Cultural relevance key in Hispanic media

The belief that all immigrant groups eventually become acculturated into the mainstream is being tested as second-, third-, and fourth-generation Hispanic Americans adopt English as their language of choice, while still identifying themselves as Latino.

The belief that all immigrant groups eventually become acculturated into the mainstream is being tested as second-, third-, and fourth-generation Hispanic Americans adopt English as their language of choice, while still identifying themselves as Latino.

This is driving a surge in English-language Hispanic media, says Juanita Panlener, account supervisor with Vanguard Communications. "Growth has been across the board," she says, "including online, in part because a lot of the English-language Hispanic audience are in the 18 to 34 age group that brands want to reach."

Until recently, many such outlets followed the Spanish-language US press in targeting regional Hispanic audiences, tailoring content to strong Hispanic markets, such as Southern California, Miami, and New York.

Jorge Chino, editor/publisher of Chicago-based business magazine Dinero, says he eventually hopes to expand to LA and New York, but for now is focused on local audiences and advertisers.

"A lot of Hispanic businesses in Chicago need exposure," he explains. "We mix company profiles with practical advice on things like banking and franchising."

But coming up with that right mix of language and content is no easy task. Chino has tweaked Dinero since its launch two years ago, starting as a bilingual outlet before switching to English-only. "Now we [have] opted again to include a few articles for entrepreneurs who only read in Spanish," he adds.

The regional strength of English-language Hispanic media reflects the fact that Hispanics from different parts of Latin America have settled in different parts of the US. For example, Southern California is more of a Mexican-American market, while Miami has a strong Cuban-American population.

But Renzo Devia, president of Maximas Productions and supervising producer of syndicated TV shows Latin Nation and American Latino, has noticed a change. "It's becoming one big mixed national market with Hispanics from every part of the country interested in each other's stories," he says.

Melissa Karp Smith, SVP at RL Public Relations, suggests the mistake people make when pitching the English-language Hispanic media is focusing too much on language. "This is predominately a bilingual audience, so it's not as important to be in language as it is to be in culture," she says. "Every pitch needs to have touchpoints back to the Hispanic community."

Panlener agrees, adding: "Issues like immigration are hot topics with Spanish-language outlets, but simply won't have the same personal relevance to second- and third-generation Hispanics."

PITCHING... Hispanic media in the US

English-speaking Latinos are a strong consumer demographic, but general interest messages won't resonate with them, so include Hispanic cultural references

Tailor your pitches for the different Hispanic-American communities, using
different spokespeople for each audience

The English-language Hispanic media are currently driven primarily by lifestyle outlets, but opportunities exist to pitch business, personal growth, and even issues-driven stories

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