The great outdoors is truly one of the defining features of the United States. From our sprawling public lands to our diverse and ample wildlife, getting outside is a beloved way of life for many Americans. When we can't get out and hit the trail, however, the next best thing is to read about it. In this article, we'll take a close look at one of the leading voices in the outdoor journalism space, Outside Magazine.
There are a lot of different periodicals to choose from when seeking the best features, how-to articles, and gear reviews about the outdoors. With so many options out there to choose from, it can be hard to decide which outlets are worth your reading time. With a proven track record of high-quality and professional journalism, Outside has earned its reputation as one of the very best sources for coverage on all the most relevant topics in the outdoors industry.
The outdoor industry is one of the largest and most profitable in the nation. It encompasses activities as diverse as hunting, fishing, and adventure travel and brings nearly $800 billion into the US economy every year. With its diverse range of topics and perspectives, Outside Magazine has become a trusted source for the growing trends and compelling stories within this passion-filled industry.
About Outside Magazine
Outside Magazine was founded in 1977 as a collaboration between Rolling Stone founder Jann Wenner, publisher William Randolph Hearst III, and President Gerald Ford's son, Jack Ford. They issued their first print copies in 1978 with the stated mission of "covering the people, activities, politics, art, and literature of the outdoors". The magazine gained nearly instant traction, and Wenner sold his interest in Outside to Mariah Magazine founder Lawrence J. Burke two years after its founding.
Burke briefly ran the magazine under the name Mariah/Outside before returning it the original name. Since the merger with Mariah, Outside Magazine has provided a launch board for a number of writers who are now famous, including John Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. Other notable contributors include Bruce Barcott, Tim Cahill, Daniel Coyle, E. Annie Proulx, naturalist and author David Quammen, and Bob Shacochis.
In its current form, Outside Magazine is not only a print periodical but also an online outlet and media producer. In their mission statement, the magazine says their goal is to create "in-depth narrative storytelling, profiles, video, and authoritative service". Since 2010, they have also been a producer of television content with the release of Outside Television. The network was born of a partnership between Mariah Media and the Resort Sports Network. The firms merged in 2010, re-branding as Outside Television.
Outside has been a leading voice in the outdoor space for decades and is a trusted source for outdoor enthusiasts for good reason. From skiing to hunting to travel to gear, Outside is a singular source that can provide all the information you need to stay up to date on your favorite outdoor topics. Content is truly the engine of Outside Magazine's machine, and they've been handsomely awarded for it. Their content has won five National Magazine Awards for General Excellence, a General Excellence award by ASME, and Outside Television has been nominated for two Sports Emmy awards.
The magazine says they aim to highlight the "intersection between our lives and the natural world", and they seldom disappoint.
Types of Content
Outside Magazine produces a wide range of content covering the outdoors and the outdoor sports industry at large. Their writers and content producers have an award-winning pedigree, and many have gone on to become some of the most celebrated writers in the outdoors and adventure space. Some topics covered in most issues of Outside Magazine are gear, travel, fitness, adventure, and culture. If you're looking for product recommendations, destination features, and long-form adventure stories, you can look no further.
Within each of the topics, they offer a number of regular columns.
OTHER CONTENT FROM OUTSIDE MAGAZINE
In addition to their regular columns on gear, travel, fitness, adventure, and culture, Outside Magazine also creates original video content and podcasts. Some of their video series include gear videos, fitness videos, culture videos, and adventure videos. Some of their podcast titles include "Science of Survival", "The Outside Interview", and "Dispatches".
Audience and Reach
Outside Magazine has a massive public reach across a wide range of media. According to their media kit, Outside engages over 38 million active users on a monthly basis across all platforms. For the magazine, their outreach and interaction include print, digital, Outside Television, podcasts, videos, international editions, branded public events, social media engagement, and cross-branding.
PRINT AND DIGITAL
Outside has a fairly predictable readership within the outdoors magazine space. Their audience is predominantly male at 70 percent and its readers are an average age of around 43 years old. One big difference about Outside Magazine's readership is they tend to earn a bit more money than other outdoor magazine readers, at an average of $81,000 a year or more.
Their digital platform, Outside Online, boasts a slightly more diverse readership than their print edition and impressive stats. 65 percent of the website's traffic is driven by male users and draws 3.5 million visitors annually. The website has brought in a total of 5.7 million users total.
Social media is also a huge driver for Outside Magazine, with impressive follower stats on all the major platforms:
Their social media followers are even more gender balanced, with only 59 percent of followers being men. They are also high-income earners with salaries ranging between $75k and $200k.
Outside Magazine's three original podcasts are presented by the magazine's editors and keep their core ideals at heart. Their titles, including "The Science of Survival", "Outside Interview", and "Dispatches" have gained consistent 5-star reviews on iTunes and have currently racked up 2.7 million downloads from various platforms.
Since its launch in 2010, Outside Television has grown into an impressive outlet for the Outside brand. The network currently reaches 30 million viewers annually and is available in 50 million households across the US. Over 8 million people are also active subscribers to the network.
In addition to their print, digital, podcast, and video content, Outside Magazine also produces a host of live events with impressive attendance numbers. Their biggest event is Dominion Riverrock which takes place in May and brings in over 110k attendees. Other events include Jazz Aspen Snowmass, the GoPro Games, and Outside Bike and Brew, which bring in 40,000, 77,000, and 10,000 attendees annually.
Outside Magazine has become a beloved source for news, opinion, and perspective for those who love the outdoors. It's been an incubator for some of outdoor journalism's brightest minds to help shine a light on some of the most important trends in the business. Like most outdoor publications, Outside Magazine is an aspirational product in that it can fuel the imagination and inspire readers to go further and take a risk. Unlike some competing publications, however, Outside casts a wide net that includes both the casual observer and hardcore enthusiast.
The magazine has a simple but clear mission statement they include in each print edition and online: "To inspire active participation in the world outside through award-winning coverage of the sports, people, places, adventure, discoveries, health and fitness, gear and apparel, trends, and events that make up an active lifestyle". This is a truly ambitious goal, but Outside manages to keep their compass set true.
The Last Word: Outside Magazine creates high-quality content in a world in which print media is quickly dwindling and digital media awash in white noise. They've kept a razor-sharp focus on their core audience, and it has paid dividends in their loyal readership. They've succeeded where some outdoor media has faltered by committing to new forms of media that are not only relevant but also required by today's media consumer.
Through their use of podcasts, social media interaction, live events, and television, Outside has kept their print edition a viable product. It's a comforting presence to the long-time outdoors media consumer and the print edition is only supported by their high-quality new media offerings.
If you're looking for a single outlet that will keep you inspired, teach you new techniques, break down complex issues, and even give a dose of levity, Outside is an ideal choice. Whether you're a hiker, a hunter, a surfer, or an equestrian, Outside Magazine will almost definitely have something that can make your next adventure a little better.