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Content marketing not working? Then get your magazine head on!

‘Brands as publishers’ is an often-heard term in the world of content marketing, yet it can be a daunting thought for many marketing managers. Immediate questions spring to mind, such as:

“Does my website have to look like a newspaper/magazine?”

“Do I need to produce endless amounts of content?”

“How on earth will I secure the resources and finances to support it?”

For some, this is enough to park the idea and carry on doing what they’ve always done, regardless of whether they’ve been doing it right or wrong. But ‘becoming a publisher’ need not be as big a jump as you might think…it’s firstly a case of changing how you think about your content marketing.

To demonstrate this, take a moment to think about your favourite magazine…

What does it look like?

It has a wide variety of content, usually starting off with news and the latest developments in the industry, moving through to the longer feature pieces such as commentary, discussion pieces, how-to guides and tips, then interview-style pieces, product reviews and Q&As, all interspersed with great looking images and graphics to heighten the engagement experience.

Every single piece of content is of the utmost quality, not only the subject matter but also spelling, grammar, sentence construction etc. A magazine never lets the basics slip.

Furthermore, the content is very rarely self-promotional. Sure you might see the odd page encouraging readers to subscribe or letting them know what’s coming up in the next edition, but you’ll never read an article about how great they think their magazine is.

What does it aim to achieve?

Its aim is to connect with you, the reader, on an emotional level; whether that’s to educate you, enlighten you, inspire you, make you laugh, make you cry or encourage you to buy something. It’s ‘behind the scenes’ aim is to grow its readership, get you to subscribe and make money; after all, it is a commercial concern and if it doesn’t generate a return, it will simply be pulled from the shelves.

Why do you buy it?

You buy it because the content is totally relevant to you. You look forward to its release each week/month to bring you up to date with everything you need to know in that particular area: new products, new styles, events that are happening, the latest thoughts from high profile people in the industry, stories about people similar to you and so on. As time passes, you don’t even consider buying a rival magazine and, before you know it, you have become a total brand advocate.

How did the magazine achieve that?

The magazine totally honed in on what you want. It spent weeks – months – researching what makes you tick and what keeps you awake at night. It knows exactly how to connect with you on an emotional level.

It constantly monitors what front covers and topics resonate best with its readers so that it can continually tweak the content mix. If something doesn’t get traction, it listens to its audience and drops it. If something is a huge success, it uses that as a platform for future content ideas. The most important thing? It never stops doing that. It recognises that the needs of its readers are constantly evolving and, if it isn’t agile in its response, it will lose them to a rival magazine.

The magazine mindset

So if you’re not getting results from your content marketing, don’t just keep on doing what you’re doing for the sake of churning out content. Instead, put your magazine head on for a moment and get back to the drawing board.