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Mornings With Jesus Magazine Joins Guideposts In ‘Guiding’ The Way Spiritually; A New Launch From The Folks Who Brought Hope And Inspiration To Millions – The Mr. Magazine™ Interview With John Temple, President & CEO, Guideposts

June 2, 2015

“The industry has gone through some peaks and valleys. I can remember when some of the people, where I serve on the board; some of the people there would say well, print is dead. We have to shift to digital; we have to get out because of postage and paper and all of these kinds of things. We don’t have to do that anymore. People understand that there is a very valuable role for print. And people like the tactile feel. In my view, print is never going to go away. It’s never going to go away.” John Temple

The Mr. Magazine™ Reports from the IMAG conference.

A prototype cover of the new magazine Mornings with JESUS.

A prototype cover of the new magazine Mornings with JESUS.

In a world oftentimes filled with frenetic and spiraling conflicts, cataclysmic happenings and mayhem in general, it seems natural and spontaneous that people would begin a quest for a more peaceful and even-keeled existence, where life becomes more inspirational and there is a meaning and a method to the madness. And one place the masses are turning to for that piece of spirituality and comfort is magazines and magazine media. The trend is becoming one of the most popular in the industry today and with good reason.

For 70 years Guideposts has been leading the pack when it comes to content that is encouraging, uplifting and inspirational and the brand shows no sign of slowing down now, with the upcoming launch of a new magazine in the wings and a deep commitment to both their print and digital platforms. My own memories of Guideposts date back to 1979 when my first feature writing professor in the United States, Ben Peterson, was one of the magazine’s senior editors. I was able to learn a lot about Guideposts, the magazine, first hand from him, and until now, my learning about this inspirational magazine has never ceased.

So, during the IMAG Annual Conference, which took place May 18th to 20th in Boulder, Colorado; I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with John Temple, president and CEO of Guideposts, to talk about the magazine and the brand. From the spiritual movement which seems to be sweeping the land and the magazine industry, to the strategy Guideposts is implementing to fulfill and keep up with its audience’s needs; John and I talked the spectrum about the magazine, the brand and the new launch: Mornings with Jesus. It was as informative a discussion as the conference itself was. I thoroughly enjoyed John’s take on the subject matter and was excited to hear about yet another new title we can all welcome into the fold.

So, sit back and be inspired and encouraged by the Guideposts brand, which has been providing those comforts for generations as you read the Mr. Magazine™ reports from the IMAG conference with John Temple, President & CEO, Guideposts.

But first, the sound-bites:


IMG_6730 On his opinion about the sudden spirituality trend in magazine media:
I think the country is changing. The country is getting older and the baby boomers are getting older, so they start thinking about things that maybe they didn’t think about when they were young and building careers and having children and all of these kinds of things. I think there’s a natural progression to faith and religion and some of the other things. It may manifest itself in different ways because people aren’t so much going to church as they used to. But I don’t think that they’re any less spiritual than they were.

On his strategy for leading the company in today’s digital world:
In my view, this is the best of all times. I’ve been in this business a long, long time and I’ve never seen the opportunities so great for companies like ours, media companies, content companies, inspirational and religious companies, because we can now use the digital environment to build communities and talk to different groups in ways that we could never do it before.

On how he plans to double the company’s digital revenue: We’re going to do it really by leveraging digital and brands and making sure that we use a lot of the digital content and the digital audiences that we have. We have 800,000 people on Facebook, and they really are our friends, and yet we don’t do anything with them now. We don’t tell them about anything that we’re doing.

On the launch of the new title, Mornings with Jesus:
When I came back two years ago, they had this book that they had created in 2010 called Mornings with Jesus, it was daily devotionals. And I looked at it and I said wow; I love that brand. It’s a tremendous brand. And you can just see a young mother in her kitchen, the sun’s shining through, she’s got a cup of coffee there; the kids have gone to school; she hasn’t gone to work yet and she opens up this magazine called Mornings with Jesus. And it’s just really, really powerful.

On the fact that the company is moving toward a more Christian perspective, rather than the Judeo-Christian views the brand was founded upon:
The reason for that is we haven’t left the Judeo-Christian point-of-view with Guideposts and others, but we’re broadening the reach. So, we’re reaching into people who want a little more than what we had provided, because there’s a connection there, a kind of funnel. You bring in a whole bunch of people through Guideposts and the faith and inspiration, but as you go down the funnel there are people who want more and more of the religious component. So, we’re providing that.

On whether the new magazine, Mornings with Jesus, will be ad-free:
It’s going to be ad-free for a while. We have to see how this thing is going to work and we’re going to grow it organically.

On the new title’s circulation base: We’re looking for 100,000 at the end of the fiscal year within the next 12 months. But we’re going to do a lot of testing.

On whether he sees today’s market as a return to the ‘power-of-print’ days:
Absolutely. The industry has gone through some peaks and valleys. I can remember when some of the people, where I serve on the board; some of the people there would say well, print is dead. We have to shift to digital; we have to get out because of postage and paper and all of these kinds of things. We don’t have to do that anymore. People understand that there is a very valuable role for print.

On the major stumbling block he’s had to face and overcome since becoming CEO of Guideposts:
The digital component has to sit at the same table with print; it has to. So that when you talk about a new idea; it isn’t just a print idea, it can be a digital idea or a digital handprint as well. And that’s the biggest task, to get people to understand that and kind of unlearn old habits.

On what keeps him up at night:
I do worry; I’m taking such a big transformation risk and I’ll kind of wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, am I right? Do I really have the vision right? I do worry a little about that.

And now the lightly edited transcription of the Mr. Magazine™ conversation with John Temple, President & CEO, Guideposts.

Samir Husni: Suddenly, there seems to be a resurgence of spiritual-like magazines. We saw this recently with Simple Grace and the many bookazines about Jesus, Mary and the Bible. Of course, Guideposts has been doing this for 70 years or so. What do you think about this trend? Is the country changing; is the overall mood changing, or are people simply looking for some kind of relief?

John Temple: Yes, I think the country is changing. The country is getting older and the baby boomers are getting older, so they start thinking about things that maybe they didn’t think about when they were young and building careers and having children and all of these kinds of things. I think there’s a natural progression to faith and religion and some of the other things. It may manifest itself in different ways because people aren’t so much going to church as they used to. But I don’t think that they’re any less spiritual than they were.

The other area which I find very exciting is the new millennials. These people are coming along and they have a commitment; a social commitment; a spiritual commitment and it’s not manifested in the same old ways, but it’s there and I have great hopes for that generation, and for the changes that they’ll bring about in this country.

Samir Husni: How do you think Guideposts is adapting to all of these changes? Is it benefiting from these changes, especially since we now live in a digital age and you’re reaching both the millennials and the baby boomers? What’s your strategy; how are you leading the company now in this digital age?

IMG_6731 John Temple: In my view, this is the best of all times. I’ve been in this business a long, long time and I’ve never seen the opportunities so great for companies like ours, media companies, content companies, inspirational and religious companies, because we can now use the digital environment to build communities and talk to different groups in ways that we could never do it before.

Samir Husni: And you mentioned in your speech that you’re hoping to double your digital revenue; how are you going to do that?

John Temple: We’re going to do it really by leveraging digital and brands and making sure that we use a lot of the digital content and the digital audiences that we have. We have 800,000 people on Facebook, and they really are our friends, and yet we don’t do anything with them now. We don’t tell them about anything that we’re doing. We’re launching this new magazine next month and we’re going to tell them; we’re going to say hey, come to the Guideposts website because we have a new magazine that we think you would really be interested in. So, there’s going to be a lot of cross-fertilization between digital, promotion and print and just everything else that we’re doing.

Samir Husni: Can you tell me a little bit about the new magazine?

John Temple: It’s called Mornings with Jesus. When I came back two years ago, they had this book that they had created in 2010 called Mornings with Jesus, it was daily devotionals. And I looked at it and I said wow; I love that brand. It’s a tremendous brand. And you can just see a young mother in her kitchen, the sun’s shining through, she’s got a cup of coffee there; the kids have gone to school; she hasn’t gone to work yet and she opens up this magazine called Mornings with Jesus. And it’s just really, really powerful.

And what we’ve found is the test results are spectacular. They’re just wonderful. And we’ve tested some outside lists and things like that and it’s going to lists that we don’t normally mail. We tested a whole bunch of different ideas; we tested the donor’s campaign; we tested the fundraising club and we tested the magazine; all three of them worked.

Samir Husni: With Mornings with Jesus; you’re taking the company one more step toward Christianity, rather than the Judeo-Christian principles that were what Guideposts was based on.

image.aspx John Temple: That’s very astute. Yes and the reason for that is we haven’t left the Judeo-Christian point-of-view with Guideposts and others, but we’re broadening the reach. So, we’re reaching into people who want a little more than what we had provided, because there’s a connection there, a kind of funnel. You bring in a whole bunch of people through Guideposts and the faith and inspiration, but as you go down the funnel there are people who want more and more of the religious component. So, we’re providing that.

Samir Husni: And is it going to be ad-free, or are you going to be depending on advertising, circulation and digital?

John Temple: It’s going to be ad-free for a while. We have to see how this thing is going to work and we’re going to grow it organically. We’ll see about ads as time goes on.

Samir Husni: Any idea about the circulation?

John Temple: We’re looking for 100,000 at the end of the fiscal year within the next 12 months. But we’re going to do a lot of testing. So, within the next year we’ll know where this magazine is going.

Samir Husni: Any newsstands or just subscriptions for now?

John Temple: Not yet, just subscriptions.

Samir Husni: So, I need to know how to get my copy then. (Laughs)

John Temple: (Laughs too) We’ll send you one.

Samir Husni: It seems that suddenly we are seeing almost every media company in this country going back to print. How has your experience been with Guideposts; it was one of the largest magazines in the country and I’m sure you suffered when everybody else suffered. So, are you seeing the power of print coming back now?

John Temple: Absolutely. The industry has gone through some peaks and valleys. I can remember when some of the people, where I serve on the board; some of the people there would say well, print is dead. We have to shift to digital; we have to get out because of postage and paper and all of these kinds of things. We don’t have to do that anymore. People understand that there is a very valuable role for print. And people like the tactile feel. In my view, print is never going to go away. It’s never going to go away.

Samir Husni: Since you became the CEO of Guideposts; what has been the major stumbling block that you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?

John Temple: The major stumbling block was, as I said in my speech today, was to really get people to understand about digital. And I used the expression ‘infused Guideposts with a digital soul’ which really means putting the digital component into the DNA of the company. The digital component has to sit at the same table with print; it has to. So that when you talk about a new idea; it isn’t just a print idea, it can be a digital idea or a digital handprint as well. And that’s the biggest task, to get people to understand that and kind of unlearn old habits.

Samir Husni: My typical last question; what keeps you up at night?

John Temple: (Laughs) I just get very excited about everything. I wake up in the middle of the night and I have things on my mind and I just can’t go back to sleep. And some of my best ideas come at 3:00 a.m.

But I do worry; I’m taking such a big transformation risk and I’ll kind of wake up in the middle of the night and ask myself, am I right? Do I really have the vision right? I do worry a little about that.

Samir Husni: Thank you.

2 comments

  1. How can I get gift subscriptions to Mornings with Jesus Magazine?


  2. Please give me information how to subscribe to Mornings With Jesus



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