Interview - Bobby Power
Creator and Publisher Go Wild Magazine
Bronwyn Hogan, VTQ
From Star Wars on Skellig Michael to receiving a print publishing award in China, Bobby Power is covering a lot of ground at his growing magazine empire.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you came to be in the magazine publishing business?
Hi, certainly yes. I have been in the newspaper and advertising industry for over 20 years, working on both sides of the fence from buying advertising to selling advertising. I was the Sales Manager with the Limerick Leader newspaper title for five years, having previously spent seven years there as a sales representative. I also worked in the advertising agency side for two years.
How did the concept come about to dedicate an entire magazine to the Wild Atlantic Way?
When I heard that Fáilte Ireland had created the Wild Atlantic Way route, I immediately set about obtaining their permission to create one dedicated magazine for the 2500km route as none existed.
At a time when digital publications appear to be dominating, what factors are contributing to the success of the printed publication?
The success is down to developing niche Tourism markets with high-quality magazine publications for free, that allow international tourists the opportunity to relax and learn about where they are in a glossy well finished magazine that’s a pleasure to read.
When initially setting up distribution for the magazine, were you aiming to target a certain type of individual?
No, as the target domestic and international market visiting the Wild Atlantic Way and Ancient East is so diverse, we focused the titles on becoming a suitable read for all ages and all nationalities.
Do you feel that ‘Go Wild’ addressed a gap in the market?
Yes, I believe that it is based on the phenomenal response that we receive from those who have enjoyed our publications while holidaying in Ireland. If our titles made their holiday that little bit better, then our job is done.
What have been some milestones in the growth of the publication and brand since day one?
Year one, like all new publications, we struggled to get the first issue to print and lost some money in doing so but I believed in the old adage that if
you build it, they will come. Year two, we added a new food experience title, which focused on the Best Chefs and became very popular quite quickly. Year three, we added Go Ancient East and this year we have added Go Wild on the Lakes and Go Wild Dublin to our portfolio of titles.
You seem to have Irish tourism covered with Go Wild magazine, Go Wild on the lakes, Go Ancient East and Go Wild Food Experience. Was this the plan from the very beginning?
No, initially I had planned two but like all good plans, we changed, as the market required us to.
As someone who is promoting tourism in Ireland, what do you think are the most special or even the most underrated tourist spots?
The drive along the Wild Atlantic Way is so spectacular that every visitor finds different elements that are special to them. Underrated spots include Clare Island, Cleggan Island in Mayo and Glengarriff in County Cork.
You received an award recently at the prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China, can you tell us a little bit about that?
Yes, we were nominated for the Best Food Tourism magazine in Ireland in 2017, which we won and we were then shortlisted for the Top 5 in the Gourmand World awards in China in May this year. Our team headed off to enjoy seeing Beijing and Yantai in particular and to simply enjoy the event and have a holiday!
When we were called out as the winners it was a massive shock, having seen the other magazine finalists, but an extremely proud moment in my Go Wild career and yes, I did shed a tear when I called my son and daughter to tell them the news.
Where can people find the magazines?
The distribution for all of our titles consists all Fáilte Ireland & Discover Ireland Tourist offices, all large capacity high volume tourist venues e.g. Cliffs of Moher, Waterford Crystal etc. We are also stocked in over 4000 hotel bedrooms along the Wild Atlantic Way and Ancient East coastlines, participating advertisers, featured restaurants and key tourism
museums throughout Ireland.
As stated, our plans for 2019 are to increase the visibility of the brand with new titles and we also plan to seek venture capital from investors, to allow us to reach a worldwide Irish expatriate audience with our product offering.
Finally, if I may, I would like to thank everyone who has assisted in the growth of the Go Wild brand to date and, a special mention to our designer Dave Curtin from Brainstorm.ie and of course my wife Cleo, son Jason and daughter Louise.
We have two other new titles lined up for launch in the United Kingdom in 2019, so watch this space!
This article first appeared in VTQ Magazine.
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