The nextmedia bi-monthly magazine frankie has been hitting shelves for 15 years featuring kooky lifestyle content. The print success story feeds young women (and men) an array of smart stories and arty material through six issues a year. The editor of frankie magazine Sophie Kalagas told Mediaweek what content receives the best reception from their readers and what differentiates frankie from other lifestyle magazines.
Kalagas has been with the magazine for over six years now and said it’s been such a joy to work at frankie and she still gets a thrill when she sees the finished product on the shelves. “Since starting as editorial assistant (working with former editor Jo Walker) and stepping up into the editor role in 2016, I’ve watched the brand grow and change, while still staying true to the mission of providing beautiful, authentic, inspired and inclusive content,” said Kalagas.
“Most recently, it’s been exciting to expand into new areas like podcasting and reader events, and to launch both the frankie Good Stuff Awards and our small business-focused platform Strictly Business.
“Our branded content division has been growing rapidly in print and online with strong engagement between readers and our wonderful clients. There’s always something fun and fresh on the boil, and new creatives to learn about and work with, so there’s certainly never a dull moment.”
Kalagas revealed frankie has a wonderful, tight-knit team that works closely together across editorial, design, sales and marketing. “Everyone is so passionate about the brand and what we’re creating (but we’ll often stop for a snack break and chat about the latest reality TV drama, too),” said Kalagas. Some of the team include Gaye Murray as general manager, Caitlin Wynne as senior designer, Jess Hope as marketing manager and Victoria Yelland Riddell as national advertising manager.
Kalagas said what differentiates frankie from other like-minded magazines is that it’s not driven by trends, but genuine curiosity and delight, and the same can be said for their editorial approach. “We’re at a point now where people use the word ‘frankie’ as shorthand for a certain look. A product will be described as ‘so frankie’, and that style comes from a genuine love for the vintage and quirky, beautiful photography and interesting handmade things,” explained Kalagas.
“We connect with our readers like a friend that’s warm, welcoming and non-judgmental, and they really appreciate that – we’re forever being thanked for creating a magazine that doesn’t make them feel insecure about their body, their interests and their bank balance. We’ve actually recently launched a series of events called ‘mate dates’ that allows us to connect with readers on a face-to-face level – something our audience has been super-excited by.
“Overall, there’s an authenticity in our desire to celebrate, inspire and empower the local creative community, backed up with quality storytelling and a little bit of not-quite-right humour.”
According to frankie’s media kit, the magazine has a bi-monthly readership of over 335,000 and a monthly masthead reach of over 1,167,000. Kalagas said frankie’s readers are smart, funny, creatively inclined and kind-hearted, with a genuine curiosity about the world around them. “They’re also super-loyal, and tend to stick with frankie as they move through different stages of their lives,” said Kalagas.
“We’re always blown away by their level of engagement on social media, starting conversations and jumping on board with new campaigns. While the majority are female, our male readership is increasing, and we’re continuing to expand into international markets, as well.”
In terms of advertising, Kalagas mentioned frankie has a wonderful relationship with many long-standing advertising clients. “They come to us for both the high quality of our products, but also the incredible engagement and emotional investment of their audience. We’re able to offer them effective solutions across multiple platforms, including the print magazine, website, social media, brand extensions, events and podcasts,” said Kalagas.
“Programs like the frankie Good Stuff Awards allow sponsors to really connect with the frankie reader on every level, including in person at our awards night.” According to their site, “70% of readers have purchased something after seeing it in frankie” and the magazine is an “exclusive advertising environment – 70% editorial / 30% advertising”.
Kalagas said they’ve had so many incredible people appear in their pages, from well-known names to regular folks with really thought-provoking stories. “Chatting to director John Waters was a standout – he acted as a (somewhat inappropriate) agony aunt, responding to hypothetical, tricky situations that might arise in someone’s life,” said Kalagas.
“Some of the most memorable interviews have come from left field, though, like the ‘forensic jeweller’ who uses her technical knowledge of jewellery to help law enforcers solve crimes, and the Dutch physician who created a safe space for women to receive medical abortions – 20 kilometres out to sea.”
Kalagas explained to Mediaweek that while their readers have very diverse interests and respond to anything from an artist feature to a kooky fashion shoot or delicious recipe, it tends to be their real-life content that really strikes a chord. “Every issue, we’re bombarded with letters about people who’ve shared their life stories in our pages, or delved into a personal gripe or insecurity – usually in a very funny, relatable way,” said Kalagas.
“It creates a real sense of community and connection, bringing frankie readers together with our contributors and in-house team. We’re all dealing with a lot of the same things, after all.”