Hoffman Media's Phyllis Hoffman DePiano on Producing Magazines & Providing Hope through COVID-19
Positivity and staying strong and focused is the mindset that Hoffman Media has taken during this tragic pandemic. With keeping their people safe and healthy the main goal of their efforts, Chairman & CEO Phyllis Hoffman DePiano said her team is working from home and still producing the great content their readers expect.
I spoke with Phyllis recently and we talked about a few of her titles, such as Bake From Scratch, Victoria, and Taste of the South, and about how Hoffman brands center on home and hearth, which everyone is interested in anyway, but especially now. Providing the comfort of home and food, Hoffman titles bring hope and joy to these uncertain times we find ourselves living in.
In Phyllis’s words: “People need hope. They need hope and they need to know that this is going to pass and we’re going to get through it if we work together as a nation. And if people will stay home and separate themselves.”
On how Hoffman Media is operating during this pandemic:
Hoffman Media is good. We’ve mobilized our entire business to work remotely and we’re still producing great content. With the magazines we work so far ahead and we have a lot of seasonal photographs and things and now we can do the editorial work to go with them. And we continue producing the content that our readers want.
On her message to Hoffman’s employees, readers, and advertisers during these uncertain times:
As far as our staff, Brian or Eric (Hoffman) or I will write a letter to all of them every week encouraging and thanking them for their work and letting them know that we’re doing everything in our power to maintain operations as they are. And for advertisers; people are spending more time with our magazines and I think that’s true even of the back issues. I’m getting emails from people that tell me they’re reading one of our magazines from a year ago. Our magazines are normally not thrown away, they’re kind of little treasures. So, we’re seeing people engaged heavily with our magazines during this time.
On whether she feels having that print magazine in hand enhances that sense of community and eliminates a little bit of that social distancing factor we all are practicing:
I think it does because even with our advertisers, people are going to their websites and really spending time with the resources that we present. And I do think that it is a sense of community because I know each of our magazines like Victoria, for example, Victoria has a huge sense of community, so their social media, websites and blogs are very community-spirited. So yes, we’re seeing that is very important and it kind of keeps you from feeling that you’re isolated because you’re actually reading and seeing what other people are commenting, and it’s really refreshing.
Samir “Mr. Magazine™” Husni, Ph.D. is the founder and director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi’s School of Journalism and New Media. He is also Professor and Hederman Lecturer at the School of Journalism. As Mr. Magazine™ he engages in media consulting and research for the magazine media and publishing industry.