America Media launches marketing campaign to reach Catholics
The Jesuit newspaper and its affiliate website are in the midst of their “greatest transformation” since the 1960s
Jesuit Father Matt Malone, President and Editor-in-Chief of America Media. (Photo: cmmb.org)
In a twist for most Catholic media, Jesuit-run America Media unveiled an extensive marketing campaign to highlight its flagship product. America magazine and its array of digital platforms to new audiences.
Launched on March 14, the #OwnYourFaith campaign kicked off with ads in the print and online versions of the the wall street journalradio stations in some markets and “street marketing” through efforts such as the widespread placement of posters to reach people in daily life.
Jesuit Father Matt Malone, president and editor of America Media, described the campaign as the latest piece of a strategic plan that has seen the magazine invest in staff, reconfigure its editorial content, introduce a newsletter daily via email and add digital platforms to deliver news, insights, analysis and commentary.
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Developed in conjunction with Venables Bell and Partners in San Francisco, the campaign is designed to introduce America Media — primarily to Catholics, but also to those interested in Catholic perspectives on news and current issues.
Creative and widespread publicity is something little practiced by the Catholic media, Father Malone acknowledged.
“We thought, let’s take a different approach. We live in a different world now. Just the fact that we do it differently will hopefully get people’s attention,” he said.
The aim is to generate interest in the magazine and related online content to attract young readers and viewers who want to know what is being said on key issues
Initially, advertisements and social media posts appear in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington, and Chicago, the communities Father Malone identified as having significant numbers of committed Catholics — those who are committed to their faith, attend attend mass regularly, care about social issues and “have a certain affinity with the Jesuits.”
The goal is to generate interest in the magazine and related online content to attract young readers and viewers who want to hear what is being said on key issues by those most active in the Church.
The magazine’s subscription base is still geared towards people in their 70s, while the average viewer of all content has become younger, in their late 40s and early 50s, Father Malone said.
“The type of editorial (content) that America a, which is committed to being a platform where we have a diversity of Catholic voices, (is) needed now more than ever in the church and in the world,” he said.
Additionally, he said, America Media has long felt that there is an untapped audience out there looking for the kind of thoughtful and engaging content it produces.
“Over the years, relative to the size of the population we could serve, our numbers (magazine circulation) have historically been relatively small because Catholic media hasn’t really commercialized itself,” he explained. .
“Now that we’ve spent several years bringing editorial to where we want it to be and have made the investments in the platforms and people needed to really drive a conversation, we want the world to know that. We want to get out of mainstream Catholic media to do this,” said Father Malone, who ran the magazine for about a decade.
He said research has shown that graduates of Jesuit colleges and universities number 2.5 million in the United States. This is an audience that Fr. Malone and his colleagues believe can be attracted to what America Media has to offer.
“Ultimately, we look forward to seeing a vibrant and diverse array of voices and media within Catholic media”
In a column outlining the campaign published March 14 on www.americamagazine.org, Fr. Malone noted that “the Catholic Church belongs to all of us, although that is not always the case.”
“This great gift is not just your pastor’s church, not just Father Matt Malone’s church, not just the American Bishops’ church, but Christ’s church and therefore yours. It is to through him, with him and in him we share a common baptism,” he wrote.
He also highlighted the vision of Jesuit Father John Wynne, who founded the publication in 1909 to give Catholics a voice in the nation’s public debate.
At the time, Father Malone told CNS, Father Wynne imagined a daily publication. Today, he added, “we basically are.”
“We publish five or six articles each day, then they are distributed in a newsletter at the end of the day to more than 150,000 people; 150,000 is three times the average number of subscribers to our print publications. over the past 50 years.” said Father Malone.
The campaign will be evaluated over the next two months to determine its impact as well as the opportunity to expand to other markets.
“Ultimately, we look forward to seeing a vibrant and diverse array of voices and media within Catholic media,” he said. “We want this to continue.”