“Media brands” are about to take on new roles (sometimes of composition) to retain their targets. But without a reading contract, little chance of winning over your long-term audiences …

A reading contract is a promise of commitment that the advertiser sets up with its readership. This commitment governs the relationship which, through editorial content, must develop between the media brand and the audience.

The concept of a reading contract was formalized in the 1980s by Eliséo Véron, sociologist, anthropologist and semiotician. At the time, one to two new women’s magazines were added to the shelves of newsstands each month. This is to say that the competition is raging, and becoming critical for each brand. This forces the marketing departments of these publishers to set up loyalty strategies</strong>.

Training & Co'm

Publishers therefore begin to build a modeled and systematized relationship. Modeled by a reading contract and systematized by a editorial calendar integrating chestnut trees and the advertiser’s actions and marketing campaigns.

But how do you attract and retain an increasingly free online reader in their consumer journey? How to integrate incentives for loyalty and other marketing revenues without falling into dark manipulation practices?

The reading contract: thinking against our prejudices

Being at the service of the reader – because that is what the reading contract presupposes – means that we have to go in search of the reader, make them want to read us and come back, make an information effort, education and, why not, entertainment.

Are these not, moreover, the missions that one gives to any media whatever it is? In other words, the reading contract, content marketing cornerstone, requires advertisers sometimes learn to think against our prejudices, accept criticism, varied curiosities and interest in the strange and ‘foreign. In other words, to do marketing differently.

Four good practices for an operating reading contract

To establish an engaging and truly loyal reading contract, here are four tips:

  1. How to choose themes : avoid subjects that are too competitive or that do not support your Unique Value Proposition, think about developing niche content, especially focus on truly unique content;
  2. Make a good arbitration between discretion and presence of the brand (even if it means publishing in a “gray mark”, even white, at the risk of promoting goods and services rather than the brand);
  3. Respect the free will of readers and the variety of their reading practices today: aggregation, curation, diversion, collection, filtering, etc. The proposed media content can be used for purposes other than that envisaged by the advertiser, and without being accompanied by a real desire for loyalty, or even a single purchase;
  4. Associate with the reading contract, a conversation contract : the user is a prescriber, the user is a media. Your editorial marketing system must integrate the participation of Internet users and bet on transmission as much as on communication.