“Can we take a strategy to build a political candidate and apply it to a magazine like Vogue?” posited Tom Florio, publishing director for the fashion title and other Condé Nast pubs, in today’s Wall Street Journal. (Upate: Jezebel, always on the ball, actually broke the story a week earlier than the WSJ.
The strategy in question would be the one designed by Blue State Digital, an online consulting agency that implemented a “relationship ladder” schema for their work with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, and is now working with Vogue to identify new ways for the magazine to interact with its audience.
While it might seem like a strange leap to go from political canvasing to couture outreach, Blue State is confident what worked for Obama can work for Anna Wintour.
The “relationship ladder” plan actually works as an addition to pay walls or online subscription models, which Condé (along with many other print media companies) has been considering for their Web content. Instead of having users pay a flat fee to access articles (which runs the risk of aggregators buying the service and reprinting it for free to bolster traffic to their own sites), Blue State’s strategy is based on breaking users down into targeted demographics according to their relationship with the brand, and having them pay accordingly.
So while you might not be willing to pay a year’s subscription fee to read Vogue online, you could eventually pay a smaller amount to access portions of the site that are relevant to you. Blue State’s model helped successfully raise $500 million online during Obama’s presidential bid with their site My.BarakObama.Com. Hopefully they will be able to work their magic on S.I. Newhouse’s ailing empire, and thus provide a more affordable alternative to the flat-fee subscription model that publishers like News Corp. and The New York Times Co. are looking into.
Previously: Condé Nast Digital’s Schutte: We’re Not A Late Bloomer, Condé Nast Officially Announces Its Digital Magazine Initiative, With Future Of Media Uncertain, Mirror Awards Honor Journalists Covering Media