Surfer Magazine Rides the Social Networking Wave: Publisher Rick Irons on magazine’s new online community
Surfer Magazine has announced the launch of a new online community specifically for its annual “Hot 100” issue at SurferHot100.com. The Hot 100, which the magazine has produced for the past 25 years, is a ranking of the best young surfers around the globe. “We’ve done [the Hot 100] for a while in print, and we decided to make it more alive by bringing it to the online segment,” says Rick Irons, publisher of Surfer Magazine.
To bring the venture to life, Surfer Magazine partnered with Loop’d Network, a social media platform exclusively for online sports communities. “We approached a couple different people about it and felt like the Loop’d Network had a good community-based, action-sports audience that would respond to it,” says Irons. “And, it was something different than anything else they had on their site. …”
Irons spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about the recent launch, how the site will integrate with the print product, and why it is so important for the magazine to reach a younger audience through a social networking medium.
INBOX: What types of features and content will visitors find on SurferHot100.com?
RICK IRONS: … They’ll be daily updates from [surfing] events and news items from around the world as they happen every day, and things [related to] the young surf audience. Secondly, we’re going to be doing a lot of giveaways from sponsors, for the kids who go online and sign up. [For example,] we’re giving away a Bobby Martinez signature surfboard right now. … Thirdly, we’re building a community site where people can upload videos and photos of themselves surfing, and our staff and [other] surfers will be able to take a look at that. And, if we find really good talent, we’ll be able to highlight it on that site, and different kids will have a chance to be featured in Surfer Magazine in the print pages as well. So they get a chance to get discovered … just local kids that you might not ever hear about [otherwise]. … It’s a fun way to build a community where people can interact, talk about photos and their favorite surfers, etc. We’re also going to try to get a lot of the young surfers who are the best in the world to interact with the people in the community, like where [visitors] can ask questions and they’ll respond, [or] you can go on the blogs of some of the best young surfers and talk to them about what they’re doing and what they’re all about … and we’re going to have an editor who’s on it every day [to keep] it very fresh.