It’s because of you we do what we do

By Jeff Baker

There’s one question that almost always comes up when you meet new people: What do you do? 

One of my answers is that I’m editor and contributor for Prairie Manufacturer Magazine, a fact that both stands up to scrutiny and invites follow-on questions that commonly include ‘Is it a digital magazine or print-and-digital?’.

When I tell them that we’re a print-primary publication, the first reaction is often something between surprise, confusion, and nostalgia. 

I chuckle every time I see the expression on the person’s face or hear that little pause on the phone as their head gets around the information.

Oldie, but a goodie

We’re print-primary because there’s a certain something about print. It’s old technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s not practical or valuable. It’s the best way to lend credibility and permanence to the stories of Prairie manufacturing.

Too easily, one can delete an e-edition or email, but almost all of us have a stack of magazines in our homes or offices that we just can’t bear to toss. In fact, industry experts are calling magazines the last form of non-disposable content; there’s timeliness and timelessness to the stories and how they’re told.

Putting ink to paper, assembling the magazine, and putting it in the mail to end up in our readers’ hands is our way of connecting. Throughout this pandemic, it’s those little ways of connecting with others that have proven truly significant and poignant. 

Connecting to more

You might see your Amazon driver, your Purolator person, or your mail carrier for only mere seconds a time, but there’s still something about those fleeting moments of human non-contact contact that makes us understand the interconnectedness of our world. 

There’s something about picking up and reading a magazine that hearkens back to a simpler, slower time. It’s a way to escape from the screen time that pervades our lives. It’s a different way of getting the stories and brands of Prairie manufacturing into your hands. 

The truth is out there

A 2018 study by Toronto-based insights firm Vividata reported that magazines are still one of the most widely read forms of media in Canada. 

Across the country, nearly 90 per cent of the population aged 14 and up regularly reads magazines. Of those folks, almost 70 per cent said they read titles exclusively in print. Only three per cent read digital-only. 

Interestingly, 92 per cent of magazine readers 25 years and younger find it easier to read print publications than digital versions of the same content. And they engage with the material for far longer than if it were on a screen – 20 minutes for print compared to 5 minutes for a web version.

What does this mean for the advertisers in the room?

Well, it means that the investments in print advertising (whether standalone or combined with digital) pay off significantly more than any other channel. 

Campaigns with print and digital are reported to be more than 400 per cent more effective in delivering desired results, and more than 80 per cent of consumers say they place more trust in companies that advertise in print.

There’s staying power in the magazine and its content – editorial and advertising. Readers – that’s you! – are eager to dive into the latest issues, and they read their publications throughout the week. 

A surprising journey

Each issue is an adventure. From the planning of the editorial content to the advertising sales, from the recruitment of contributors to the design and layout, it’s never boring. 

One thing I’ve learned over my last two years as editor is that agility is key. Whether it’s shifting an issue’s direction because of what’s happening in the world or just being open to taking a story or its design in a different direction, it’s the entire team’s adaptability and expertise that makes all the difference. 

When I came to the editor’s desk, I wanted to build on the tremendous work that preceded my arrival. It’s no small feat launching a publication – independent or otherwise – so I knew there was already a strong foundation from which to grow and explore the industry. 

It’s that exploration of manufacturing across the Prairies that is, quite frankly, the best part of this job!

I get to dig into the hidden world of manufacturing that not nearly enough people get to see, and speak with the leaders, decision-makers, and influencers who make this industry what it is. I’m especially fortunate to get to see the breadth and depth of the diverse community of manufacturers that call the Prairies home.

Looking forward

Prairie Manufacturer Magazine will continue to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries of manufacturing and making in this great region we call home. We will continue to celebrate and honour the diversity that makes this industry and community great, and we will continue to invite you to explore along with us. 

In the coming issues, we look forward to introducing you to even more manufacturers who are making the world a more colourful and interesting place simply by putting their passion and expertise to work.

We invite you to challenge your own perceptions of what this industry is and what it can be, because it’s the challenging of assumptions and limits that makes Prairie manufacturing great.

Until we chat again, I hope you enjoy the read.