Beyond the Page: How to make events work for your title
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Events are becoming ever more important as a revenue source for print and digital titles, but how do you make them work and ensure you bring something new to a crowded events space? We ask three editors who have done exactly that to share their expertise.
Susy Smith – Group Editorial Director, Country Living, House Beautiful, Elle Decoration
The first Country Living Fair took place over 30 years ago at the Business Design Centre in Islington. A green-oak cabin was erected on the green outside the exhibition hall, pigs were herded across the zebra crossing on Upper Street as a publicity stunt and Country Living readers, who’d travelled from all four corners of the British Isles to be there, queued around the block for hours to get in.
Over three decades on and there are now 14 Country Living Fairs and Pavilions. These are a series of 14 nationwide events that ‘bring the pages of the magazine to life’. They feature hundreds of craftspeople, makers and producers from all over Britain and attract 1.3m visitors annually.
William Drew – Group Editor, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants and The World’s 50 Best Bars
In 2002, a small UK trade magazine had a feature idea: to list the 50 best restaurants in the world, according to a loose international poll carried out by the editorial team. In 2003, they put on an awards event to celebrate the second edition of the list. Fifteen years later, The World’s 50 Best Restaurants has become the most influential ranking in global gastronomy.
Now a brand in its own right (that dwarfs its original parent magazine), it has spawned offshoots including Asia’s
50 Best Restaurants, Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants, The World’s 50 Best Bars, event series #50BestTalks and chef-travel initiative 50 Best Explores. The flagship event (now, effectively, a week-long festival) attracts 1200 guests, including around 250 media from around the globe, generating thousands of articles each year and over£135million in AVE, plus millions in sponsorship revenue.
50 Best, as it’s now known, also produces reams of content, delivered primarily via its digital and social channels - from video strands to long-form articles, themes Insta posts to multi-platform branded content series.
Maria Pieri – Editorial Director, National Geographic Traveller (UK)
The National Geographic Traveller (UK) magazine has been hosting reader events for over two years, during which we have seen an increase in demand for live events from our readers. Taking that on board, the first-ever National Geographic Traveller Festival was created — an immersive day of travel writing and photography masterclasses, live experiences and inspirational speakers bringing the magazine — and the brand — to life.
From cooking demonstrations, presented by international chefs promoting their destinations; to ‘Travel Geeks’ panel sessions where experts shared their stories, tips and advice on topics such as green travel and how to be an explorer. The popular photography and travel writing masterclasses were presented by the National Geographic Traveller (UK) team, while the main stage welcomed the likes of Benedict Allen, Paul Rose and Julia Bradbury. There were also sell-out yoga and mindfulness classes, bushcraft and fire lighting, flamenco dance, taekwondo, and Japanese drumming. Over 700 attendees enjoyed the inaugural National Geographic Traveller Festival, on the 17 September, held at The Brewery in Central London with tickets including entry to all sessions, refreshments and lunch. It proved to be a hugely creative and successful brand extension – and a commercial success!