You see, Google had print edition of magazine called Think Quarterly. It is not for sale. Instead, it is “hand-delivered as a gift to a select list of recipients”. If the largest and most universally recognised web company in the world treats print like such a special product, then let’s just say that creating marketing plan without even considering a print is at least… misguided.
I decided to ask Nenad Senic a couple of questions about print – something that he knows the most.
How many printed magazines do you regularly subscribe?
Oh, there are so so many. I am subscribed to around 20 magazines in addition to customer magazines that I get by asking their editors for a hardcopy. Every weekend I read at least 5 magazines.
How can you explain your choice – why do you reach for these magazines?
It depends. It’s content that interests me, the design that attracts me. There are some magazines I analyze in details while reading: how intros are written, I admire how short they can be, how all the elements complement each other…
How do you imagine a printed publication of the future? We already know some good examples of creative use of advertising on spread, even the three-dimensional pictures, audio inputs and all the extras.
Let’s just say printed “paper” magazine will stay as it is. It will be a luxury medium. I am not good at predicting the future 50 or more years from now, but whatever attempts have been in the past few years making print magazine more digital (virtual reality etc.), it was just a momentary buzz that subsided fast.
If we talk about efficiency, maybe we could hear about some specific numbers. Any good examples of ROI in print?
Print is really hard to measure. Digital has an advantage here. However, I was surprised and pleased to find out that similar research or survey done in different countries bring similar results. But again as anything in content marketing, benchmarks are hard to define. It depends on each project respectively.
You said that statistics in digital is quite a simple thing, but how about the easiest way to measure effectiveness in print?
Readers surveys, customized URLs, emails and phone numbers, and especially talk to your readers individually.
To know, as a company, whether the pint magazine is something for me, I need to know my audience. Sociologically – can we talk about some categories of people, about whom we can be convinced that they still regularly buy printed magazines?
No. I’ve created customer magazines or renewed them and edited them for target groups that are considered very demanding, that many believe they won’t be interested in the magazine. But again and again we’ve been able to prove, if you do it right for that specific target audience they will read it. The question is always what you want to achieve, to understand your target audience and than think about what media you’re going to use to bring them relevant and entertaining content.
I’ve created customer magazines or renewed them and edited them for target groups that are considered very demanding, that many believe they won’t be interested in the magazine. But again and again we’ve been able to prove, if you do it right for that specific target audience they will read it.
You said once, that when marketers consider the way of communication, they need to ask themselves what are they trying to achieve and who they are trying to reach. So after they decided to go in print – are there any next important questions that they should ask before starting to work on the first issue?
Next is define the main concept. What content will be in your new printed custom magazine? What will be its main message? What underlying messages do you plan to communicate? Every part of your magazine should be well-defined before you begin to think about the first issue. Moreover, if you can’t fathom what content you could put in the first four issues, you will find yourself in trouble very soon. Here are some of the things you need to define from the outset:
Covers: Readers see the cover first, and they decide within a few seconds if they are interested in opening the mag rather than throwing it away. Consider what the cover should include.
1) Do you want to use an original photo or illustration?
2) What will the theme be?
3) How many headlines do you want to include?
4) Do you want to include page numbers and your company’s logo?
5) What will be their overall concept?
Sections: The sections/departments of your magazine should be relevant, recognizable and easy-to find in every issue. Keep things simple and consistent from issue to issue.
Your editorial board: Do you plan to do it all internally? I would suggest that you (also) appoint a publishing/content marketing agency. Additionally, based on the concept, will you use internal authors, outside journalists or both?
Second, there are a number of technical parameters to consider for each issue:
Page count: Custom magazines should be at least 24 pages long, but many have at least 36 pages. The length of the magazine depends on the content, the use of photography and other visual representations (illustrations, infographics).
Page/spread size: What page size is consistent with the messages, content, genres and your brand? Also consider how you will be distributing the magazine (whether in-store or by mail). If your main distribution channel is by mail, make sure your magazine will fit into average mailboxes.
Type of paper: You need to decide between matte or gloss, coated and uncoated paper. There are also eco-friendly papers. However, the traditional non-written rules about which type of paper to use are getting blurred. Glossy paper has been traditionally used in magazines that want to showcase the visual elements in the mag (especially photos). But that is not necessarily always the case. For example, Completely London, one of the best custom magazines by estate agency KFH, isn’t published on glossy paper but it still has a high-end look and feel. When considering the paper type and weight ask yourself what your intended magazine’s life expectancy is as well as how important is its readability and image quality. Don’t forget to price out paper as some paper is more expensive than others, which can make your project drastically more expensive.
Issue’s circulation: Printing and mailing costs can be quite high, so consider these when you decide. It also means you really need to know who your target audience is and its size.
Magazine’s frequency: Research shows that to achieve its main objectives a custom magazine should be at least quarterly.
And the last one: I know that you’re guest at Power of Content Marketing Conference in Warsaw this year – why is it worth to hear your speech?;-)
I guess there is a reason why I was invited back for the second year in a row;-)
See Nenad’s presentation from PoCM: “How to masure effectiveness of print”