While the traditional method of launching a magazine in the digital era is to simultaneously launch a print and digital version (or even eschew print altogether), GQ Style decided to take its own approach.
Four months and two print issues after the launch of GQ’s spinoff publication, GQ Style, the quarterly magazine is debuting its new website. The Condé Nast-owned glossy took a unique route to promote its latest venture, starting with building momentum on social media before turning to print and finally honing in on the website. The idea was to give GQ Style a modern spin, leveraging platforms like Instagram and Twitter first to build awareness, said Mike Hofman, GQ’s digital director.
Will Welch, who leads the magazine after serving as GQ’s style editor since 2007, said the goal was to have a site that maintains the feel of GQ but is more cosmopolitan and image-heavy to draw luxury advertisers.
“[The site] is really clean, high-end, and easy to navigate. There’s not a lot of distractions,” he said. “It’s about the pictures themselves and the subject matter. It’s going to be pretty feature driven.”
The editorial content will focus on international style, with two to three pieces of deeply reported articles per day, in contrast with GQ, which increased its online publication rate recently to drive homepage traffic.
Beyond differentiated content, Howard Mittman, GQ’s chief revenue officer, said GQ Style will fill a niche for luxury advertisers seeking to target high income consumers.
“For GQ Style, the opportunity is scarcity, whereas for GQ, the opportunity is scale. We have this interesting opportunity with GQ Style to target and penetrate a small but incredibly important group of affluent American men,” he said.
The print edition, which sells for $14.99, was first conceived of as a coffee table book for upwardly mobile men, said Mittman, who has long been known for pushing innovation at Condé Nast, starting with his role as vp and publisher of Wired. For GQ Style, the aim was to develop a more niche outlet that would attract high-end brands that transcend GQ’s traditional client base. For example, Tudor is one of the site’s early advertisers, and will sponsor a video series hosted by Welch.
“One of the things GQ Style has done for GQ is allowed us to have more in-depth, targeted conversation with premium luxury partners that are niche advertisers,” Mittman said. “GQ services a large percentage of them, but they’re always looking to get further down the funnel.”
As the luxury menswear market continues to grow following the 2009 economic recession — up 24 percent in 2015, according to a January Barclays report — Mittman and Welch said there is an increasing appetite for luxury-related content.
“[Men have] begun to think about style not just in terms of the way it hangs in their closet but the way it permeates through the rest of their lives,” Mittman said.