The Complete Guide to Branded Custom Inhouse Publications

Why should your company start a magazine? How can branded inhouse magazines help your company?

After the recent global hit, one of the biggest changes we’ve seen across the globe is the number of branded magazines that have cropped up in the last couple of years. Also known as contract publishing or customer publishing, it’s spreading faster than ever before. A few years ago, only the most elite of all brands and companies boasted of publishing their own inhouse magazines, but today, it’s more of a necessity than a style statement. Retailers, resorts, hotels, spas, malls, FMCGs, and almost every other niche have their own magazine today. In this post, you may find quite a few links to my older posts, which I recommend you read. Each linked post has a detailed explanation about every aspect involved in the production of a custom magazine. You can start by reading this link about branded magazines and market predictions [Inhouse branded magazines the next best thing].

Why is it a better medium?

An internally published magazine is way better than traditional magazines, in several ways. Why else would everybody prefer them over traditional advertising and branding media? This link [Do you really need an inhouse magazine?] should help you understand the benefits of an inhouse magazine over other forms of media.

Can the Return on Investment be measured?

Of course, it can! And if any custom publisher tells you otherwise, or plays with words, you’re better off without that publisher on your side. A custom publication is no good without a full-fledged strategic marketing plan to ensure return on investment, either by means of advertising revenues, or by database comparison. Read this link to know all about it [Custom Media and Return on Investment].

Educating your clients and consumers

A custom magazine is a great medium to educate your customers and potential customers. While a regular magazine reader may glance at your double spread advertisement with mild interest, and may care less whether you exist in their favourite magazine or not, a branded magazine hits the nail in a completely different zone. When a customer reads a custom publication, they know exactly what to expect. And with every flip of another page, they know that they are going to find more information about your products and your company. Therefore, with a branded magazine, the reader isn’t distracted by your information and products. Rather, they’re looking forward to knowing more about your brand.

Involving Customers

Involving customers and drawing them to your loyalty club is not an easy task. Exclusive membership cards and weekly newsletters are a thing of the past. Today, consumers are a clever bunch, and can spot an advertisement even in an editorial page. So trying to confuse your customers isn’t going to go very easy on your brand building campaign. So what does an advertising brand have to do to connect with their customers? The easiest way is through a custom magazine. Today’s customers want to see a brand’s genuine interest in them, and not the fake campaigns that hit them right between the eyes. We’ve all received a call from some company at least once in our lifetime, telling us that we’ve won a three day free trip to a luxury destination! And then, some trusting customers who accepted that offer are left with a bitter taste in the mouth and loads of undisclosed bills in their hands! If you want to reach out to your customer, be genuine. Marketing gimmicks are a thing of the past, and with social networks all around us, you’ll have an online hate campaign against you in no time! Cafe Coffee Day felt the heat with #ccdsucks, so can you!

An inhouse magazine shows a genuine interest in the customer, and brands your company as a customer-friendly company. And goodies in the magazine like gift coupons, add-ons, etc. can create a big positive impact. Get in touch with me to know about more marketing ideas to gain bigger brownie points with your customers, and involve them better using an in-house magazine. Read this link to find out more about getting brownie points by hitting the mark on customer-focus [Does your company need a custom publication?].

The daunting difficulties in Asian countries

Custom Media is booming across the world. In the U.K., custom branded magazines are even beating traditional magazines at their own game! But in Asia, the custom magazine movement still hasn’t picked up steam like it has in the rest of the world. We do have a lot of inhouse magazines, but just not enough to raise a toast or cheer. One of the biggest reasons for this is the low diversity in advertising campaigns. In Asia, the marketing focus is primarily on traditional mediums, and a few others. There’s hardly ever a direct mail campaign, and a unique hard-hitting social media branded campaign comes as often as a drizzle in the Sahara. The lack of innovative means to reach out to consumers has dampened the media frenzy that’s hit the rest of the world. The ads on the telly and in magazines are just about passable, and some are blatantly copied!

To make matters worse, companies across Asia, especially in India, have another way of looking at custom magazines. Whenever a company intends to start an inhouse magazine, they expect their inhouse magazine to function like a mainstream magazine! They want the same fame, and they want the same advertising revenues. And wait for it, they want to break even in less than three issues! Click this link to find about more about conversations around inhouse magazines in India [Are you in it (custom magazines) only for the money?].

The New Age of Content Marketing

For a long time, visuals have always played a great part in marketing campaigns. But since the last few years, especially with the advent of social networking and content forwarding, content has started playing a very important role in advertising campaigns. Good content can generate more hits and forwards than visuals, unless the visuals are truly striking or bordering on the sleaze, and not all brands can use Axe/Lynx ads to get viral hits. Companies are paying more to ensure that their content is hard-hitting and informative, and a few other companies are paying even more for great online campaigns and insertions. Especially in online mediums, content in the form of guest posts, blogs and advertorials have blurred their zone with regular articles. Content isn’t just king anymore, it’s more than that. And with a custom publication, you’re reaching out to an interested audience with just that power.

Branding with inhouse magazines

Inhouse magazines can play a big part in direct sales, and more. But unlike gift coupons or broadsheet advertisements for discount sales, the return on investment can’t be judged over a 48-hour period. It’s all about how effective your magazine is at connecting with your reader. And how informative a reader finds the magazine, which is one of the primary reasons why several inhouse magazines fail miserably. It isn’t just about writing content that pops up at the writer’s whims and fancies. Content plays a vital part in generating leads in inhouse magazines. So how long will it take to see the big hit? Well, it all depends upon the effectiveness of your magazine’s content. Click here to read more about custom media and its results [How soon can custom media show results?].

Increase of social networking communities

Inhouse magazines don’t necessarily have to be printed and distributed by hand or mail. Some of the finest magazines are distributed online, and their customer base is only increasing with each passing day. But unlike print magazines, they also carry with them a considerable risk because of the large audience that online mediums generate. Good online magazines are discussed and distributed like hot cakes, but even a few flaws can create worldwide criticism! As much as you want to reach out to a big audience, you still have to understand the requirements of going online with your content. So if you’re looking at a cushy online spot, make sure you’ve got the best custom publishers working on your magazine!

Maintaining the balance

Inhouse magazines have a tendency of creating a huge bulge in the ego pants! And this is especially true for newer companies that want to up their brand, really fast. For an inhouse magazine to really work, research conducted by Confetti Media has shown certain percentages of company information versus reader-engaging information that are crucial for the success of an inhouse magazine. Every category of brands has their own successful percentages. For example, a fashion brand can use 100% of its pages to talk about its products, and still keep the customer happy, whereas a hotel magazine can’t talk about itself for more than 30% of the pages, and automotive magazines can’t talk about their own companies for more than 60% of the pages. Cross these percentages, and your magazine may be in the red zone of discarded magazine. But this is not the same as advertising about your own brand. That’s a whole new issue! But that aside, read this [12 things that you should never do with an inhouse magazine] to have a better idea of what to do and what not to do when you launch an inhouse magazine.

Outsourcing Custom Publishing

In most cases, custom inhouse magazines are usually produced by internal teams that multitask and juggle two profiles. And in a few other cases, custom magazines are outsourced to advertising agencies. The biggest downfall in these two cases is that, the first option is more internally focussed, while in the case of advertising agencies, the content is focussed more on sales. As subtle as I may try to be, the fact remains that no one understands the requirements of a custom magazine as much as a custom publisher. At the end of the day, every single page of content has to have a direct relevance to branding, increasing awareness, and a good return on investment. Just like you wouldn’t delegate your marketing and selling activities to your public relations team or vice versa, however close their way of working may seem, it’s just the same with content. You can’t delegate it to just about anyone if you are genuinely interested in seeing positive results. Here’s a good link of mine that can help you find out how much an inhouse magazine can cost your company [How much does a custom publication cost?].

The Round-up

Now that we’re though all these pointers and the links in the post, I’m certain you’d know all about inhouse magazines and how to use it effectively to increase your branding, customer awareness, loyalty, revenue generation, etc. and etc. But if there’s anything more that you’d like to know, or if you’d be interested in working with me on a new and exciting venture into content marketing and custom media, hey, I’m only a message or a call away!

Get in touch with me. 24 hours or less before you hear from me. You have my word.

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