Hunting for Success
When Mike Eastman started the Powell, Wyo.-based Eastmans’ Hunting Journal 20 years ago with his wife, Bertie, he had a concept in mind that still remains at the core of the magazine’s philosophy as well as its success: to give real hunters a forum where they can tell real hunting stories. Today, the majority of the magazine’s content still is contributed by its readers, but the publication has grown from its initial newsletter format to a multimedia brand. In addition to Eastmans’ Hunting Journal, which has more than 100,000 readers, the Eastmans’ brand includes a second magazine launched in 2000 (Eastmans’ Bowhunting Journal), a “Hunter’s Gift Guide,” a book-publishing arm, an interactive Web site, and a big-game hunting television show on the Outdoor Channel called “Eastmans’ Hunting Journal.” The television show is currently in its ninth season, meaning Eastman considered branding and multimedia expansion long before they became the magazine-publishing buzzwords they are today.
Also still at the core of Eastmans’ Hunting Journal is the Eastman family itself. Eastman and his wife continue to operate the business, now with full-time assistance from their sons, Guy and Ike, and part-time help from daughter Amber, along with a staff of approximately 15 other employees.
“I try to stay on the leading edge of this business,” says Eastman. “I’m the one who sits and studies the trends.” In this exclusive interview with Publishing Executive, he reveals the keys to his company’s success and the importance of branding in the magazine world.
How did you start Eastmans’ Hunting Journal?
Mike Eastman: My family has a background in filming the outdoors, and I spent all of my time outdoors and hunting. I would look at [hunting] articles from professional writers, and [they] didn’t really pertain to hunting. I knew a lot of good hunters that weren’t necessarily professional writers, but they had good stories to tell.