A growing number of celebrities, including Jennifer Lopez, Kerry Washington, Ellen DeGeneres and Amy Schumer have been giving out their cell numbers to fans through texting app Community. Now magazines are starting to get in on the action.
First to join is Meredith-owned People magazine. The celebrity-filled publication is launching on the platform this weekend, allowing it to text directly with its Community audience during the 92nd Academy Awards, covering backstage, the awards show and after parties.
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Like celebrities, People will post a cell number to social media and then a team of reporters in Los Angeles and New York will respond to texts. It won’t, however, be their personal cell numbers, but one that Community has created — the same method used for the A-listers.
“We think a lot about how to communicate with our users and that means going to the places where they are,” Zoe Ruderman, editor of People Digital, told WWD, adding that it’s the first media outlet to partner with Community. “It’s not just about creating an incredible editorial experience on our web site, but also going and meeting them on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat. Community is another way to be in contact with them, but also to have a deeper conversation with them.”
After the Oscars, People will continue its partnership with Community, texting directly about anything, from awards season to royals to breaking news. It’s also planning to launch an “ask me anything” segment, where a certain reporter will respond to questions.
“We talked about next time there’s big breaking royals news, we may have Michelle Tauber, who’s our head of royals come on and say, ‘Ask me anything about what’s going on’ and share information that way,” added Ruderman. “One of the cool things about being the first media brand on the platform is we’re the ones to figure out what works so there will be a lot of experimentation. It’s not as if there’s a playbook for what other brands are doing on there.”
According to the MPA Association for Magazine Media, People, which has the second biggest print audience in the U.S., is in seventh place in terms of total followers and “likes” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
As for L.A.-based Community, it claims that since its launch in July 2019, more than 200 million text messages have been sent between members and their audiences. To date, the platform, formerly known as Shimmur, has raised around $35 million in funding, with backers including actor Ashton Kutcher.
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