The magazine as a marketing tool
When we refer to your magazine we are not necessarily asking you to establish a publication in the usual sense of the industry: with monthly circulation in the order of millions of copies, it’s an enormous investment without an immediate or evident benefit.
But this does not mean that your skills or business’ can’t benefit of its own magazine design, if you want, think of it like a brochure disguised as a magazine.
Let’s imagine now a business dedicated to sales of industrial security gear needing a more tangible channel of communication with its customers, providers and industry in general.
This the ideal scenario that can be exploited with a publication more focused in the content and relevant news for the industry, where the promotional content is implicit.
Also have in mind we refer to a “magazine design” in the most generic sense because, once you have the digital arts for printing the thing, converting it to a digital publication is trivial.
So while we focus in the conventional channel (prints) everything applies the same if you plan to distribute in digital too, or exclusively.
Thinking outside the box
Our distributor company above settles for a magazine with quarterly or biannual circulation and a modest number of copies, from 100 to 500 just for giving a scale.
Then comes the content creation bit citing and commenting news relevant for the industry, technological innovations, editorials from the CxO’s about the local or global overview of the industry, interviews with clients, success stories, etc.
Of course these contents would be seasoned with conventional advertising pages for the parent business’s products and services. Distribute through direct mail or as a gift in the point of sale or added to any shipping.
If the homework is done this magazine can not only be a promotional tool for the business producing it but even become a subsidiary of the company. Generating its own sales of advertising spots or subscriptions when it becomes relevant enough that your suppliers or even your competitors reach to you in order to advertise in it. The homework takes 2 steps:
1. Good design
Your contents can be excellent and focused, impeccable redaction and structure, but, what happens if someone takes the magazine and gets the impression that it is just a fat flyer or an old-school school book? The format we are producing is a magazine and not a book, what the reader expects is some kind of familiar layout and other design cues.
The point is, precisely, to avoid your readers to feel they are about to be lectured, or sold something.
A good magazine design not only must catch the eye of the reader to take it in the first place. Add to the layout the proper use of fonts to make it an easy and enjoyable read. Avoid columns over columns of text in Times New Roman 10, monotonous and inconsequential, just for saving a bit on production?
There’s other ways to address a small production budget and is not sacrificing the design precisely, but I’m biased. : )
Or maybe digital publishing is the thing you are looking for?
2. Good contents
Putting the design first does not mean in any way that is more important than the content. Obviously this is not the case if we want this magazine to thrive and have a life on its own. When you approach specialized contents the best thing to do is ask the own company talent to try and give a hand in the content creation.
Create remunerated contests for employees to pitch their articles. This is a good way to motivate and find talent inside your own business.
Each industry segment has different ways in which they can approach the content creation. It might not work for all markets or industries but for the majority of business this is a path that’s worth exploring if you are looking to diversify and capitalize your know-how.
As you can see, a magazine can go a long way from not only being a tool for direct promotion of your business, but a tool that can help consolidate your business authority in your industry. Of course, if you offer good content through a good design.