The Mario Blog
05.30.2007—1am
5 Reasons Covers Sell

1. Content Think beyond the standard head-subhead structure of a cover. Think about full sentences. Think about listing more stories with a sentence explanation for each. Give the reader real content. 2. Numbers We’ve seen from reader surveys that most readers no longer read the table of contents. So give it to them on the […]

1. Content

Think beyond the standard head-subhead structure of a cover. Think about full sentences. Think about listing more stories with a sentence explanation for each. Give the reader real content.

2. Numbers

We’ve seen from reader surveys that most readers no longer read the table of contents. So give it to them on the cover. Rails of stories with page numbers on them do very well on the newsstand. Traditionally, editors have been wary of this, thinking the reader will read the cover teaser about Johnny Depp, read the page number, turn to the page inside, read the article and put it back on the stand. Turns out very few people actually do this.

3. Icons

The best covers are iconic. Whether it’s a portrait, landscape or plate of food, think graphically, not literally. Simplify your covers. Bigger images and tighter cropping are always better. They give the publication a feeling of immediacy.

4. Surprise

Recently we worked on a startup lifestyle magazine in California. On West Coast newsstands, all local publications sport blurry photos and pastel colors. Our first decision was to do our covers in black and white. Think about what your competitors are doing. Do something different.

5. Determine your competition

It may be other publications, but most likely it’s other media. When your readers come home, they flip on the news, rifle through their mail, glance at the paper, answer e-mail and watch CNN Headline News. Then they pick up your publication. They have no patience. Zero. They want a fast, efficient way to get the stuff they’re interested in. Give it to them.

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