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MYTH # 4 The Magazine Readership MYTH "We have 300,000 readers. Our circulation figures are audited to prove it." Audit bureau figures may show 300,000 copies of the magazine were really mailed, but don't confuse circulation figures with readership figures. Is everyone who gets the magazine actually reading it every month? Nah. Actual readership varies: it goes down from that circulation figure. FACT: The circulation figure doesn't tell you how many people actually read the magazine. For example, a magazine with a circulation of 300,000 may well mail 300,000. But in any given month do you think all those are actually read by each and every subscriber? Not likely. Readership is dependent on lots of different elements, from quality of the editorial to the weather. Let's suppose 20% of the recipients don't read any particular given issue. Suddenly readership is at 240,000. And I'll guarantee summer readership is less than half that. See Myth # 7 for the details.

MYTH # 5 This is our best issue - you need to be in this issue. Is this true for every issue? I've never heard a magazine advertising salesperson say, "This issue isn't too good, wait for a couple of months before you place that ad." Magazines - like streetcars - come along with tremendous regularity. Don't rush into any issue. So what if this is the "Special Show Distribution" issue; or the "Big Buyers" issue or "The Giant Christmas" issue or the

MYTH # 6 Our Readership is actually 2.5 times our circ rate. What a bunch of crap. Often called pass along readership, thought up by an overzealous ad man in the late 70's who needed to increase his readership figures overnight, this unsubstantiated figure is now spoken of in the 90s like it's real. Sure, some magazines have pass-along readership, but who's counting? I remember when this "pass along readership" figure came out, and it suddenly doubled publishers' figures. All the publishers jumped on the bandwagon - and then everyone's figures suddenly exploded. So did the truth. Pass along readership figures are pretty unreliable. Granted, some magazines have better quality editorial, and they get passed around a bit. But there is no credible way to verify this readership figure. Do the magazines sent to physicians' offices have a pass along rate of 200 people each issue? Worse: some association publishers send their house-organ magazine to all their association members, then boast high circulation figures. While circulation figures look good, some of these magazines are so poorly written that readership is nil. I receive 125 magazines each month. I glance at them all, scan most, read a few articles in some, and read only 3 or 4 cover to cover. I leave them in the bathroom to make sure they get read.

MYTH # 7 Every issue is good for advertising. Readership is consistent year round! Circulation figures stay constant, but readership goes way down in the summer. In fairness, seasonal merchandise finds some issues better quarters, but generally the Best Months to advertise are: Jan, Feb, March. Reason: the country is cold, people stay in more, and read more. The worst months to advertise: June, July, August. Summer readership, ugh. Would you rather be on the beach sipping a mint julep, or inside, reading a magazine?

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