A mag for people in their Prime

People in White Rock, b.c. can find out what is happening in their community by reading the Peace Arch News.Prime, a monthly lifestyle magazine which is delivered to 27,000 readers along with the Peace Arch News, tells them how to live.MottoOr...

People in White Rock, b.c. can find out what is happening in their community by reading the Peace Arch News.

Prime, a monthly lifestyle magazine which is delivered to 27,000 readers along with the Peace Arch News, tells them how to live.

Motto

Or at least that is the motto of the editor, advertising representative and contributors to Prime.

It was originally conceived three years ago as a seniors magazine to target the growing number of older residents who have moved from all over Canada to resettle in the balmy climate of this seaside peninsula.

But with limited resources, limited focus and limited advertising revenue, Prime magazine began to decline.

Stereotypes

It was hard to come up with story ideas about and for seniors without falling into stereotypical patterns. You know the stories, you see them all the time: ‘Sprightly senior starts softball league.’

It was time for a new approach.

Advertising rep Anita Crowston and I brainstormed to come up with several themes that could be tackled by the new, revamped Prime.

We realized the simple truth – that seniors are not much different from anybody else – they are just older and more experienced.

As our population ages, the definition of seniors grows broader and we find out that seniors do not think of themselves as old – they still want to live happy, healthy lives like everybody else.

With the bulk of residents in the Prime distribution area in the 45-plus age group, it became apparent that Prime could reach a broader audience without alienating seniors.

Lifestyle choices

And so a lifestyle magazine was born that tried to present healthy lifestyle choices for all residents.

Each month, advertising and editorial discuss a theme with which they can tie a four-color, double-truck, four-color front page and several stories together.

It may be ‘bringing in the harvest’ one month, with stories on pickling and how to carve a pumpkin, to what to do in the dark days of November with your family.

Fitness, healthy eating, gardening, crafts, trends and travel are some of the regular features in this supplement that has grown to about 36 tabloid pages a month.

With bold layouts, color advertising pages that focus on themes, and plenty of how-tos, Prime has lowered its readership age by about 20 years and has, as a result, brought new advertising clients into the fold.

Contests

Contests also help to define Prime as a distinct product from the regular newspaper.

This year, Prime sponsored a garden contest with the local community cable channel.

Contests that encourage residents to choose their top 10 favorite community restaurants, for example, and a wine/art cruise promotion are under consideration for 1994.

The next major steps for Prime would be to continue to promote special color advertising pages, refine the editorial content and so generate enough revenue to justify the cost of trimming and stitching the magazine.

It is produced like a newspaper supplement, unstitched on ultra-brite stock and distributed inside the paper.

Want to know more

We have learned that people want to know more than what is going on around them, they want information so they can make healthy lifestyle choices, for themselves and their families.

The Prime of one’s life is every day of the year.

Diane Strandberg is the editor of Prime magazine and the Peace Arch News, a community newspaper published out of White Rock, B.C.