KIDS FIRST!’s partnership with Grand magazine - the first magazine for Boomer grandparents - has proved a natural fit. “One of the No. 1 things grandparents are looking for is things to do with [their] grandkids,” says the magazine’s editor and founder Christine Crosby, noting that participating in an activity with their grandkids ranks right up there with safety and security. Sharing experiences is what builds a bond, Crosby emphasizes, and the strength of KIDS FIRST! is its focus on “what’s going to give the child a positive entertainment experience.” With time at a premium, she points out, “Having someone who prescreens makes it better, so we don’t waste our time.”
Begun as a local magazine for grandparents in the St. Petersburg, Fla., area, Grand now has 100,000 readers through direct subscription and another 300,00-plus through disctribution of partner organizations, reaching grandparents all over the world. The idea of a magazine for grandparents was so unique when it launched in 2004 that the business article about it in a St. Petersburg paper was picked up by national services, and Crosby recalls her office was deluged with calls from people all over the country asking, “How do I get your magazine?” Babies R Us came in as a distribution partner, and the magazine went national with its second issue.
To reach even more readers, Grand initiated a “Grand Partners for Grandparents” program to connect with large-membership organizations that had an appropriate demographic. “We offered visibility in our digital edition and asked them to send the link to their members in their electronic newsletter and on their website,” Crosby says. Generations United, with its 800,000 members, is one of the many organizations Grand now partners with – and that KIDS FIRST, through its partnership with Grand, now reaches with its reviews of children’s entertainment.
The magazine evolved from a book series Crosby had been asked to do for the Florida Kinship Center at the University of South Florida on children being raised by their grandparents. Crosby, who had previously launched other family-related magazines, realized there was an unmet need for a magazine for grandparents. And a very hip audience it is, she notes. The audience has stayed with Grand as it transitioned from print to online-only, and Crosby is thrilled with the format as it allows the magazine to offer multi-media content that includes audio entertainment, videos and animation. The publication has also expanded to a radio show and an iPad app.
In all, Grand remains a content-driven publication, and KIDS FIRST! has been a valued partner since 2008 in its mission to serve grandparents. Says Crosby, “It was a perfect hook-up with Ranny, with [KIDS FIRST!’s] focus on children, and positive entertainment and edu-tainment for them.”