Things you should never do while custom publishing an in-house magazine for your company. Using an in-house magazine for any of the purposes mentioned here could turn out to be disastrous for your company’s branding.

If you’re convinced that custom publishing is the ideal path for you to connect with your customers, and want to publish an in-house magazine, well, that’s a great start. There’s a lot of good that your company can get from a custom magazine. But at the same time, it can turn around and hit you right between the eyes if you misuse a company publication. Here are twelve “what-not-to-do” pointers when it comes to publishing an in-house magazine.

1. Go unprofessional

This is probably the biggest factor you need to consider while publishing your own company magazine. In your own line of work, you must have heard the old adage, “If you can’t do it yourself, give it to someone who can”. Employ a team of qualified professionals to work on the magazine internally, or contact a custom media house to publish it externally on your behalf. As an added perk, you may also be able to generate additional ad revenue to self-sustain the magazine by tying up with a custom media house.

2. Never go unqualified

Today, everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. Good for them. But is that good for you? Don’t publish your magazine by tying up with just about anyone who says they know to write and design. At the end of the day, a custom publication is a very strategic medium where every single page has a direct consequence on your profits. Underqualified people can publish brochures and booklets, not custom magazines.

3. Assume you have all the PR you need

You can’t get any further away from the truth here. An in-house publication is a start, but it’s by no means, the means to the end. Follow up your custom publication activity with additional activities to pack a power-punch.

4. Brag about yourself

Launching an in-house magazine is a proud moment, but try not to take it over your head. Just because you have the editorial control doesn’t mean you have to exploit all of it. Remember, Spiderman’s uncle once said “with great power comes great responsibility”. Try to keep the directors’ and boss’ family pictures and tall tales to a minimum. This is a company magazine, remember? Not an “I’m-paying-for-it, I’ll-stick-what-I-want” self promo piece.

5. Glow too bright

You’re obviously proud of your company and achievements. An occasional air-punch or thumbs up is a good boost of morale. But let’s not stretch the facts too far and take the tales of glory to far-fetched heights. Brag about your company in your magazine, but do it discreetly and professionally.

6. Promos galore!

An in-house magazine is a means of communication between the company and the customers. It’s not a regurgitator of promotions. Company advertisements and self-promotion pieces should not exceed twenty percent of the total number of pages. Anything more than that and your magazine loses its credibility.

7. Badmouth competition

This is a rather self-explanatory pointer. Much like we know that a person is judged not by how they treat their peers, but their subordinates, this is similar. When it comes to companies, people judge them by the way they talk about their competitors. So if you want to be respected through your publication, talk about your achievements without overly comparing and gloating over your success and your competitors’ losses in the pages.

8. Straying away…

This usually happens when an underqualified team is delegated to work on the custom publication. Unfortunately, for many writers who aren’t qualified in the custom publishing industry, sticking to the core ideology and long-term strategy of the magazine can be a hard task. But no matter what, retain the core focus of your in-house magazine. Your readers don’t want to read page after page about celebrity gossip in one issue, and read about luxury tourism in another issue. If they did want that sort of content, they could buy a mainstream magazine instead! Stick to your niche, and provide your readers with interesting, relevant information that focuses on your industry.

9. Partial distribution

This can be loyalty roadkill of the worst kind. If you’re publishing a magazine for your customers, or for a certain niche segment of your preferred customers, be fair to all. When you’re going to take the pains to publish a magazine for a few customers, print enough number of copies to ensure that you have spare copies to distribute the magazines to all your preferred customers. You don’t want to hear from a few disgruntled customers who are rather annoyed at being treated unfairly for no fault of theirs.

10. Rebuke customers

You may have a point to prove or a settle to score with a certain segment of the public or a few irate customers who would have created an issue about your company or a product. You definitely would have to bring up the issue in your publication. It’s always better to nip any gossip in the bud. But sort it courteously, making your customers aware of certain developments without insulting public sentiments.

11. Publish low quality mags

Deciding to launch an in-house magazine may only be the first of many strategic decisions that have to be made under careful consideration. However, one of the more important aspects of a publication is the number of pages and the quality of the publication. If you were a customer of a company that provides a thin, centre-pinned magazine with low quality paper, what would you do with it? Roll it up to swat flies or drop it straight over the stack of old newspapers? You be the judge.

12. Go Sleazy Sleazy

Unless you’re a company that promotes mature content, stay off the minimally attired covers, peek-a-boos, the oops! and the teeny swimsuit spreads. At the end of the day, you’re publishing a magazine that will stay on the coffee tables of your customers for quite a while. You wouldn’t want your customers curling their toes or shuffling awkwardly when a visiting kid starts flipping the pages in front of his parents, would you?

The round-up

With these twelve pointers to avoid in mind, you’re almost ready to launch your own company magazine. But for the finer details that are specific to your company, well, call a custom media strategist who can help you add the right content and play the right strategic game. But however you choose to go, a magazine has always been one of the finest ways to firmly pave your path to success, positive customer feedback and branding.

P.S. If you’re looking for a custom media strategist, I know a really swell guy who’s all that and more. Look at the top right corner of this page. You’ll find him!!