By Elise Czajkowski • LMA contributor
Parade Media, the publisher of Parade magazine, has provided premium supplemental content to newspapers across the U.S. for 80 years. Now, the organization is looking to boost its offerings to help local newspapers thrive in the modern media landscape.
Since publishing its first issue on May 31, 1941, Parade magazine has grown its distribution to more than 900 newspapers nationwide. Parade Media also offers food-based publication Relish and health and wellness supplement Spry Living.
In recent years, Parade Media has expanded its products and services beyond the printed magazines to help partners drive revenue and attract readers. Partners can take advantage of electronic replica editions, as well as download marketing materials to promote upcoming issues to readers. It has also offered additional content in a variety of formats.
But as the needs of local media outlets have continued to change, the company has recognized that its own products and offerings need to evolve as well. “We see an opportunity to revitalize the way we support the newspaper industry and local media, and serve them in a broader way,” said Monique Kakar, SVP/Chief Marketing Officer at Parade. “We want to make sure that the products and services we provide meet the needs of a wider range of our partners.”
To that end, the Parade Media leadership team is embarking on a “listening tour” to connect directly with newspaper media. Parade is launching a series of roundtables and focus groups in June with partners and non-partners to hear about the industry’s current challenges, and to gather information that will help the company develop more sustainable solutions and provide more value.
Lisa Delaney, Parade Media’s SVP/Chief Content Officer, said they’re currently in fact-finding mode. They’re interested in exploring areas such as research products, national marketing campaigns, support for newspaper media’s philanthropic efforts, and ways to assist with existing initiatives at newspapers.
“We’re really thinking beyond content,” said Delaney. “We want feedback from the partners, without assumptions about what we’ve provided in the past, because we really want to tap into solutions that will be most effective now.”
“Every partner we asked to be part of our first roundtable jumped on it immediately,” said Kevin Craig, Parade Media’s SVP/Director of Newspaper Relations. “The excitement level is there. We are looking forward to having productive conversations that we can use to inform our new strategy.”
In addition to the scheduled June round table and focus group, all current Parade partners – and non-partners alike — will have opportunities to share feedback. “Different size papers might have different issues and needs,” said Kakar. “So we don’t want this to be exclusive at all. This is just a way of starting the conversation.”
The team is hoping finalize the company’s new strategy by the end of 2021, and begin implementing specific programs early next year.
This new initiative is part of the brand’s broader mission of Celebrating America. This past year, as the pandemic swept across the country, many realized anew the value of local news.
“Local media, including local newspaper media, is the foundation of the individual communities that make up our country,” said Delaney. “They tell the stories, they spotlight heroes. They act as a change agent when wrongs need to be righted. Local media really is at the heart of our democracy, so anything we do to support them directly aligns with our mission.”
Moving forward, Parade hopes to continue to work as a partner for newspapers as they evolve and adapt.
“I keep thinking about what we’re going to look like when we get older,” said Craig. “We’re 80 years old this year, but we’ve got to skate to the puck and really open our ears and listen to what our partners might need moving forward.”
If you would like to participate in a future roundtable or have feedback you’d like to share, please contact the Parade Media team at ListeningTour@parade.com