Industry Voices

Chris March | Founder & Publisher | Remember Media

By Jess Browne-Swinburne

11 Nov 2020

In the coming weeks we will be hosting our virtual PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards, a chance for this community to come together to share ideas and provide insights for getting through this tricky time. Chris March, Founder of Remember Media, an independent publisher based in North England shares some of the steps they have been taking to support their local communities and the importance of regional publishers in bringing people together.

What made you want to work in the publishing industry?

I fell into publishing after I joined Trinity Mirror in advertising sales and worked on the team that developed specialist titles for Trinity Mirror North East, like business yearbooks, cricket and wedding magazines. I loved it from the very first minute I got involved.

Chart your career from the start to where you are now.

After my first proper job at Trinity Mirror working on regional newspapers, I was headhunted to work at a smaller independent publisher called Network Publishing. They published fantastic magazines for celebrity chefs and hospitality businesses throughout the country and I ran a portfolio of magazines for them based in the north. I left to start my first business a couple of years later called Room 501 in 2007. Our most famous title was Business Quarter magazine, which was published in Scotland, NE England, Yorkshire, West Midlands and latterly the Baltic States and in essence, changed the face of publishing in the north. We sold it in 2012 and established Remember Media which focused on high end publishing in the arts, culture and leisure sectors. We built the business to where we are today along with our sister business, Digital Allies, which is a digital marketing business and works seamlessly with Remember Media.

What is the importance of regional magazines in local communities?

Regional magazines bind communities together and are therefore extremely important. They inspire people to try new things and support local businesses. We produce magazines for cities such as NE1 in Newcastle and Sunderland Vibe and Life InDurham and especially over the course of the pandemic, they have been at the heart of their communities. delivering safety messages and letting people know what to expect when they visit city centres.

How have your strategies for clients had to change over the course of the pandemic?

Our focus at the start of the first lockdown all went online. We are a broad business, and our combined offering is content creation, in words, images and video as well as digital marketing and training. With our magazines on pause we offered design services and content creation online for our clients, many businesses who’d furloughed significant staff numbers wanted to keep in touch with their employees to ensure their mind was still in the game on their return. The content found in our city magazines were all about keeping the community safe, helping each other and supporting local businesses. We also developed successful bounce back packages, which included a mix of in-print advertising complimented with online editorial and Google ads and SEO.

When you’re creating a magazine for a client from scratch, how do you ensure it has impact on the shelf?

We call it pickup ability. Everything from the size through to the creative through to the quality of editorial and the cover lines – all of it is so important. We work very hard to make sure that our magazines have instant impact and that they have superior production values. We invest heavily in design because that is what draws readers in, as well as the quality of the content.

What’s on your radar?

There is a lot of support for cultural and arts-based businesses who are suffering at the moment, but there isn’t much talk about the industries that support them, like independent publishers. A lot of independent publishers are run by their owners and there hasn’t been enough support from the government for owner-managed businesses. Many smaller businesses pay themselves via dividends but when you’re not publishing, you’re not making profit and not getting paid. I’d like to know if there Is any support for independent publishers and will it filter down through art and culture funds?

What magazine would you stockpile?

Monocle and DAZED Media. I love what they are doing. For longer-form journalism, Delayed Gratification is great as I really like delving into articles.

ADVERTISMENT

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In the coming weeks we will be hosting our virtual PPA Independent Publisher Conference & Awards, a chance for this community to come together to share ideas and provide insights for getting through this tricky time. Chris March, Founder of Remember Media, an independent publisher based in North England shares some of the steps they have been taking to support their local communities and the importance of regional publishers in bringing people together.