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Successful Farming Celebrates a Redesign

Successful Farming magazine is celebrating its 107th anniversary by sporting a completely re-designed format beginning with its August 2009 issue.

“Media consumption habits have changed dramatically in recent years.  We know that magazines are the most preferred information source for farmers but we also recognize that how they consume magazines is changing.  With increased competition for their time and attention; and with dozens more media choices than just a few years ago, it is critical that we adapt and fit what the farmer wants.  This re-design as an investment back into our product to ensure that our advertising customers get the most of their investment. , says Successful Farming Publisher Scott Mortimer. “It is going to significantly raise the bar for magazine design and layout in ag publishing”.

What is changing?

The first thing readers will notice is our cover.  Covers “need to stop the reader in their tracks,” Loren Kruse Editor in Chief says. “Our cover shots will be designed with a specific call to actions that have tremendous stopping power.  Our covers are  designed to get readers inside the magazine, and to make it easy for them to find information.  They will include both with eye stopping graphics, photography and cover blurbs with page numbers.”

In addition, the design includes impactful visuals to draw readers into articles. The visuals include bullet points, quote call outs, numbered lists, cutlines and article summaries at a glance.  All designed with knowing that farmers are extremely busy and they want to get information quickly.  This re-design will give readers multiple entry points into articles.  We will provide quick access to the critical information through the use of charts of summaries that give the reader and opportunity to either skim the facts or read the entire column or story.

We will use “links” on the front page of each editorial well informing the reader of additional stories that may interest them, thereby increasing the visibility of additional editorial.

The editorial content formula for Successful Farming will remain the same but will sport the addition of three new editorial features

  • "Managing Your Farm” leads off the heart of the magazine and includes all of the farm business and production articles.
  • "Business Partners”— This new page will focus on other business partners in a farm operation.  As these farming enterprises have gotten larger and more diversified it is critical that SF address the role that farm wives and business partners have in the operations.
  • "Healthy Manager”— Managing health issues is another key aspect of farm life and this page will expand on those issues pioneered by SF’s Rural Health initiatives.

Publishing in a Web World

Although the organization has had a print product for over a century, it has also embraced nearly all forms of electronic communication including its Agriculture Online website, Twitter feeds, blogs, Successful Farming radio, Successful Farming TV Machinery Show as well as events such as its Crop Tech Tour and “Farmers for the Future” social networks and conferences. 

 “Our research shows that print is the biggest driver for readers to take action than any other media. For example, 25% of farmers say they have visited a website after viewing an ad in the magazine.”

He also points out other benefits of the print media including it is portable and requires no power, interface or cost such as a computer or handheld device. So, it can go with a farmer when they are traveling, in their favorite chair and in the tractor cab.

“Print offers the one thing the web cannot do well,” Mortimer says, “in-depth reporting with accompanying images on the same page in one cohesive package. There is no linking back and forth and fragmented stories across multiple pages with excessive distractions.”

“What this means for our marketing partners is that their advertising will work harder and be more effective.” says Mortimer. Providing the most effective communication vehicles its advertisers is at the very core of the Successful Farming operating philosophy.   “If it is right for our reader, it is right for the advertiser.”  

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