She’s been in the spotlight for years, but recently Meghan, Duchess of Sussex became the one setting the media agenda. The actress-turned-Royal-Family-member guest edited Vogue’s September issue, and it didn’t take long for the magazine to fly off the shelves. Not only that, some people are selling it for up to five times the price they paid, as it’s set to become one of the publication’s most historical issues. There’s a lesson to be learnt from the hype: putting well-known faces in control of editorial content can do wonders for newspaper and magazine sales and audience engagement. That goes for any publication.
Regular newspaper and magazine columns written by celebrities have helped fill the pages for years, and nobody can deny its success. Take Russell Brand’s articles in The Guardian. Over the years the TV personality has used his column to express opinions, including controversial topics like drug legalisation. They have resulted in countless views from readers, as well as hundreds of comments and social media shares. You can understand why. A personal column gives us something that news doesn’t: an opinion. It’s human nature to hear what other people have to say about a particular subject before making up our own mind on whether we agree. And when it’s in the words of a famous face, we’re only more drawn to it.
When it comes to trade press, the power of personal opinion and insight is just as strong. A CEO or MD has a wealth of sector knowledge, from challenges to future trends. To spark the interest of readers, a B2B publication must include content with an in-depth understanding of issues the sector is facing today. That’s why trade publications that include opinion articles, as well as features that include quotes from industry figures, engage well with target audiences. B2B news tells readers what’s happening in their sector, while opinion articles and features give an insight from those at the coalface.
It’s not just the media that should consider the power of opinion. No business should embark on a PR and marketing plan without considering creating opinion articles that they can pitch the media. It’s an effective way of engaging with key audiences, showing their level of understanding of current issues, and potentially garnering leads. Every business leader has something to say about some hot industry topics, and getting those views into the media will be a marketing boost.
Vogue has confirmed that there’s great potential in journalists allowing others to provide an input into editorial. Both the media and businesses should press ahead with reaping the benefits these opportunities provide. It’s not just famous duchesses who audiences are keen to read the words of.
Alex Brown enjoys being one of the Skout blog’s most regular contributors.