Eight years in the field

Ghyslain Armand, Publication Director at PGVG magazine (photo: Sébastien Duijndam)

PGVG magazine has been distributed to French vaping professionals since 2014. What conclusions do you draw after all these years in the field?

Lots of stories, people I’ve met. Over these eight years, my experience has always been of a real social movement, which is the very foundation of vaping. I come from the world of social psychology and I have always been curious to understand how social stereotypes are formed and transformed as time goes by. When this tool appeared on the market, we saw some very striking social phenomena, which moved through phases of fear, questioning and identification. When you add an incredible wave of commercial enthusiasm to the mix, that gives a real cocktail of information and the journalist just need to take a look to find interesting subjects. These eight years of publishing perfectly reflect all these changes and the richness of a sector which never stops. Since 2014, I think we have succeeded in producing a magazine which has an important place in the business of information for this very unique community.

Publishing is a difficult activity commercially, how to you keep developing your business despite the constant rise in production costs?

By a lot of head-scratching. Publishing is an accounting nightmare. You just need to look at the amounts awarded in the grants to the main national newspapers to understand that without public assistance, the French press would be even more bleak than it already is. This is even truer when it comes to a free periodical, which therefore does not benefit from any aid or pricing advantage in its distribution. We have to self-finance everything through advertising. It is a permanent source of stress, but is there really any business that is not stressful, you may ask? The price of paper has become even more volatile with the butterfly effect of the various crises which are all interlinked. We are also moving in a frankly hostile environment, from a commercial point of view, but this drives us to find solutions, be creative and methodical in our cost analyses. By adding high-quality content and real editorial values, PGVG remains a sound media which continues to develop in line with the market. We are preparing a big strategic move for the end of this year which I am very enthusiastic about. We are going to join the Vaping Post brand in a new A4 format with improved content which will have a much bigger audience thanks to the combination of print and digital.

A new audience both in France and abroad

A printed magazine for the pros and websites for the general public under the same banner: how did this new strategy come together?

First of all, by listening to our customers, the companies which advertise on our pages. The French professionals are very frustrated by the fact that they cannot communicate with the general public. The number of bricks-and-mortar shops in France, for example, is fairly limited. There are only a few thousand contact points at most. Even though they are extremely well-targeted, communication from an e-liquid manufacturer needs to address professional retailers and also the end consumers who are going to be vaping their liquids. We had to find a way to increase the outreach of our information beyond simply the shops.

Our printed content will be translated and distributed on the Internet to feed the 500,000 pages viewed monthly which the Vaping Post already generates today.

As the Vaping Post is a media with a very wide audience, we thought it would be a good idea to join forces and simplify our identity as a printed magazine. We share the same editorial positions and have been working together for years in various content production. It is time to go big and offer our readers and advertisers a broader vision of our specialised information and widen our audience to international professionals and customers. The Vaping Post speaks three of the most commonly used languages in the world, and this represents a real change of course for us. Our printed content will be translated and distributed on the Internet to feed the 500,000 pages viewed monthly which the media already generates today. In this way, readers will benefit from information intended both for professionals, such as interviews or surveys, and other more customer-orientated information. The advertisers we support will have the twofold opportunity to address both types of public, and also on several continents, to optimise their communication. It is a real plus for all our readers and advertisers. We are very excited at this idea of opening up to the world.

What is the calendar for all of this? When will we be able to discover the new version of Vaping Post magazine?

The first edition of Vaping Post magazine will come out in January 2023 and will be distributed for free, as usual, to all French professionals. For the Internet side of things, the digital magazine will be available on vapingpost.fr and some of our content will also be re-adapted and published on the website a few weeks after publication in three different languages: English, Arabic and French of course.

What will the main highlights of this new paper magazine be?

Vaping Post magazine will be firmly focused on the products and activity of the market in order to satisfy the needs of shop owners looking, above all, to expand their offer by following the right trends. We are therefore going to step up our reviews of e-liquids and general public equipment. We will continue to go out and meet the people who shape the market and those who defend it, in particular among health professionals and scientists, all of this in a more standardised A4 format. PGVG magazine has always been in a smaller size, and it is sometimes complicated, graphically speaking. We will be able to give our columns a bit more room and showcase our photographers’ pictures. Combined with the quality of the paper on which we are used to printing, we promise you a modern and very professional Vaping Post magazine.

We are moving to the A4 format and stepping up our product content and free services for companies.

We have also strengthened our links with the economic and legal community so as to provide our professional readers with even more useful information for their market analyses and strategic development, both on the European market, where we are already well-connected thanks to our relationship with Vaping Post, on the Middle-Eastern market and in America. Vaping Post magazine aims to become a real working tool for the pros in the sector.

To the e-liquid news and updates on transfers on the vaping sector job front which we already offer for free to all companies, we will be adding promotional offers exclusively reserved for our readers in the form of limited-period discount vouchers. In this way, retailers will be able to seize unique sales opportunities thanks to our magazine.

A major issue for the image of the sector with the authorities

In Vaping Post magazine you will never find any advertisements from the tobacco industry and even less so for hemp flowers for smoking.

We know that each time our magazine comes out, its pages are read by the health authorities. For this reason, we feel this responsibility to disseminate fair, balanced information which highlights the professionalism of the sector and which constantly reminds everyone what we are fighting: smoking. Therefore, you will never find in Vaping Post magazine, as was already the case in PGVG magazine, advertisements from the tobacco industry and even less so for hemp flowers, the final purpose of which is obviously burning. Being a channel for communication from the professionals also enables us to control the form and content of the messages we convey. We take our role as editor very seriously and I think that the advertisers understand this perfectly. The political stakes are still very high today and we must all show our professionalism.

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