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4 Steps to Improve Your Waiting Room Magazine Selection

The following is a guest post by Brian Gumz. If you are interested in guest posting for Dental Heroes, please sign up here.

It’s a common problem in many dental waiting rooms: bad, outdated and just plain boring magazines. Sometimes it seems like dental offices have forgotten that the magazines are really there to keep patients entertained. Magazines aren’t like the resident office fern that only needs to be watered a couple times per week but otherwise takes care of itself. Everyone likes the office fern—not everyone likes American Hunting Life or Muscle Man Magazine. Waiting room magazines require a keen eye for the audience you’re trying to target as well as near constant upkeep.

Know Your Readers

Most waiting room readers are adults. Even if you’ve got an abundance of child patients, they’re not typically the ones sitting around, counting down the minutes until their parents get finished with their checkup. Make sure you stock plenty of grown-up periodicals. Think Newsweek, People or The Christian Science Monitor. You should also have a good idea of what adults in your community like to read. For instance, if you practice in Colorado City, Texas you may want to pick up a ranching magazine such as Drovers. Or if your office is just outside the Kennedy Space Center, try the Scientific American or for more technical readers, the American Scientist.

2. Diversify

While it is helpful to target a specific audience, having a variety of magazines is also a fantastic idea. Lots and lots of people take news magazines. Obvious choices for these readers include Newsweek and Time. Then again some readers are just looking to escape into the world of celebrity gossip when they read. For these patients its best to keep People or Star Magazine around. Music and culture aficionados may appreciate Rolling Stone. Patients in the finance or banking industries probably want to read Bloomsburg Business Week. Men want to look at Men’s Health. Women tend to enjoy Vogue. Etc, etc. Keep an open mind for magazine diversity. Try not to get too specific (aka something like Airliners) but do try and give your patients some options.

3. Renew Your Subscriptions

There’s nothing worse than getting to that juicy bit of gossip about Jude Law cheating on his fiancée with the nanny, only to realize that the People you’re reading is from 2005. Or how about getting up-to-date election details from the Republican primaries… between John McCain and Mike Huckabee? Possibly the most important thing you can do to keep your waiting room readers happy is keeping your magazines current. Old magazines are incredibly boring. News is no longer news. Gossip is no longer gossip. Make sure you’re renewing your subscriptions. And don’t just bring the magazines you take at home and have already read into the office. Order an office copy and keep your magazine content fresh and invigorating.

Add Touch of Individuality

Lastly, you should try to put in a bit of yourself into the magazine selection. An office with only the big name periodicals doesn’t have much personality. Select one magazine that’s really out there. Enjoy history? Try American Heritage. Or how about Star Wars? Yep, there’s a magazine for that too.

Final Thoughts

Magazines should be a way to entertain your waiting room patients. While it may not make a difference in their brushing or flossing habits, happy patients are generally consistent patients. Make the most of your magazines today.

Brian writes with the advice and consent of Dr. Lance Jue who has been practicing dentistry at A Beautiful Smile at Lakepointe in Sugar Land, Texas for nineteen years.

Which Magazines do you subscribe to?

If you have specific magazines that you suggest other dentists subscribe to, please leave them in a comment below.

Reader Comments

  1. Dr. George December 7th

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    It is always difficult to try and get the proper magazine selection for your clients. I try and subscribe to 4 or 5 of the major outlets and to give diversity in my selections. For example, I have sports illustrated, businessweek, home and garden and a few others.

    This seems to work well for me.

    Check out to see an image of my waiting room and how the magazines are laid out.

  2. Comment Arrow

    When going into any office, its always disheartening to see old magazines dating back 3 years ago in piles. After 2 months, we refresh the magazine rack with titles for todays patients such as Simple, Oprah, Better Homes and Gardens, Car and Driver, ESPN magazine, a golf magazine, a fitness magazine, and Forbes. We try to get away from the standard Time, and National Geographic, and Field and Stream magazines which seem to be the norm at many dental and medical offices.

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