What magazines would work best for Swain?

By Julia Merchant • Staff Writer

Advertising was the hot topic of discussion at the second meeting of the recently re-organized Swain County Tourism Development Authority on Sept. 26. The board was presented with a range of magazine options, courtesy of Kelso Advertising Agency representative Marilyn Ball, in an attempt to determine what ad placement would give them the most bang for their buck.

Print ads are some of the most effective ways to lure tourists to a destination, and local tourism authorities can spend a significant portion of their dollars on attempting to attract visitors through glossy advertisements in various publications, Ball said. Here are some of the magazine options that were discussed at the Swain TDA meeting. The magazines provide a glimpse into the kinds of people interested in coming to the mountains and the evolving face of tourism in Western North Carolina.


AAA Going Places

The material and ads in “Going Places” are specific to the region. This one would target Florida audiences. It’s put out by the AAA, a membership organization that is best known for emergency road service but also provides its members with discounts on travel and lodging. The magazine is distributed only to members.


Blue Ridge Outdoors

This free publication targets outdoor sports and adventure travel enthusiasts in the Southeast. Articles cover running, hiking trails, boating, mountain biking and more. It has a circulation of 110,000. It was described as “very interested” in working to promote Bryson City.


Blue Ridge Country

This magazine covers the mountain regions of the Southeast, with its largest readership in North Carolina and Virginia. Topics include culture, festivals, scenic drives and local literature.



Audubon is a subscription-based magazine widely regarded as one of the leading authorities on current environmental topics, with a particular focus on birds. Swain County has never advertised in Audubon before, but with the creation of an official state birding trail and biodiversity of local species, the county may make itself a destination for birdwatchers.


Atlanta Life Magazine

Barely a year old, this free publication has made a name for itself as an “upscale lifestyle publication” targeting the middle-aged Atlanta crowd. The magazine touches on lifestyle, fitness, culinary and news topics relevant to their demographic, which appear alongside glossy advertising. Swain County officials are looking to draw visitors from the metropolis that is only three hours away.


Our State Magazine

This subscription-based magazine targets the educated and affluent population of North Carolina, who may take higher-end vacations. Readers travel extensively and are interested in cultural events, history and contemporary topics in the state.


North Carolina Signature

This magazine, also subscription-based, targets the most upscale audience of all the potential magazines mentioned. Culinary, architecture, and design are among the topics focused on. Discussion of this magazine led to talk of promoting Swain County as a culinary destination for food enthusiasts.


Frommer’s Budget Travel

It’s expensive to advertise in this subscription-based magazine, which boasts more than 2 million readers and targets those with a high household income and education level. That’s why the idea of a cooperative ad was discussed. Different businesses in Swain County would pool their dollars to get an ad in Frommer’s, which would potentially have big payoffs.



This brand-new, free publication reaches 150,000 readers in North Carolina’s Triangle, Triad and the greater Charlotte area. It targets those with active lifestyles who enjoy running, hiking, and biking and would hopefully reach a population interested in Swain County’s outdoor lifestyle.


Southern Living

This popular, subscription-based magazine features stories on all things Southern — destinations, food, design, travel, shopping and more. It’s also a hotspot for travel ads, whiche readers scout to find a vacation destination.


South Carolina

This new magazine has a relatively small subscription base but is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s similar to Our State, and though the magazine focuses on South Carolina, it frequently highlights trips to the N.C. mountains. Swain is looking into drawing more of a tourist base from N.C.’s southern neighbor, since it’s in close proximity to the area.

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