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Not Your Father’s Engine Builder

I’ve actually lost track of how long it’s been since people started claiming print was dead. It’s been a while! Now, I understand the ‘print is dead’ claim might be different for newspapers than it is for magazines, but I can tell you this – the content landscape has certainly been shifting.

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When I look back at the content we were producing for Engine Builder just seven or eight years ago, it feels strange to say it was a simpler time, but it’s true. I don’t mean that our content was simpler back then, because it wasn’t. I mean it was simple because we focused so heavily on content solely for the 12 print magazines throughout the year. 

That was all that really mattered to our audience and to our advertisers then. Sure, we had the website, enewsletters, the latest news and product info, and the odd supplement too, but most of it was the same content regurgitated from the magazine. It sort of existed to exist, not because it was a conscientious effort to create new content and develop an audience away from print.

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Contrast those days with today, and the amount of content we produce now, makes my head spin sometimes. The content landscape has indeed changed. Of course, much of that has been because of you, the reader, who has told us over the years that we need to be producing content specifically for different channels such as social media, the website and video on YouTube if we want to capture those eyeballs, but the print magazine had still been king and at the center of it all. 

In more recent years, our audience, like our content, has expanded. Engine Builder is no longer just professional engine builders, machinists, racers, manufacturers, and other industry folks. That group is still our core, but the audience now includes the customers of that core as well as the DIYers and enthusiasts that make up the greater automotive performance marketplace. Not only has our audience grown, but it continues to support our content in all places, especially the magazine.

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Where print has lost specifically, is with the advertising community. Despite readers eagerly awaiting each month’s issue, we continue to see print revenue dip and we continue to hear from advertisers that they want to spend marketing dollars in other mediums besides print. Since ad dollars keep the lights on around here, we’ve been forced to pivot with content that is more digital focused moving forward.

In response, for 2022, our print frequency will drop from 12 issues to 6, to reflect this change in advertising spend. We know this sounds like a bad thing. IT’S NOT! And, this doesn’t mean less content. IT MEANS MORE CONTENT. We may only be printing 6 issues next year, but we’ve been ready for this moment and we’ve been changing right along with the content landscape too. 

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The magazine might have been a huge focal point in year’s past, but over the last 5 years, we’ve been consistently developing new digital content and a robust digital audience to consume that content. Engine Builder now offers the magazine and so much more across a number of digital platforms for our audience and advertisers alike to enjoy.

In fact, we don’t even think about content on a monthly basis anymore, but rather on a weekly and daily basis. Successful content programs like our Engine of the Week and Diesel of the Week series have shown us the power of creating content across different channels. Thanks to the growth of those programs in particular, we have a robust audience on social media and YouTube that’s chomping at the bit for more from us. So what did we do? We’ve been giving the audience more. 

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Maybe you’ve seen our Instagram Live Takeovers every other week featuring prominent engine builders from around the country? Maybe you’ve seen or attended our interactive livestream events? Maybe you’ve enjoyed learning engine building tips and tricks from contributors like Steve Morris in his ‘Steve Tech’ video series or Danny Soliz in his ‘Danny Soliz Says’ video series? Or maybe you’ve been entertained by ‘Industry Insiders’ interviews, ‘Intellectual Horsepower’ conversations and ‘Mild vs. Wild’ videos? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Trust us, there’s plenty more to come as we look to 2022.

The printed Engine Builder magazine might be coming to your mailbox less frequently next year, but the Engine Builder brand will be more visible than ever, and in every digital realm imaginable. All you need to do is make sure you’re following along. Remember, it’s not your father’s Engine Builder anymore! EB

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