5 Innovative Ways That These Digital-First Brands Are Investing in Print

High-tech companies like Airbnb, Bumble, and Facebook are finding new ways to engage their audience via a medium that may surprise you: print.

We all know and enjoy the advantages of digital marketing. Quick editing. Detailed targeting. Instantaneous deployment. Fast feedback. So why are some of the brightest companies in tech investing in print publications? It’s not just the travel and hospitality industries creating their own custom magazines, anymore – and we’re not just saying that because we’ve been in the custom magazine publishing world for years. See for yourself:

Bumble – Bumble Mag

Bumble, the dating app that encourages women to make the first move, recently partnered with Hearst to launch Bumble Mag, a lifestyle magazine for women. The sections of the magazine correspond to the sections of the app, including dating, friends, and careers. Bumble’s ambitions have outgrown the confines of an app, and the magazine serves as a channel that makes it easier to build a real-world connection with their customers. One of the most interesting parts of Bumble Mag: how it’s distributed. They have 3,000 brand ambassadors that will roll them out, but users can also request delivery of one in-app. How’s that for integration?

Airbnb – Airbnb Magazine

We’ve touched on the brilliance of Airbnb’s content strategy before, and a pillar of that is the Hearst-produced Airbnb Magazine, which provides a window into an eclectic mix of destinations all over the world. Distributed via direct mail to top hosts and guests (think of it as their equivalent to in-room magazines) as well as in newsstands, bookstores and airports – and now, online – Airbnb Magazine aims to be in the right place at the right time. Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky told the Wall Street Journal that print intrigued him because “It isn’t ephemeral, as opposed to content on a feed that expires.” His team uses data to help steer the editorial direction of the magazine, a strategy that any hospitality business with a content marketing presence could emulate.

Casper Sleep – Wooly Magazine

Mattress company Casper took a more premium approach when they partnered with McSweeney’s to produce Wooly (the name aims to evoke feelings of comfort, as in wool socks) and kicked things off with a 96-page print debut, charging a hefty $12 per copy. The magazine is filled with essays and stories about “comfort, wellness, and modern life,” and, appropriately for a mattress company, has irreverent sections like “sloth.” While there is a web presence too, the bulky print version put the publication on the map, and gave it a more durable, we’re-here-to-stay feel that some of the other content producers in the industry don’t have.

Away – Here Magazine

If you’re not familiar with Away by name, you’ve probably at least seen their luggage in the airport or on Instagram. Print is in the company’s DNA: to help fund early operations when they were pre-product, Away co-founder Jen Rubio had the idea for “The Places We Return To,” a hardcover book filled with 40 interviews with creatives – artists, writers, photographers – on topics like food and fashion. The book was a hit, and quickly sold out, which perhaps helped lay the foundation for Here Magazine. Aimed to inspire wanderlust in their young audience, the magazine features cultural reporting, travel journals, photo essays, interviews, and city guides.

Facebook – Grow

Last summer, Facebook launched Grow, a quarterly print magazine, as part of their marketing efforts with business leaders in the United Kingdom. There are Grow articles available online, but print has been framed as an exclusive channel and “available to those on a special mailing list,” according to CNN. Grow spotlights businesses and business people, with the subtext being that Facebook wants Grow readers to continue investing in Facebook ads.



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