AARP the Magazine (ATM) has seen robust growth over the past year. In June, the publication announced it had increased its audience of readers under 60 by 479,000 over the previous six months.
The magazine, which boasts an audience of 38.6 million readers in the 50+ category, now has the largest audience in the country. To better serve that group, AARP has been rolling out audience-specific newsletters.
To tap into the needs of its women-centric baby-boomer audience and to attract new readers, AARP introduced “The Girlfriend” a year ago, and, more recently, “Sisters From AARP,” which serves African American women.
Since launching in 2017, “The Girlfriend” has amassed a community of more than 200,000 followers on Facebook and 175,000 newsletter subscribers.
Myrna Blyth, senior vice president-editorial director, AARP Media, told Publishing Insider: “Gen-X women were an underserved audience. There are digital publications for millennial women, like Refinery 29 and theSkimm, but few that focused on Gen-X women.”
“Our goal with the ‘Sisters from AARP’ newsletter is to create a community where black women can share real talk and advice on the issues of greatest importance and relevance to them. African American women tell us they want information about how to live their best lives. AARP is committed to being that go-to resource.”
To reach the audience she had in mind for “The Girlfriend,” AARP would have to go outside its existing audience to engage and attract women under the age of 50, since 50 marks the age of eligibility for joining AARP.
So the team behind “The Girlfriend” took a closer look at its target audience, realizing most of its demographic was digitally savvy and frequented social-media platforms, with 81% reporting Facebook accounts.
“The Girlfriend” marketed its newsletter to these channels, realizing “a lot of success growing an audience on our email newsletter through Facebook as a way to begin the relationship,” said Blyth.
“Facebook also allows us to tap into real-time feedback and two-way communication with our audience. As ‘The Girlfriend’ grows, we continue to expand our reach across other channels,” she continued.
One way to maximize its audience across Facebook was the strategic streaming of its exclusive video series, The Other F Word, “a comedic coming of age digital video series” that will stream on “The Girlfriend” website for 90 days. A new episode drops each week, profiling four women in their 40s and 50s who are navigating mid-life. The video is shared widely across Facebook.
“The Girlfriend” has recently reached another new milestone in its lifespan: advertisers.
Blyth noted the newsletter covers “everything from wine apps to sleep apnea, from health tips to getting the passion back in a long-term relationship.” The advertising will be as eclectic, with expansions of the types of advertisers featured on the site.
For the coming year, Blyth hopes to see more "shareable, video content based on the success we are seeing with The Other F Word.”