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February-March 2021

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What You Told Us (About ONE Magazine)

By Eric K. Thomsen, Managing Editor


In fall 2020, ONE Magazine conducted a nationwide survey of readers and received an excellent number of responses. The survey explored reader demographics, reader interaction with the magazine, reader preferred content, and solicited suggestions for improvement.



What did the survey tell us about you, our ONE Magazine readers? The vast majority (96.46%) of readers are adults above the age of 30. Male readers (66.77%) outnumber ladies (33.23%) by a two-to-one margin.

ONE subscribers enjoy magazines! Over 75% of readers receive two or more magazines to their homes each month, in addition to ONE Magazine. Nine in ten readers (86.86%) indicate they prefer the print version of the magazine. While the survey indicates readers participate widely in social media (primarily Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube), only 7% prefer an online or digital copy of ONE.

For the most part, subscribers thoroughly engage with the magazine when reading, with 71.8% indicating they read all or most of the magazine. And 87.5% of readers keep each issue of the magazine a month or longer.


The Magazine

What do readers think about the magazine? An overwhelming majority are pleased with the quality, indicating excellent or good in the following areas: content (94.21%), design (94.23%), ease of reading (94.89%), writing (90.39%), and stories of interest (84.62%).

While ONE readers express broad interest in the magazine’s content, they are most interested in news, with 95.48% reading the news and 96.46% describing the news as beneficial and informative. Articles and columns are also widely read.

Topics of most interest include biblical/doctrinal content, missions, real life experiences, devotional articles, and pieces dealing with current events and issues. Readers expressed the least interest in financial information and denominational updates.

The concluding questions of the survey offered readers the opportunity to provide subjective responses indicating what they like/don’t like about ONE Magazine and to offer suggestions. As might be expected, these responses are as unique as the readers themselves, but they fall into eight general “categories” of observations and suggestions (in no particular order).

  1. Don’t stop producing a print magazine.

  2. Move from bimonthly to monthly.

  3. Use a more diverse writer base, with fewer repeating authors.

  4. Avoid long, hard-to-understand articles.

  5. Columns are well-read and loved.

  6. Produce less departmental and financial information.

  7. Provide more real life and real ministry accounts of Free Will Baptists.

  8. Finally, no surprise: readers simply do not like advertising, even in a free magazine.


The Takeaways

As the managing editor of the magazine, after closely considering the results of the survey, I have come to eight simple observations:

  • Overall, the results of the survey were encouraging, as they were overwhelmingly positive. Free Will Baptists both enjoy and appreciate ONE Magazine. As managing editor, I was especially pleased to see high marks for design, writing, and ease-of-reading, and I applaud the editors, designers, and printers who work so hard to make the magazine excellent. And thank you, both for reading ONE and for your kind comments.

  • As a magazine staff, we need to do a better job of communicating that ONE Magazine is for women, too. Obviously, we are not reaching our ladies. We will do this through promotion, more content written by and for women, and by partnering with WNAC to change this perception. We truly value the women of our denomination.

  • Although ONE Magazine news always feels somewhat outdated to the editorial staff, due to the infrequency of the magazine, it is not only relevant to readers but obviously important. With this in mind, we have already placed a renewed emphasis on news stories and articles.

  • While columns and news are popular, good articles—specifically real-life accounts and quality
    biblical/doctrinal pieces—are what keep readers coming back. We will continue to strive to produce high-quality, engaging articles. The survey makes it clear stories of interest could be better.

  • While readers prefer the magazine in print, they are also heavily engaged in social media. This is an untapped resource for the magazine, and steps have already been taken to reach a new—and perhaps younger—audience with content unique to the web and social media, including video content and

  • I’m burdened by the lack of younger readers but not surprised. A magazine can only reach a limited demographic. ONE Magazine targets readers ages 35-plus and is effectively reaching that audience. As mentioned previously, however, we will work to find other avenues to engage younger readers and communicate to them in an appealing way.

  • Print is still the overwhelming preference of our readers. While making use of the latest technology, we need to focus great effort into producing a top-quality print magazine in every aspect.

  • I agree with readers 100% when it comes to a monthly magazine. Nothing would make this editor happier than to produce 12 issues a year. However, after careful financial analysis, it is clear, for now, a monthly issue is cost prohibitive. To offset this need for additional magazines, we will work to produce bonus issues of PULP1T magazine each year, as finances allow, and partner with the Executive Office to provide other top-quality training, theological, and devotional books and content.

Thank you to everyone who took time to complete the reader survey. Your feedback will guide us into the future as we continue to do our best to make ONE Magazine all it can be.

About the Writer: Eric K. Thomsen has been managing editor of ONE Magazine since the publication began in 2005. The former art and marketing director for Randall House Publications, he has served as president of the Evangelical Press Association and is a member of the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission. Eric and his wife Jennifer attend Bethel Free Will Baptist Church near Ashland City, Tennessee, where he serves as music director.


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