Print still has its place and it’s a good place

by | 26/11/19

It only seems a few years since I was reading a lot of expert insight explaining how digital marketing would see off the old-fashioned medium of print, which coincided with the decline of printed newspaper circulation.

However, here we are at the end of 2019 and still the trade and consumer magazines we try hard to achieve coverage in for our clients are going strong, with new or re-launched titles a regular occurrence – typically niche subjects spun out of generalist titles.

So, it was sad to read of the short-sighted decision by Asos to cut their glossy magazine, as the brand battles tough trading conditions that has seen the business suffer a remarkable drop in profits of 68%.

In a thoughtful piece by Matt Barker, a feature writer at Marketing Week, the decision was summed up succinctly: “Closing the magazine may make some sense economically, but the signal it sends can only mean longer-term damage.”

Whilst some of our target titles, like the brilliant Glass Times (the must-read for the glass and glazing industry) might print upwards of 10,000 magazines a month, Asos claimed a total circulation of 700,000 per issue, with the UK distribution just under 500,000 copies.

Those were big numbers by any publisher’s standard and they made it the widest read fashion magazine in the country – Vogue only distributed about 190,000 issues per month to give you an idea of the dominant position held by Asos.

Old school re-imagined

The publication of a thought-leadership piece in a respected trade title builds credibility for the author and their expertise, to say nothing of the raised profile for the organisation or brand they represent.

It’s deserving of an article on its own, or at the very least a book, to explain what the trade media is looking for in the articles we propose, but suffice to say, the standard press release rarely achieves the desired results; think education and you’re far more likely to attract interest.

We currently produce a number of magazines for our clients, taking the idea of the corporate newsletter to the next level. The magazines aspire to imitate consumer magazines, like the Asos title, filled with informative interesting articles that address challenges faced by the readers.

Whether it’s the need for law firms to switch to Windows 10 from Windows 7 before Microsoft end support for it in January 2020, or the need to adopt a collaborative approach in divorce, the approach is the same; inform, entertain, engage.

Everyone has received the traditional company newsletter, filled almost exclusively with news about the organisation. It detailed what they did, how they did it, how good they were at doing it, who they did it for, who was new, who was having a baby and what charity they supported.

The focus was the organisation and not their clients and customers, who really want to know less about how great the organisation is and more about how the organisation can help them overcome the issues they face in running their businesses.

No excuses because the logistics are simple

The main impediment to everyone turning out quarterly titles is cost. We get that. But given the significant reduction in printing costs in recent years, the actual printing of the magazine is within reach for even relatively small marketing budgets.

Want an idea of cost? If we laid out 16 pages of editorial excellence for you and you only wanted 50 copies, you’re still only looking at about £100 (+ VAT) for the printing. And even you know 49 people to send your magazine too, leaving one for reception of course.

Postage costs will be your next excuse to rely on email newsletters. But with A4 magazines up to 32 pages costing only 89p to be sent second class, what are you waiting for? You could consider an A5 magazine with a few more pages which will probably come in cheaper still for postage.

So far, your magazines have cost next to nothing in logistical terms; about £148 to get 49 examples of your experience, expertise and challenge-solving abilities in front of your clients or prospects.

Focus on legitimate interest

Remember, you get much greater freedom with mail than other forms of communication too, in respect of GDPR. You can send direct mail on the basis of legitimate interest, meaning you do not need to record consent from the recipient.

You must ensure the use of data is valid, the mail you send has a minimal impact on their privacy and (this is the important one) is expected by the recipient or they won’t be surprised to receive it.

It all sounds simple and we’ve purposely left the critical bit for another blog on creating the all-important content. It is the content that will ultimately decide the fate of your publication. Make it interesting, tell people something they didn’t know, engage them in your story and you’ll succeed.

If you would like to talk more about better ways to engage with your clients and prospects, please get in touch and we’ll get the conversation started.