Flash Communications

Tales from a student-PR agency at Kent State University

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Magazines succeed – and slip up – across social media platforms

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

Magazine Journalism Major Kelli Fitzpatrick evaluates the social media efforts of top magazines

As a magazine journalism major, I love the world of magazine media. Whether it’s in print, on an iPad or online, I consume magazine content every single day. The method I most frequently use to gobble up celebrity, fashion, food and culture news is social media. I follow many of my favorite publications on Twitter, where I watch tweets roll in by the minute. Today, most magazines have accounts on many platforms, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and Instagram. I’ve looked into my three favorite social media sites to uncover how magazines are using their accounts to promote their brands with style—or are struggling to do so.


Doing it right: @slate, 780,000 followers. Slate, a daily online magazine, seems to have mastered tweeting new original content every few minutes with funny, catchy headlines. “Does Pope Francis support gay civil unions?” and “Reminder: 10 percent of people will believe anything” are just two gems to attract readers to slate.com to read more. @slate also retweets followers who share Slate stories, putting on display the articles that actual readers are enjoying.

Needs some work: @marieclaire, 1.45 million followers. Fashion mag Marie Claire regularly commits a Twitter crime: way too many repeat tweets. I understand tweets roll in so fast that a media account must repost links to keep its content near the top of followers’ feeds. But Marie Claire goes overboard in repeatedly pushing its content. Case in point: the early-morning celebrity news on March 6th was Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s setting a wedding date. @marieclaire posted a link to its news article six times, each with a different paparazzi shot of the notorious couple, between 6:24 and 7:06 a.m. Maybe I’m biased because I am anti-Kardashian, but this incessant coverage was nauseating.


Doing it right: Entertainment Weekly, 1.7 million likes. Entertainment Weekly uses a combination of horizontal photos and links to content and to other Facebook pages to make its posts pop on the Facebook news feed. EW’s albums of “exclusive” photos and videos make visiting this page worth your time.  Regular posts tote exclusive content on EW.com, with heavy emphasis on daily TV and movie news.

Needs some work: Seventeen Magazine, 2.4 million likes. The fashion magazine of my youth struggles to stay relevant on the Facebook news feed, with its first offense being a boring profile picture. Instead of updating its photo to the month’s cover star—as most magazines do—Seventeen uses its plain pink logo, which gets fuzzy in thumbnail form. The page could also do more to liven up its posts. Seventeen doesn’t use nearly enough photos, leading to plain posts with simple callouts such as “How to shop smart online and avoid counterfeit sites.” I know the 17-year-old version of myself wouldn’t be persuaded to click that link, making the post a failure.


Doing it right: Vanity Fair, 50,000 followers. Vanity Fair creates an eclectic, enticing array of 43 boards. With a total of more than 1,300 pins, the magazine presents a smorgasbord of topics: The VF Oscar party, retro photos from the magazine’s 100 years of production and even a “Classy Cats” board of celebrities with their felines. The entertaining mix doesn’t stop there: “Style in the Streets” features street style on celebrities and normal folk alike; “Vanity Table” delivers food pics; and “Office Treats” shows off goodies enjoyed by the editors in their New York City office.

Needs some work: Reader’s Digest, 6,400 followers. With just 11 boards, Reader’s Digest has a good start but needs to step it up to make it in the world of Pinterest. The “Quotable Quotes” and “Fun Food” boards seem to be the most shareable. But outdated boards such as “Christmas Crafts” from 2012 drag down the account because it has so few other boards to explore.

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So, what is that Pinterest website, anyway?l

Trent Chavez

Thank you to guest blogger Trenton Chavez, a junior public relations major, for writing this post about Pinterest. Trent started working at Flash Communications this semester.

THE GIST – Social mediums are constantly popping up everywhere, it seems. Usually, they do not pick up, and Facebook and Twitter quickly stomp them down. Pinterest, the new kid on the block, is attracting attention from social media lovers with its image collection design.

So, what is Pinterest, anyway? Pinterest is a website that contains collaborative “online pinboards.” The new medium allows users with similar interests to attach pictures to these pinboards for others to see. Categories range from art to fashion to recipes to wedding ideas.

So, why has Pinterest received praise, while other mediums quickly fail? Personally, I believe it comes down to people liking to feel they’re contributing to something. Because the pinboards allow users to add personal or inspirational pictures, a sense of contribution is evident.

THE PR SIDE OF THINGS – Being a public relations major, I’m always thinking of things from a communications standpoint. “How can Pinterest be used in a PR aspect?” was the first question that came to my mind when I began writing this post.

For organizations, gaining attention on a website with many images may be a difficult task – the competition of attracting viewers’ eyes; however, with Pinterest picking up momentum, PR professionals need to start thinking creatively.

The statistics of the social medium are impressive. Pinterest is the 60th most-visited website in the United States; Its page visits jumped from 10 million to 17 million last month; And its Alexa rank is 129. Alexa rank is a web ranking system based on visits. What does all this mean, you may ask? It means opportunity.

To be successful, public relations professionals must shape ideas to the target audiences’ interests. Need help generating ideas of how to use Pinterest to highlight your organization? Check out 7 ways to use Pinterest to promote your business on PR Daily.

Part of Pinterest’s success can be attributed to its invite-only signup. By keeping the registration invite-only, the medium is able to keep the user-base contained to target audiences. Exclusivity also makes Pinterest’s users feel special. Success is all about making the audience feel special, right?

Along with the exclusivity, Pinterest’s website used to state, “Pin thoughtfully.”  This statement ties back to the importance of re-pins. Only relevant pins will be on the page of your interest. Bryan Landers of Quora also named Pinterest as a “community-centric” website, which I believe is very fitting.

A social medium wouldn’t be complete without the ability to respond, now would it? Like other social platforms, Pinterest allows users to comment and like pinned items.

IN CLOSING – Like I said before, to be successful, communications teams need to remain current on ways to reach key audiences. Pinterest allows its users to come together as a community and build pinboards. Because of the community-driven atmosphere and ability to select interests, the medium is a great way to target audiences.

Pinterest is gaining momentum fast. It is even picking up some steam in the Flash Communications office. Get to know some of the staff better by checking out our pinboards board

I always find it interesting when a newcomer is able to “make it” in the digital world. New ideas, creative thinking, passion, and a lotta’ luck will take a new online tool far.

Why do you love Pinterest?