What does Rebecca Wesson Darwin, publisher of Garden & Gun, think about her decision to launch a fledgling title in 2007?
“In hindsight, I think one would not launch a magazine at that time if they’d known what was ahead. But it turned out to be a good thing for us. It made us come through stronger,” Darwin told Michael Rondon of Folio:.
She continues, “Garden & Gun has been a classic magazine from the beginning. It’s full of incredible writing, beautiful photography and the best paper one could imagine—during those lean times, it was challenging to keep those elements alive and not let our quality slip.
“We’ve also been attuned to the trends and people’s changing consumption patterns of media right from the beginning. We set out with a pretty strong Web strategy, and found a lot of success with our email newsletters which drive a lot of traffic. Again though, our newsletters are written with the same quality and the same amount of thought into them as anything that goes into our magazine.”
And they didn’t rush in to a digital edition, she notes.
“We sat back and watched as other people figured out what was working because we weren’t in a position to just throw money at something,” Darwin explains, noting that this measured approach has paid off well for them. “We’ve been nominated in the National Magazine Awards for best digital edition in the last two years since we launched it.”
In true Southern style, they maintained their quality throughout the rough times, never compromising by using a cheaper paper or upping the ad-to-editorial ratio…all things that would harm the brand promise they were building.
“We actually had to skip an issue,” Darwin notes. “When magazines were closing left and right, I decided that I’d rather take a breath and come back than just totally disappear. So I wrote a letter to our readers explaining why we had to do it and I couldn’t believe the outpouring of support we received.”
Making good on your brand promise, in good times and bad, is an authentic way to build a solid and growing title.
“A little Southern charm can go a long way too,” Darwin quips. We like her style.