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Don’t Tell Readers They Are Too Fat

Here is advice from Ad Age article entitled: Myth-busters: Four Magazines Point the Way to Gens X and Y

Historically, magazines, in the words of Domino Editor Deborah Needleman, employed a didactic approach. “They brought the product to the readers from on high: ‘We the editors are going to let you in, let you breathe our rarified air.’ Their model tried to be aspirational but also made readers feel ‘I’m too fat, I’m too poor, I’m too uncool.’ “

She’s right, and she could easily level the same charges against many newspaper editors, commercial copywriters and so on. Digital isn’t better because it’s digital, but what it has done well is spoken to younger generations in their direct, honest language, not in the patronizing journalese of some editors or the bullshit voice of the ’80s adman — you know, the “no dropped calls,” “makes you look 10 years younger,” “this bank really cares about you” crap. These magazines got that. “We’re in the trenches because we are the reader,” Needleman adds.

Okay, I know, Domino is a shopping magazine, but the idea is to work with the users, the audience, the citizen content producers rather than telling them what they need or that they don’t measure up to some super model.

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