(HILLSBORO, OR) -- A focus on community journalism and other highly relevant content results in exceptionally engaged print readers, an independent survey of Ruralite Services’ readership says. Results of a 2018 readership survey conducted by GfK MRI confirm that readers of Ruralite magazine’s three labels—Ruralite, Currents and Florida Currents—continue to both read and enjoy the monthly publications at rarely seen levels.
More than 84 percent of Ruralite publication readers are highly engaged and spend an average of 30 minutes each month reading stories about neighbors, local businesses and the energy industry. The time spent reading and other engagement metrics were well above those for the most highly rated magazine titles in the country, GfK MRI said.
“The numbers tell a great story,” says Ruralite CEO, Michael Shepard. “Defying all the rumors of print’s decline, our magazines are actually as popular as ever with the readers we serve. Survey results also indicate that while print remains strong, digital is gaining strength.”
The survey was designed to profile readers of Ruralite, Currents and Florida Currents magazines by looking closely at lifestyle data, demographic characteristics and measure use of consumer products and services. Ruralite Services’ editorial team will use the survey results to guide a long-anticipated redesign and new content refresh of all three magazines.
“Our challenge will be to take a good thing and make it even better,” said Ruralite Publications Editor Leon Espinoza. “Readers, for instance, expressed high interest in gardening and organic foods. Our job, how do we tap those passions and put them on the printed page.
“One neat find is that views about the quality hold strongly across states and regions, from the far reaches of Alaska to the Florida Keys. Based on the data, Florida Currents readers like what they are seeing just as much as readers of Ruralite and Currents magazines.”
Ruralite Services distributes 440,000 magazines for public power utilities and associations across nine states, reaching over a million readers each month. A four-page questionnaire was mailed to a random sample of Ruralite readers starting in April 2018. A total of 539 completed surveys were tabulated to form the results.
“In today’s extraordinarily time-pressured environment, the decision to engage with a print magazine is a definitive choice in terms of how a reader wants to invest their time,” according to Head of Custom Research Paul Sammon with GfK MRI. “Two elements particularly stood out in the results: time spent reading and reader loyalty. A Ruralite publications reader’s choice to sit and enjoy the magazine for a full 30 minutes is a testament to engaging content. That a full 77 percent of all magazine readers read each and every issue is a testament to their powerful bond with the magazine."
“The survey shows our magazines offer a unique opportunity to keep connecting with readers,” says Espinoza. “There is so much to tap, from lifestyle and new technology content to focusing on locally grown food and associated recipes.”
From a demographic perspective, Ruralite publication readers typically are well-educated, are pet owners, own their own home, and are active home improvers and remodelers.
A considerable majority of readers agree the magazine(s) contain relevant information, articles are informative, and the content can easily be shared with others.
About Ruralite Services
Ruralite Services is a full-service communications cooperative serving electric utilities across the U.S. Since 1954 we have been a trusted solutions partner—now in 20 states—we offer customizable printed and digital magazines, and much more. From building websites and providing social media support to offering design, print and delivery of special reports, calendars, directories, bill inserts, ballots and posters. For us, success is when your member customers give your cooperative or utility all the credit for materials we helped create.