When you think of magazines, you might picture the latest issue of a fashion or celebrity periodical next to the grocery store checkout lines. But the truth is that there are many different types of magazines, one for every imaginable niche. And their popularity is due to both the relatively brief length of the content as well as the gorgeous photography, graphics and visually appealing layouts they typically include.
More and more, companies are harnessing the power of business magazine publishing as a marketing tool that can energize their customer and client bases as well as build the company’s credibility in the community.
What Is a Business Magazine?
A periodical that is self-published by a company for the purposes of connecting with consumers, customers or clients, and the community is a business magazine. It can be published annually, quarterly, monthly, or at another interval, and its content is mostly industry-driven.
This type of magazine may or may not include advertising, unlike commercial magazines, but the publication itself can directly or indirectly provide revenue for the creator.
How Your Business Benefits from a Business Magazine
You might be surprised at how beneficial a self-published business magazine can be for your business.
1 A Business Magazine Builds Relationships with Customers and the Community. These magazines are a great way to connect with your target reader, whether they are your current or potential customers, clients, or others in the industry and the community at large. A sleek, informative business magazine provides instant credibility to your business because it provides unbiased industry information and entertains readers with a wide range of content.
2 A Business Magazine Positions You as an Industry Leader. By providing quality content, connecting with specialists in your industry, and demonstrating your business’s expertise, a business magazine can help you position your company as a leader in the industry. Readers will look to your business as an expert voice in the industry that can answer questions, provide context, and connect them with the information and providers they need.
3 A Business Magazine Raises Your Revenue. A self-published business magazine can help call attention to promotions, sales, or other revenue-increasing opportunities for your business. In addition, if you choose to offer advertising space in your magazine, then you can count on an additional revenue stream that could even be used to cover the costs of printing the business magazine.
4 A Business Magazine Saves Money on Marketing Costs. We all know that marketing can be expensive. From hiring marketing professionals to working with graphic designers or photographers to craft the best campaign content, advertising costs can be high. And with the ongoing need for marketing, those costs can sometimes outweigh the results. But a business magazine can actually cost less than traditional marketing and can even increase revenue instead of drawing down the marketing budget.
Types of Self-Published Business Magazines
Magazines can be created for four basic reasons and the structure and style of the magazine are determined by the type.
- General Interest Magazines can cover a wide range of topics, but they have developed with a specific target audience in mind, like a luxury buyer or someone who works in finance.
- Special Interest Magazines are focused on one topic area but provide content from every angle like fashion or gardening magazines.
- Trade Magazines are developed around one specific industry like a magazine for woodworkers or racing cars.
- Custom Magazines are created by a specific business or organization to highlight content they want their readers to learn like product information or introducing employees.
Getting Your Business Magazine in the Reader’s Hands
Before you self-publish a magazine, you want to be sure that your target audience will actually see the magazine. So thinking about how you will let readers know about your magazine and how you will get the magazine in front of them is important.
Once you decide who your target audience is, you can choose the most effective distribution path to get it to that audience based on where they typically get information. The common distribution channels for printed magazines are via direct mail, at newsstands, and in retail stores.
Marketing and Promoting Your Magazine
Raising awareness about your new publication is the most challenging before the first issue is published, but the initial printing also provides some unique opportunities for marketing as well.
- Email: Use your email lists to alert potential readers of upcoming publications and include links to purchase or view copies in newsletters or other digital communications.
- Industry Influencers: Ask well-known professionals in the industry to give your magazine a shout-out via their own channels in exchange for featuring them in a future issue, giving them an “expert column” in the magazine, or another appropriate trade.
- SEO Strategies: Lean into search engine optimization strategies with keywords in your online content that can be used to draw attention to your new publication.
- Social Media: Utilize all social media platforms to tease upcoming issues, link to snippets of the stories, highlight photos or connect to links to buy the magazine.
Make Your Business Magazine
Creating a magazine for your business is fairly straightforward but it does take a few steps to transform your ideas into a well-designed, professional publication.
1 Decide on the type of magazine you want to make, define your target audience, and explore the current market. Choose the best type of magazine for your needs and then review other similar magazines so you can make sure that yours stands out from others. Define your target audience by creating one or two mock customers: where they work, what they like to do outside of work, what they read, and how they get their news. These mock customers will help you create effective content and market your magazine correctly.
2 Access low-cost or free templates to format your magazine. These will help you quickly place content in your magazine with basic layout suggestions as well as tips on using appealing fonts or color combinations with text or graphics.
3 Create content that your readers will love.
- Author an article about your business to highlight your uniqueness in the industry.
- Consider creating ongoing content so you don’t have to start from square one every time you want to publish a new issue by using only selected portions of an interview in a single issue or writing content in a series to be spread over 2-3 issues.
- Include product or service reviews that will be of interest to your target audience.
- Interview experts in the industry and create long-form articles, short spotlights, or combine interviews with multiple experts.
- Provide Q & A blurbs on industry topics.
- Pursue advertising with businesses within the industry, in the community, or that would complement your customer’s interests or needs in exchange for writing an article for the magazine.
- Write spotlight articles on important or interesting people within the industry.
4 Engage with professional support when you don’t have experts in-house. You want your business magazine to look professional so that might mean working with an expert if you don’t have someone with the skills or the time.
- Content writers can create articles relatively quickly to help you fill the pages with interesting, well-written content.
- Cover design experts can assist in creating an attractive periodical cover that will help catch the target reader’s eye.
- Editors can catch the little mistakes that keep your magazine from appearing professionally produced.
- Graphic designers can help you tweak the font, colors, and visual elements of your magazine so it looks cohesive from the first page to the back cover.
- Professional photographers can help capture appealing product photos or interesting portraits of people you interview and will be able to use high-quality photos so the pictures on the pages of your magazine will be crisp and look great.
5 Work with a quality printer that can create the volume of magazines you need. Offset printing requires large minimum requirements but digital printers, like Dazzle Printing, can print smaller quantities, turn the project around faster than offset printers, and can easily reprint your magazine on demand. When your final draft has been edited and is complete, place your order with the printer making sure that you have plenty of copies to fulfill the first issue’s expected circulation.
6 Get ready for your printed magazine copies to arrive. Confirm distribution channels and begin your pre-launch marketing strategies to build excitement about your first issue.
7 Reflect on the experience. Evaluating the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and seeking feedback on the content, style and format of your first issue will help you to make small improvements in future publications.