5 minutes with… John Baulch, Publisher of Toy World Magazine
Let us know a bit more about your background in the toy industry
I joined a B2B publishing company straight from school. Among some frankly uninspiring titles, the company also published Toy Trader. Toys seemed to be a far more interesting subject matter, and I managed to find my way onto the title. From there, I was headhunted by my former boss to join him at his new magazine, Toys N Playthings, where I stayed for the next 28 years before the most exciting part of my toy industry journey – launching my own publication, Toy World, five years ago.
In 5 words, sum up Toy World magazine
Voice of the toy industry.
What’s the best way for brands to be included in the magazine?
The best way is to establish an ongoing dialogue and partnership with us. Engage with us, talk to us, share with us – we don’t bite, and we want to know what you’re looking to achieve so we can discuss how best we can help and support you.
In your opinion, what makes a good story?
Something which contains information to help the decision-making process of our readership. We’re always looking for stories that are interesting and relevant, and if we can have them before our competitors, that is even better.
What is the biggest mistake that brands/PRs make when pitching a story to you?
Understanding who our readers are is a good start; Toy World is a B2B title, not a consumer magazine. You would be astonished at how many releases we receive – even from major PR companies – which are primarily intended for the consumer press and written as though they are talking to a mother (often in a bewilderingly patronising tone!) or even a small child, rather than a professional retail buyer. Other big faux pas include trying to pitch a story that says absolutely nothing; bad spelling / grammar and stories sent with no images.
What can brands/PRs do to improve their approach?
Talk to us, we can work with you to plan the best approach. We know our readership, we know what they’re looking for and we know how best to deliver the information. There are many different options, both in print and online, so there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution – tailoring the medium to the message will always help to achieve maximum impact.
What is the industry going to be most talking about in 2017?
The challenges presented by the plummeting pound. It is trading around 20% lower against both the Dollar and the Euro than it was before the Brexit vote, and this will inevitably lead to price rises. How this situation is managed by suppliers and retailers to avoid damaging sales volumes will have a huge bearing on the performance of the toy market, not just in 2017, but I suspect for years to come.