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History and Background of “Essence” Magazine

Essence, a lifestyle magazine specializing in beauty, culture, entertainment, and fashion, is a monthly magazine first published in 1970 for African American women. Essence Communication Inc. (ECI), the media that publishes Essence Magazine, was founded in 1968 by Cecile Hollingsworth, Clarence O. Smith, Edward Lewis, and Jonathan Blount (Jacinta 2). ECI’s first publication, Essence Magazine, came two years later, in 1970, realizing the African American woman was an overlooked demographic. After establishing the gap and the need to capitalize on it, the initial circulation of the magazine was approximately 50,000 monthly copies, which subsequently grew to about 1.6 million (Jacinta 2).

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In 1997, Essence reached an estimated five million copies monthly, where thirty percent of the readers were men. The number has since grown to over 20 million using immersive original content and diverse storytelling. Essence Communications Inc. also associated with the publication of two other publications.

The cost for publishing an advertisement in a magazine varies depending on the size of the ad. The 2021 ad publishing rates show a full-page range between $30,250 and $32,260, depending on the page where the ad appears. The same system used in determining the cost of publication shows that for a half-page ad, changes range from $15,807 to $16,800 and likewise depending on the page the ad appears (About n.p.). For a quarter page and an eighth page ad, the rates vary between $8,729 – $8,800 and $4,328 – $4,600 respectively.

The target audience for Essence Magazine is an African American female with an average age of 44 years. With its content primarily founded on the African American woman like 31 days of black beauty, Zendaya, up-and-coming writers, the magazine is more than a mainstream magazine like Vogue (Jacinta 4). Filled with articles on the stories of African American women and their success stories, the magazine tells stories that highlight the trials and tribulations of the black female on her way to success. The various articles published by Essence give multiple accounts that target the more mature female audience and a younger audience. Using stories on child-raising, the magazine also targets an audience of young mothers who are 18 years.

Initially, the assumption was that the target audience for Essence Magazine was 18 years and over. Partially, the assumption was correct because as shown, the magazine targets 18-year-old parents. The similarity between the speculation and the magazine is that both aim to reach out to the 18 year-olds and educate them on the affairs surrounding them. To reach its target audience, Essence generates interest in particular topics that attract its audience with the same interests. For example, the magazine publishes articles on fashion and lifestyle, among other issues, relevant sensitive topics with its audience. Therefore, they resonate with the readers and make it more attractive to them.

The proper position of ads is significant because it directs the right traffic to the product hence enhancing possibilities of the product being noticed. No matter how good an ad is, wrongful positioning in magazines minimizes the parameters that improve ad campaigns and efficiency (Smallish 17). In the magazine, the publisher placed the advertisement before the table of content. With the primary intent to attract the highest number of potential buyers, positioning the ad before the table of contents was critical to ensure they could be immersed in other information.

Cited Works

Jacinta R. S. Celebrating 50Years of Essence as A Black Women’s Archive. Black Perspective. 2020.

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“About.” Essence. Web.

Smallish, Craig. Designing a Print Ad. Carpenteria, CA linkedin. 2018.

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