Can magazines learn lessons from a smoothie?

In a few hours, I’ll be in a meeting that explores some important questions: How should we (re)create the Arizona Attorney Magazine web page? What can and should we include on it? And how can we do all that with few (people) resources?

But as I prepare for the discussion, an intriguing news story crossed my desk. It reports that McDonalds expects to hire up to 1,000 new Arizona employees as quickly as possible.

What’s the rush, fast-food giant?

Well, the skinny on the fattening-food provider is this: The demand for their newest beverage offerings—including their smoothies that seek to grind Starbucks’ beans into dust—is so great that they need lots more people.

In fact, the demand for that one family of products is so great that they are ramping up hiring. So many customers crave the sweet, sweet libation—which is dispensed by pushing a button—that a thousand new hires are required in one state alone.

A McCafe Mobile Dispensary

Not only that: Around the globe, they’ve launched an old-school mobile strategy, which includes vans with trailers that swoop down on unsuspecting consumers to offer samples of “The Gateway DrinkTM.” People who had no idea that they deserved a high-calorie liquid meal between meals are being introduced to a bevy of beverages.

As the proprietor of a product and service myself, let me be the first to say: I’m jealous.

At this morning’s meeting about the magazine, a few of us will try to decide whether to include blogs, videos, podcasts, surveys and news streams to the magazine’s web offerings. (I’m going to vote “Yes.”) Coupled with our print offerings, these products would be valuable services that enhance our readers’ work, and maybe bring smiles to their faces.

But out of all that, it’s hard to predict if we’ll land a category-killer like McDonalds has.

To help aim for that, though, maybe I’ll pitch a new idea: The Arizona Attorney Webaccino. Fewer calories, more bytes, accessible via your mobile device, no drive-through necessary. Sure, an hour later, you’ll say, “I can’t believe I consumed that.” But that’s the price we pay for progress.

Tomorrow, I’ll tell you how our meeting went. And I’ll share a few of the other magazine websites we reviewed as we seek best practices in magazine web pages.

And who knows: Maybe we’ll decide that nothing would improve the reader experience more than a side of fries.

Here is the McDonalds news story.

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