COVID-19 = Budget Cuts = New Digital Magazine at Middlebury College
When COVID-19 hit colleges in March one immediate result was a quest for budget reductions to offset expected revenue losses. Middlebury College was no exception.
And so a decision was made to cancel a regularly scheduled edition of Middlebury’s 96 page quarterly print magazine (files were within days of sending to a printer) and replace it with an enhanced version of a a digital publication. With a circulation of 50,000 this obviously was a major change in how Middlebury kept a strong presence with alumni and many others.
Matt Jennings, editor-in-chief of the magazine, lays out in marvelous detail the thinking that went into adopting a “digital first” communication strategy and the actions that followed in a podcast interview with Volt… “Inside Middlebury Magazine’s Digital Pivot.” Some points and results of special note:
- Decision to add an email newsletter to introduce the magazine and to maintain contact in between magazine publication times. In the interview Matt talks about tone and content for the newsletter and the responses received to date.
- The magazine was sent to everyone in an email database without first asking people to subscribe. People who did not want to receive it could opt-out.
- Response has been quite good, with open rates “frequently” above 50 percent and seldom below 40 percent. Click rates vary from 25 percent to 35 percent.
Matt shares much more in the Volt interview. Much of his advice applies not only to digital magazines but to digital communications in general. Middlebury retains a commitment to restoring a print publication when finances permit. But, Matt notes, a resurrected magazine will no doubt be in a style style that differs from the previous version.
A COVID-19 success…
Call this change from print to digital a COVID-19 success story. In these times that’s a special story to tell.
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See the result of an unexpected change from print to digital publication when you visit the Summer 2020 edition of Middlebury Magazine.
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