Content Marketing

Strategic Uses of Branded Magazines

When you hear the term “branded magazines,” your first thought is probably of print magazines that are customized with an organization’s name and sent out to a mailing list. That’s a pretty accurate assessment—but it isn’t a complete picture.

We’ve pointed out how print is a powerful medium that lets companies keep their messaging from getting drowned in the fast-moving river of digital content. Because digital content is free (or nearly free) to create and distribute, everyone’s doing it. But how much of that content actually gets noticed? If you think about how quickly you yourself hit the delete key whenever an advertisement lands in your own inbox, you’ll realize that everyone else is doing the same thing. We’re inundated with digital content these days and barely notice most of it—and that’s why print media can stand out.

But when some bit of digital content does catch your eye, how much of an impression does it make on you? Thanks to haptics, print media has a huge leg up on digital media in this regard: the act of physically handling the content vehicle (a printed magazine) increases the reader’s engagement with it and ability to retain the messaging.

Clearly, getting print magazines into the hands of clients and prospects is a great way for your company to connect with those audiences. A printed piece that arrives in the mail can have a powerful impact!

But don’t rely solely on the mail to get the job done. Remember, businesses are built on relationships—and successful companies work constantly at creating and strengthening relationships with their clients, prospects, and other target audiences. And one of the most effective tools for working on a relationship is direct, person-to-person contact.

No doubt you already know the impact of an in-person visit—with a handshake, eye contact, and time spent together in the same space. Now imagine making that visit with branded magazines in hand.

We’ve long suggested using branded magazines as marketing tools for in-person sales calls. At a professional conference last fall, we met with a client who does just that. One of the tools her organization’s sales team highlights in its market engagement is its branded version of our bimonthly hard-copy magazine HR Insights.

The sales team loves the magazine because it gives them a reason to visit their clients. Hand delivering the latest issue gets them in the door and having a conversation. In-person visits are a time-tested method for maintaining business relationships—and one that especially stands out in an era of mass communications.

Companies also know that in order to maintain their business relationships, they must continue to add value beyond the staffing they provide. Sometimes, this takes the form of positioning themselves as innovators, sharing information about industry-specific trends, or informing clients about relevant legislative updates, for example. Sending this information to clients through the mail in a branded magazine already distinguishes those companies from those that rely exclusively on digital mass mailings. Delivering that information in person sets that apart from the competition even more.

Would you like to learn more about how your organization can leverage branded magazines as outreach tools by incorporating them into in-person visits? Mamu Media can help you develop effective strategies for this. Contact us to find out how!

Get More Bang for Your Buck through Content Remarketing

Earlier this week I was reading about candidate marketing (defined by one recent article as “quickly shopping an existing contractor to other open roles that are ‘in house’”) and thinking about how it’s an effective way for an organization to get the most out of what it already has. But that isn’t the only way that staffing companies can maximize the efficient use of existing resources. They can do another type of remarketing by repurposing their marketing materials—that is, by re-marketing content.

Many of Mamu Media’s clients employ this strategy to great effect. With the help of our publications, they repurpose their existing content and marketing pieces to present themselves to their current audience—or to a new audience—in new ways.

For example, many companies maintain their own blogs on which they share company-specific news, industry trends, and whatever else might be of interest to their audiences. We’ve worked with several clients to turn these sorts of blog posts into cover articles for their magazines or feature pieces for their newsletters.

At the same time, some of our clients have great content that hasn’t been published yet—and we work with them to put it in writing. For example, we help one client turn its customer-success stories into feature magazine articles, complete with in-depth interviews and photo shoots.

Keep in mind that content remarketing goes both ways! Just as companies can put their content into the magazines and newsletters we produce for them, they can also take that magazine and newsletter content and repurpose it for their own in-house publications (such as blog posts, company reports, or other marketing pieces).

Whether you’re already producing marketing content for your company and want to take it a step further, or want to generate more content that will help you connect with your audience, Mamu Media can help! We can work with you to figure out how to extend the shelf life and outreach of the content you’ve already created. We can also help you create new content for your marketing platforms.

The point is, we know how to maximize the reach of great content. So give us a call and find out what we can do for you!

Remember, content marketing is NOT about sales!

If you cruise around the Internet, you’ll find a lot of HR and marketing content. Business websites, company blogs, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds—all of that (and more!) is out there, clamoring for your attention. You’ll also find that much of that content is devoted to connecting with current or potential customers. That makes sense: many companies use online content as one driver of sales.

Interestingly, though, when HR and marketing content focuses on sales, it loses its effectiveness. At first glance, this seems like a paradox. After all, you should talk about sales in order to increase sales, right? Wrong.

The thing is, readers already know that those businesses are selling something. So they don’t necessarily want to get hit with an overt sales pitch. You need to show them why you deserve their business.

By “show” I don’t mean you should tell them about your pricing schemes or provide a detailed list of your services. Nor should you go on and on about why you’re better than your competition. Instead, you need to provide content that is valuable to your readers. It should focus on what your readers would value learning from you—and not on what you think is important for them to know.

Good content shows why you are a better choice than your competitors. It positions you as a subject-matter expert in your field (and in many cases doesn’t even focus directly on the services you provide) so that your readers can see for themselves why you should be their top choice.

Consider the staffing industry. Although its core services are temporary staffing and direct-hire staffing, its potential audience includes anyone who is concerned with general workforce management. So instead of providing useful content only about managing contingent workforces, for example, staffing firms can reach out to an even larger audience by broadening the scope of their content to address topics that may be of interest to any business. For example, incentive programs for hourly employees, how to connect benefits and employee retention, and changes in employment law are topics that can attract the attention of any HR department and manager.

A staffing firm that goes beyond the sales pitch and produces content with industry-specific information useful to its clients is already ahead of many of its competitors. But an organization that produces content that appeals to an even wider target audience demonstrates its expertise and flexibility. Not only does it strengthen its connection to targets who are already inclined to seek its services, but it also has the potential to connect with targets who might not have realized what a staffing firm could do for them.

Want to stand out from the crowd? Then you need to offer your readers something different. Start by taking a look at what value-added content you provide. If you don’t have any (that is, if your content is nothing more than a sales pitch), then it’s time to make a big change. If you have some but it’s not enough to convince a reader that you’re an expert in your field, consider what you can offer that your competitors don’t—and then provide it.

Boost the Strength of Your Content Marketing

Do you remember what life was like before the Internet?

When you think about it, the Internet hasn’t been around all that long. But it is so intertwined in our lives that it’s hard to imagine it ever not being here.

Long gone are the days when you’d be watching a television show, see a familiar face on the screen, and find yourself futilely trying to remember that actor’s name. (“Oh, it’s that guy. He’s been in tons of stuff, but I can’t think of his name or where else I’ve seen him before!”) Now, while you’re sitting on your sofa, you can just pull up the show’s IMDB page on your smartphone and find information about “that guy”—as well as about every other cast and crew member involved with the show!

Gone, too, are the days when doing research on a subject required a trip to the library to spend the afternoon looking through encyclopedias and other hard-copy texts. Thanks to the Internet, a wealth of knowledge is just one click away. (And often, that one click leads to another click, which leads to another, and to another . . . )

We live in a golden age of information sharing. It is truly amazing to consider just how much is out there. But how can we process it all without getting overwhelmed? The short answer is “we can’t.”

Last year, the business data management company Domo calculated how much online data was being produced every minute. The numbers are staggering:

  • 277,000 tweets on Twitter

  • 2,460,000 shares on Facebook

  • 204,000,000 sent e-mails

  • 4,000,000 searches on Google

  • 3,472 pins on Pinterest

  • 216,000 posts on Instagram

Can you imagine seeing that much content in one minute, much less actually comprehending it? Even over the course of an entire year, a single person couldn’t begin to process that much data!

People see a lot of stuff on their screens every day—and most of what someone encounters isn’t relevant to his or her interests. As more and more information is produced on an ever-increasing number of channels, it becomes increasingly difficult for signals (useful information) to cut through the noise (useless information).

Consider, for example, the most popular social media site in the world: Facebook. A tremendous amount of data moves through Facebook’s one billion registered accounts each day. The leader of the company’s ads marketing team, Brian Boland, explains:

On average, there are 1,500 stories that could appear in a person’s News Feed each time they log onto Facebook. For people with lots of friends and Page likes, as many as 15,000 potential stories could appear any time they log on.

In order to make it more likely that users see the posts that are most relevant to their interests, Facebook employs some fairly sophisticated computer algorithms. Rather than see everything that’s produced by their friends and by the companies and pages they like, users see a curated selection of that content.

Unlike Facebook, though, most of us don’t have an army of programmers at our beck and call. So the challenge for marketers who want to reach their audiences via social media is to find other ways to help their signals stand out from all the noise.

Volume is one way to accomplish this: if you put your content out there in a large enough quantity, it’s bound to get seen, right? Perhaps. But it’s also very likely to be ignored, especially if your competitors have the same idea and also increase their output. Also, there’s a fine line between saturating your market and oversaturating it—and once you cross that line, you run the risk of annoying your audience to the point of alienating them. Some marketers who realize that have turned to a “new” media that’s actually been around for a long time: print.

Print magazines in particular have a proven effectiveness in helping companies cut through the noise. By their novelty (in comparison to digital media), print magazines stand out and can therefore make a lasting impression with their audiences. Their format enables more targeted communication, and the staying power they have as physical objects increases both the reach and the duration of that messaging.

Rather than jump on the Internet marketing bandwagon with everyone else, why not forge a different path and give print a try?

 

The Enduring Impact of Custom Publishing

At Mamu Media we focus on helping our clients use custom publishing to distinguish themselves from their competition and to communicate their messages more effectively. Through custom publishing, companies can create and distribute content that targets customers and prospective customers. Because most marketing today takes places in certain established, mainstream channels, we often posit custom publishing as something “new” and “innovative.”

Custom publishing certainly is both of those things when examined in the context of other marketing efforts. But it’s time for us to face the facts and admit that in the big picture, custom publishing isn’t really very “new” and “innovative” at all. The truth is that although many people consider custom publishing to be the new kid on the block in the marketing world, it’s actually been around for a while and has a long and distinguished history!

Custom publishing got its start in 1895, when an agricultural equipment company produced the first issue of a magazine marketed toward a specific consumer group. In The Furrow, John Deere sought to provide education to help its customers become better farmers—and better business owners, too.

Even if you’re not a farmer, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of The Furrow, which is still in print and now reaches nearly 3 million subscribers in 12 languages and over 40 countries. (And even if you haven’t heard of The Furrow, you’re surely familiar with the John Deere logo and the company’s products.) With such reach and longevity, it’s clear that custom publishing has been a smashing success for this company!

Although The Furrow is the earliest known example of custom publishing, a few others also make their mark long before the current boom in this marketing technique. For example, in 1916 Harley-Davidson launched The Enthusiast, a magazine for fans of the company’s motorcycles. (It remained in print until 2009, when it was combined with another publication and renamed HOG Magazine.) And although General Motors’ GM Folks (published from 1938 to 1956) was distributed primarily to GM employees, because its purpose was to strengthen brand loyalty and broaden the GM customer base, it does qualify as an example of custom publishing.

In an earlier post I described print custom magazines as “An Old Friend in a New Marketplace.” A few years later, that still holds true: this “old school” form of communication continues to broaden its appeal among marketers seeking to make new inroads among their customers—and among customers who have become numb to the cacophony of tweets, e-mails, and status updates they encounter each day.

Custom publishing has proven its effectiveness over the past century or so. It was pushed into a corner and neglected for a good chunk of the past couple of decades, as the shininess of new media (particularly digital media) grabbed everyone’s attention. But even though digital media remain effective in some ways, their initial luster has faded a bit, and companies are now looking around for something new to try. If your organization is one of those that’s looking for “the next best thing” in marketing communication, consider exploring what an old veteran—custom publishing—can do for you.