I’ve posted a number of times this year about how, in an effort to engage readers and meet the needs of advertisers, some magazines are using incentives to drive their readers to action—specifically to text. As a reward for this behavior, readers receive special offers, the chance to enter sweepstakes or advance notice on hot products.
In a new twist on this concept, SmartMoney’s Sept. 16 issue will drive readers to text, but with a different motivation. Instead of tempting readers with the lure of special samples or deals, the magazine will send readers premium content in exchange for their texts. Within its pullout section on retirement, SmartMoney will include a call-out box with a texting code and the phrase “retire.” Once readers send in their text messages, they will receive a PDF article about retirement.
Obviously this advertising package is appealing to its sponsor, Genworth Financial, because the concept integrates different media and is measurable. And it allows Genworth to position themselves as a go-to resource for SmartMoney readers when it comes to retirement. While I admit the integration of media is cool, the element of this program that I find most intriguing is the promised content. Will readers send in texts? Yes, if they think the content will be valuable, but readers are savvy: They won’t respond to the call to action if it looks or sounds like advertising.
We at Hammock consider ourselves reader advocates, so we’re always cognizant of reader behavior in the media we create. If an advertiser, association or organization creates content for their audience that is compelling rather than self-serving, and if it’s written, designed and distributed with their target audience’s needs in mind, it’s much more likely to be effective, engaging and deliver ROI.