Why You Should Market Your Association’s Print Magazine  

Print magazines are coming back, but that means more competition in an already crunched space for association publications. A case for marketing your magazine and some ways to do it.

Print magazines are back, but they’re different.

“A lot of for-profit brands are bringing print back into their communications plans, but what’s happening is that they haven’t brought the traditional model back,” said Jaime Andriopoulos, vice president of client strategy at content marketing agency Imagination. “It’s coming back as something better. It’s something that’s being treated as a premium.”

Take music and entertainment mag Paste. After shedding its print magazine in 2010, you can now purchase Paste Quarterlya 12-by-12-inch magazine that’s designed with bold, bright colors and printed on thick paper. Consumers can purchase the issues a number of ways: from $15 a pop to $89 for all four issues plus vinyl samplers. So, it’s back, but it’s different.

There are lessons here for associations too, many of which publish print magazines as a member benefit. If they want to maintain their position as thought leaders in their industry and entice members to read the magazine that arrives in their mailbox, associations should work to create anticipation and excitement through their marketing efforts.

It’s not enough to have a great print magazine anymore, said Cyndee Miller, vice president of content at Imagination, you should market them as well. “They’re back, but now you’ve got a lot of competition,” she said.

One of the best places that associations can market their magazines is across social media. For organizations that lock their content behind paywalls, marketing via social media is especially important. “Giving people more of a tease or more of an in-depth look at the types of content that’s in the magazine via social can help you form a general awareness standpoint, rather than having a bunch of content that no one can see,” said Andriopoulos.

Here are a few tools associations should consider using to do just that:

Deploy video marketing. Videos are becoming increasingly important to marketing strategies, and this can be as easy as creating a 30-some-second teaser video like the Project Management Institute did for the May issue of PM Network. You could also take another route and create digitally exclusive content, “diving into specific sources or content via video that can give them a different angle that they’re not experiencing when they’re reading the print magazine,” said Andriopoulos.

Implement thoughtful GIFs. You can use these “to highlight a pull quote or more importantly, data or statistics, and put those into motion,” said Andriopoulos. “We’ve seen a lot of success with custom graphics via social, and those can highlight people or information.”

Take advantage of infographics. Along with GIFs, infographics can help organize data and even “signal thought leadership,” according to an Imagination article. These are especially useful when you have complex data or research from the magazine that you want to highlight.

“What you’re seeing now is you’re using the artwork that you have from the magazine, and you’re telling a story about your story, and you’re encouraging people to go seek that story out,” Miller said. “And I think that’s something that is a little bit different and makes you stand out from the pack.”

And that’s a great point to conclude with. Although time and money are often big considerations for associations, Andriopoulos said that creating and pushing out marketing assets—whether videos or infographics—might be easier than you think.

“You’re often going to be using a lot of the art and assets and content from the magazine, so to me, you’re going to end up getting more bang for your buck for the content and imagery within your magazine to use it that way,” she said. “You’re actually taking advantage of all of that great stuff in your magazine to use it on different channels and build out more thorough ecosystems for it.”

What do you do to market your magazine? Please leave your comments below.

(Ellica_S/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Emily Bratcher

By Emily Bratcher

Emily Bratcher is a Contributing Editor for Associations Now. MORE

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