Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

People Magazine's Newest Engagement Play Is Texting Readers Directly Digital Editor Zoe Ruderman on Why the Brand Is the First to Partner with Celeb Texting Startup Community

Magazine article Folio: the Magazine for Magazine Management

People Magazine's Newest Engagement Play Is Texting Readers Directly Digital Editor Zoe Ruderman on Why the Brand Is the First to Partner with Celeb Texting Startup Community

Article excerpt

February 4, 2020

You up? It's People.

Starting Sunday, People magazine says it will be offering free, exclusive Oscars red carpet and backstage content to users who text 212-479-1704 and sign up by providing their name and phone number. The project is part of a partnership with Community, a messaging platform that has attracted celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Paul McCartney.

People says it's the first media brand to sign on with Community, which launched last July and doesn't carry any advertising. Instead, it's monetized by its celebrities, called "Leaders," who pay a fee to use the platform as a means of connecting with fans, although the exact nature of People's deal is unclear.

The magazine says it intends to continue its partnership with Community beyond the Oscars, providing users with news and insider content throughout the year, especially around other tentpole events and franchises, like "Sexiest Man Alive."

In the age of TikTok and Alexa, when digital strategy for mass-market media brands has essentially become an unending quest to meet smartphone users exactly where they are at exactly the right time, good old-fashioned SMS seems almost quaint. But People believes that texting offers several advantages.

For one, the onboarding process is quick, relatively easy and doesn't require users to download an app--everybody texts. More importantly, however, texting is inherently interactive, as opposed to the one-way nature of push notifications or Apple News alerts.

"It's much more conversational," People digital editor Zoe Ruderman tells Folio:. …

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