I am often asked this question and the answer is simple. Those that care most about LGBTQ issues are the people who read LGBTQ print media. It is true, not all LGBTQs read LGBTQ media (print and/or digital)- but the influencers certainly do, the politicians do, the activists do, the LGBTQ market people do and of course all the other publishers do. Let’s not forget either- if you want to do something “gay” on the weekend- LGBTQ local media is my first go to. Basically, all the influential people you want to reach are there and looking to see what is happening and who is supporting “our” community.  

This is no different than your local community paper- mine is The Westfield Leader at home and The Pike County News at our cabin. I always savor those papers to see what is happening and what the goings on are for the weekend and politically. I simply love them and so do all the others that are involved with their community. Now, of course, not every Westfielder or Pike County person reads these publications as their circulation is a fraction of the total population of these areas but if you are a new business in the community for example, local media is essential to get the word out. Likewise, if you are involved in a local community group it is usually your main source to get your information out to the public. It is the same, exactly for your local LGBTQ publication.  

When I’m at the cabin or home- and want to do something gay- I’ll check out the Philadelphia Gay News or The Gay Journal to see what is going on or at home I might visit Gay City News’s website or Get Out for the happenings in the big city. It is just how it all works. From there I might call my friends and say- hey let’s meet at Boxers for a drink and go out to dinner or did you know there is a gay movie out that we have to see? More importantly, I would not even think of getting a car (or any big purchase) just anywhere as I want to patronize a gay friendly auto dealer… and when the time came to get a car- I skipped BMW for another brand simply because they never reached out to me in an LGBTQ friendly way as their competition has. This is how it all works, and this is what keeps LGBTQ media front and center if you are a member of the community.

As someone in the business- I might just be a super reader – but then how did I miss some great LGBTQ movies and TV shows? Well, they were not on my radar- as they just did not appear in the LGBTQ media I read and therefore- I never passed along the…”YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS” to my friends and family.  

Let us not talk politics, but that is what is most important to me. Even today- aside from individual candidates, the major political parties mostly ignore LGBTQ media. Certainly- this is a solid base of supporters and every supporter of any party or candidate wants to “feel the love” – see the actual support and usually it will pay back in spades. Still, many don’t, and I’ll never understand why. I have a gay brother who voted for Trump and when I asked why- he said- well, the Democratic party never asked for my vote.   

Recently, I worked on some inventive LGBTQ advertising campaigns- the creative I really loved, and their message of “community” really made me smile. In the end I never saw the messages in the real world as they simply skipped LGBTQ’s own media because they wanted to slot this campaign into the media they already run in? WHAT!? You spend all that money on “authenticity” with creative and none in AUTHENTIC LGBTQ media? Oh well, it is progress, but I hate to see efforts fall short when the least expensive part of any LGBTQ advertising campaign would be running in LGBTQ owned media.  

On the other hand, some do get it right like Gilead which spends Zillions on TV but never forgets to be in LGBTQ media or the multitude of travel bureaus which know that LGBTQ specific media is key to pulling everything together and pushing it all up and out to all their potential consumers. To be fair, Pharma and Travel have learned over many, many years by entering and exiting LGBTQ media and learning from their own mistakes. Categories such as TV, Movies, Streaming Services, Credit Cards, and Consumer products- are relatively new to LGBTQ specific media and still have a learning curve to catch up on. Mostly, I think it is because they don’t do their homework as the information is there for all to see.  

When Rivendell Media started- so much of the then Gay marketing and now LGBTQ marketing was based on little research and more on a hunch but that was years ago and today there is plenty of research to support what I say here. 

The good news, LGBTQ media will be there when they are all ready- for the need is great and the “Community” is strong. The LGBTQ community is one that survey after survey says wants to be marketed to- and that means, those that care the most are paying close attention.

About the Author

Todd Evans is President and CEO of Rivendell Media-America’s leading LGBTQ media placement firm- a unique media company that was founded in 1979 and represents 95% of all LGBTQ and HIV/AIDS media in the United States and Canada. Rivendell Media serves as the national advertising representative for over 200 gay, lesbian and HIV/AIDS newspapers, magazines and entertainment guides their websites and standalone digital properties. After working for the company and then taking over in 1994, he has worked on almost every major LGBT media campaign as well as every DTC campaign in the HIV/AIDS market since the FDA allowed them. That experience along with his knowledge of the media provide unique qualifications on what has worked and what is necessary to reach and speak to these audiences. Todd Evans is also a silent partner of Q Syndicate, the leading content provider for gay media and is also publisher of Press Pass Q, the industry newsletter for the gay and lesbian press professional. Todd Evans graduated from Villanova University with a bachelor in Political Science. He currently resides in Mountainside, New Jersey. He can be reached at todd@rivendellmedia.com or 908-232-2021 ext 210.

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