With the advent of the Internet, many speculated that print magazines would lose readership and have to transition to a digital format in order to survive. But the emergence of social media offers new opportunities for growth. An effective social media strategy allows a print magazine to enhance the visibility of their product, retain current readership, and reach a wider audience. The social media strategy of The Poetry Foundation and its publication Poetry is a perfect example.
Poetry is one of the most prestigious poetry publications in the United States. The magazine was established in 1912 by Harriet Monroe and has featured many of the country’s greatest poets: Ezra Pound, T.S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, William Carlos Williams, among others. The magazine is published by The Poetry Foundation and prints poetry by leading and emerging poets, literary criticism, and book reviews. The Poetry Foundation's mission is to "discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience."
The foundation and magazine have made full use of social media and the Internet in order to fulfill their mission. The foundation maintains an official website and a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. They also publish an email newsletter and provide an RSS feed.
Poetry Foundation is the portal for all the resources of the foundation and the magazine Poetry. The site is a treasure trove of poetry and literary criticism, articles, news, and reviews. A user could spend hours reading the material and not come close to seeing all that the site has to offer. There are two interactive features that are of special note: the Poetry Tool and the Interactive Poetry Lab. The Poetry Tool allows users to search for poetry and criticism by category, occasion, poet, and title, among other listings. The Poetry Learning Lab displays individual poems, each with writing ideas, discussion questions, teaching tips, audio, and a poem guide. The lab is a good resource for teachers and students of poetry. Interactive features are a worthwhile investment as they keep users on the site for a longer period of time and also gives them another reason to return. The foundation also provides poetry podcasts and a poetry blog complete with user comments.
The foundation keeps users up-to-date with news from the world of poetry and publishes articles by leading poets and critics, audio and video, and reviews of new books of poetry. The content is updated frequently and the news is updated daily. Articles can be shared by Email or on Digg, Google, MySpace, Live, Facebook, StumbleUpon, and Twitter via the toolbar found at the bottom of the entry.
Poetry's section of the website offers the latest print issue digitally almost in its entirety along with an archive of issues back to 1987 and an index of all prior issues. Users can also view submission guidelines and learn how to subscribe to the magazine.
The Poetry Foundation & Poetry maintain a strong presence on Facebook via a fan page. The page currently has 5,247 fans. While most fan pages are mere placeholders with little original content, Poetry’s page is updated daily with poetry and literary news and notes. For example, there are already 33 postings in the first two weeks of February alone. In the info section, the mission of the Poetry Foundation is stated as an attempt to create “a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture.” The fan page reflects this aggressive approach. The page also includes photos of old magazine covers and fan photos, videos, and links to Poem Talk (poetry podcasts) via a music player.
Poetry maintains a Twitter page too. The page has 3,830 followers and is updated daily. Most of the tweets are links to poems posted on the main site. The foundation also maintains Poetry News on Twitter . The page has 4,204 followers and is updated every few days with poetry news from around the web.
Poetry Foundation's Channel on YouTube offers 37 videos of animated poems. 140 people have subscribed to the channel but the videos are at least 10 months old. This was the only segment of the foundation's social media plan that was not up-to-date.
RSS Feed - www.poetryfoundation.org/index.xml
The Poetry Foundation is effectively using social media to achieve their mission to “"discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience." While Poetry (the print version) is the central part of their strategy, the online component complements the magazine and increase its visibility.