Sugarscape comes of age with wider readership

From this month onwards, the print version of teenage girls' magazine Sugar is no more after its circulation dropped by 75 per cent in a decade.

Sugarscape: homepage
Sugarscape: homepage

Instead, publisher Hachette Filipacchi is hoping the brand's website Sugarscape will be more successful.

Since February radical changes have been made including chasing an older audience of 15- to 24-year-olds and dropping the bright pink traditionally associated with the brand.

But the site is still packed with opportunities for PROs looking to target this demographic.

Editor Mango Saul is hoping to attract an older audience with content that is updated regularly.

'We have also changed the tone of the site. It was a conscious decision to make it more funny and risque,' he says.

PR professionals believe Sugarscape will do better than its print sister.

Porter Novelli PR planner Anna Svensson says the magazine always felt very adolescent, so she is surprised it is not targeting a younger group. But she adds: 'Sugarscape appears to cater more directly to its new target audience, and while it may take some time to bring that demographic to the site, I believe they will become regular users once they discover the site.'

Onlinefire social media strategist Andrew Bowers says the online space lends itself perfectly to the teen demographic: 'For teens, the notion of having everything in one place, whether it is the latest film trailers, music videos or photos of their favourite idols, is really appealing.'

In contrast to the print offering, the website has increased its unique users by 91 per cent year on year, to 533,000.

Content-wise, Sugarscape has a broad scope - films, music, video, fashion, beauty, celeb content and even hard news.

Press releases that would have gone to the print platform are still relevant for the web, but with a time shift.

Saul advises: 'Deadlines are daily, so if PROs need something up tomorrow, they should send it today.'

However, the challenge with online is that content needs to be very visual and interactive. Exclusive images, videos and games are key to this.

Saul says: 'What we are finding is that when PROs do have a video, they send us the hard file, but we only need the embed code.

'When PROs have a press release, they should send us low-res images and a link to a video so we have got everything in one email.

'If we need more, we will get in touch. Anything bigger than an eight-meg email is going to be deleted.'

Svensson says PROs should craft content so it taps into the news agenda and encourages interaction and sharing. 'As PROs, we need to learn how to create our content to reflect this change in media consumption.'

QUICK FACTS
Unique users: 533,102 unique users (April 2011; source: Google
Analytics)
Facebook fans: 43,900
Twitter followers: 22,300
Contact: firstname@sugarscape.com
Editor: Mango Saul
Music/festivals: Kate Lucey
Fashion/beauty: Amy Lewis
Celebrity gossip: Lauren Franklin
Books/competitions: Cari Thomas

A MINUTE WITH ... Mango Saul, editor, Sugarscape

Mango Saul: Sugarscape editor

- Describe the website

It is a place for the youth audience to come to for a bit of fun, to have a laugh and to spend some time on stuff they love, whether it be funny clips, great stories, horoscopes or to play games. It is everything they want to be able to do on the internet in one place.

- How would you advise PROs to grab the attention of your readers?

Do not talk to this audience like they are children; they are very savvy and know what they want. A lot of people have not grasped this yet and still believe this audience does not really know what they are doing, but they do.

- What is your perfect story?

An example of a perfect story we have run is this: Pop group The Wanted has a pet lizard that has a Twitter account. The band's PR asked us if we would like to cover its first diary entry on Sugarscape. It produced the highest traffic on the day, with 7000 visits and 796 Facebook likes. So, our perfect story would include The Wanted, a lizard and it would be exclusive. The important things to remember are that it is exclusive and it has pictures and video content to support it.

- What stories won't make it in?

Anything that is related to alcohol, cigarettes and gambling. No erectile dysfunction stuff and new restaurant openings.

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