?
“Ever since I started out in journalism, 20 years ago, people talked about ‘niche publishing’ being the area that will last. I never understood fully what that meant because, until three years ago, I always worked for mass market brands such as The Times, The Mail and Harper’s Bazaar. But since joining Boat, I now see what they meant! When you have an audience who meet around a singular passion – boats, cars, running, cooking, whatever – you have an insatiable appetite for very particular information and authoritative curation. That’s why our readers come back for more.”
How do you build and maintain the relationship with your readers?
“We stay in regular contact, through our events and digital platforms, to make sure that we are genuinely providing what they want and need. We try to constantly bring them new ideas and fresh content to keep them engaged. This year, for example, we are launching a new event called Ocean Talks in London, which is a sort of ted Talks meets Ocean Summit, where we connect the super yachting world with the marine conservation world. This is because we are seeing the environment become of increasing interest amongst our audience, and we want to empower those who care with knowledge and contacts, to encourage activism in this arena.”
Did you make any educational mistakes when trying out new channels?
“Loads! One of the big ones for us was when we relaunched our website. We have a channel called Destinations, which focuses on travel locations, travel guides, etc. We had assumed that because our brand has travel at its heart, this would be an area worth investing in. What we had underestimated was how crowded the travel market is, even at the very high end, and we soon found it was very hard to compete in it without significant investment. As with all things, it is a case of priorities. Everything we do has to revolve around yachts, and the lifestyle that comes with them, but we need to make sure we are investing in areas where we can beat the competition. So although Destinations remains a part of our offering, we reshaped it so that it is an added resource, rather than a market leader.”
Hanna Nova Beatrice, Editor-in-chief, Residence Magazine
How do you create a successful magazine today, and how has the process changed?
“The first thing is to stop thinking about a mag-azine and start thinking about a brand with a host of new platforms such as a website, podcasts, social media, ambassadors and influencers. Six years ago, Residence didn’t even have a website. Today, we work across a broad front and are seen in many different contexts, from social media to Stockholm Furniture Fair to our exclusive awards gala, Residence Stora Formpris. Print remains a fantastic way to build a brand, but it’s just the beginning. The magazine Kinfolk is a great example. They have a side-brand in the form of Ouur and stores in Asia, they make customer magazines and so on. Apartamento works in a similar way and uses the printed product as a calling card for furthercollaboration.”
How have you approached your own investment in the various platforms?
“We still place the greatest emphasis on print, because that is the medium our target group likes. It is also the best showcase for our material. Our usp is the high-quality material, we photograph and write everything ourselves, and have a unique way of presenting homes and interiors. We are therefore cautious about reining in the budget for print too much. Our bookazine* My Residence, which has international distribution, actually raises the quality of the format. It allows us to package previously published material in book form, reach more readers worldwide, become more attractive to advertisers and generally strengthen our brand as a quality supplier. Digitally, we use Instagram most, as we are able to work with the same visual language there as we do in print.”
What do you do to make yourselves part of your target group’s identity?
“Above all, we make sure we maintain an authoritative tone and are seen in the right context. We rep-resent the lifestyle our target group either aspires to or already enjoys. The annual awards gala Residence Stora Formpris is a prime example. It is an exclusive event that makes an international splash, because the guests are the cream of the industry.”