Hachette to Promote New Magazine Launch Online

Magazine publisher Hachette Filipacci is preparing to launch a new title later this year, and it’s tapping Alley-based teen site Alloy Online to build buzz around it in an audacious online-only launch.

Using promotions on Alloy.com and its affiliated sites, and by creating a Web site in tandem with Alloy, Hachette seeks to encourage teens to get interested in its new teen style magazine ELLEgirl a full three to four month before it debuts on newsstands.

In the process, Hachette, a unit of French publishing giant Lagardere SCA, will be circumventing a mainstay in publishing promotion — a direct marketing outreach. Indeed, a spokesperson confirmed that the launch would proceed directly from the online subscription push to the magazine’s newsstand launch in late August or September.

Financial terms were not disclosed of the arrangement between Hachette and Alloy, but ELLEgirl.com will be run by Alloy and Lagardere’s new media unit, Lagardere Active North America, with both parties contributing content.

Visitors to ELLEgirl.com will be encouraged to subscribe for the magazine, and to share their thoughts about fashion, style, and teen life on message boards and by corresponding with editors. Alloy will provide hosting, and will seek to drive traffic to the site with promotions on its other Web properties.

Why an elaborate online effort by Hachette, which publishes ELLE and 18 other titles in the U.S? For one, there’s the massive amount of time that teens spend online in areas like chat rooms and message boards — and thus an opportunity to capitalize on the Web to drive subscriptions.

Of course, that’s contingent on Hachette’s new partner having enough weight in the teen community to pull off a successful promotion. But Alloy’s chief executive, Matt Diamond, is undaunted by the challenge — with a monthly user base of about 10 million teens, the company said it reaches one of every seven members of so-called “Generation Y,” the global audience of wired teens.

“We’re excited to be involved in the anticipated launch of ELLEgirl.com,” Diamond said. “Alloy’s expertise in technology and outstanding editorial direction will enable ELLEgirl.com to provide teens around the world with the best information on the subjects they are most interested in.”

But there’s more to the promotion than generating subscriptions. Spokespeople said Hachette plans to use the ELLEgirl.com site to gather reader feedback to direct editorial coverage. Users of the site will be able to vote for their favorite columnist, choose covers for upcoming issues, and so on — an element that Hachette believes will not only build buzz for the publication, but earn it street cred with marketing-savvy teens, as well.

“Launching ELLEgirl.com prior to the print version will allow readers to build their own magazine,” said spokeswoman Stacy Mackler. “While it will be the same look and feel, it will be a tool to find out quickly and accurately what readers want to see in the magazine. From that perspective, it’s one of the greatest marketing promotions for ELLEgirl.”

“It’s such a crazy space, so you’ve got to do something to differentiate,” Mackler added. “And the teen mind changes so fast, and you’ve got to keep up with it. That’s really the effort behind this, to stay on top of it in real-time, so that we’re providing … what they want to see.”

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