Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am a big backer of the Matador Network. Certainly some of it may be biased, since I’ve written for Matador a few times and several of the editors are friends of mine. For those of you who don’t know about Matador, it’s an online magazine that covers everything from travel to social change to sports to relationships and everything in between. It is not a Spanish bull fighting magazine, as my mom questioned. They also have an excellent travel writing and photography program for aspiring travel writers and photographers called MatadorU.
Today I was more than excited when Matador announced they would be launching a print version of their online travel magazine. In an era of iPhones and iPads, when more and more magazines, and especially travel magazines, are biting the dust, Matador is going against the grain by launching a print version of their online publication. As much of a techie as I am, I’m also old school. I own an iPhone 4, but never an e-reader and I still buy books and magazines on a regular basis. As such, I couldn’t be any more excited than I am to see Matador launch this new phase. Although there will certainly be the doubters who call this tomfoolery, I discuss below why Matador will be successful as a print magazine.
1. They are doing it backwards. While most magazines are print-focused and then jumped into the digital world, Matador has diligently worked at developing a presence digitally before launching into print. Not only have they developed a presence online, but they’ve kicked ass while doing it. One photo essay a few months ago got them on the front page of Yahoo and over 250,000 page views and over 500 comments in a matter of a couple hours. I did a brief Twitter search this evening and articles from Matador’s website had been retweeted 30 times within a couple hours.
2. They are paying. I don’t like the Huffington Post. If you want to know why, you can find out here. I will take it to my grave that a person will put out when they are paid. There I said it. 9 times out of 10, people who are paid to write, will write better things than people that aren’t; and people want to read quality content. Last I heard, Huffington Post was worth over $150 million dollars and were still not paying people who wrote for them. Now I may stand corrected, but I wouldn’t assume that Matador is worth $150 million dollars, yet they are paying out for good, well-written content. Not only that, but as someone who has written for Matador, there is a very methodical, succinct editorial process that is assuring only the best content is being produced.
3. They are a network. Matador has writers and editors spread around the globe who write and edit for them. It’s a team of creative, well-connected travelers who are sold on the vision of the magazine. As such, it is only natural that this powerful network will be tapped into to grow it as it moves into the print sphere. Matador has already taken their work offline with meetups, networking and other in-person work that their team members are already doing and this will only continue to grow.
4. Matador provokes. I’ll be honest, I’m biased. I’ve written for Matador and have friends that work for them. There isn’t a publication that I back more; however, I’ve read articles on Matador that stirred emotion in me and hit on topics I didn’t agree on. Yet, this is why I continue to come back to it; because it shoots straight from the hip and provokes people to thought and action. This is something that not a lot of travel magazines are doing.
5. People can relate. Tonight on Twitter and Facebook I asked people what their favorite travel magazines were. I got a lot of responses, many from travel writers themselves, and the two most popular choices were Budget Travel and Afar. What it came down to was that these two magazines wrote content about experiences they could do. It wasn’t fluffy, high-end or fantastical, but travel writing they could relate to. This is the same thing you’ll find with Matador.
I strongly believe that Matador will be successful for these reasons, but also many more. I was not paid to write this, nor approached by anyone at Matador to say anything, whether here or elsewhere. I don’t tell my readers very often that they should or shouldn’t do something, but I do think it will be money well spent when you subscribe to Matador.