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How to Use Content Marketing to Build your Magazine Subscribers

How to Use Content Marketing to Build your Magazine Subscribers

Learn the creative ways to tailor your content to your reader’s interests. Target your magazine app’s marketing more effectively and convert a part of that traffic to your subscribers.

As a publisher, your subscribers are key. Without them, no one will read your content, and your magazine won’t make money. 

As a result, it is important to use all of the tools at your disposal to win new subscribers and retain loyal ones. The good news is the number of channels available to you is extensive, spanning both the online and offline world. 

Covering all of these in one post would be a mammoth task, and whilst we enjoy a challenge, we thought it best to focus on one valuable channel under a microscope - Content marketing! 

So let’s get started and see how content marketing can help you build your subscriber database…

What is content marketing?

Whilst referred to above as a marketing ‘channel’; content marketing is more of an activity or methodology applied to other channels, both digitally and offline. Typically, it uses content to build brand or product awareness without focusing on a direct sale. 

Or, in this case, building awareness of your publication without the direct message to subscribe. Therefore, content marketing can be delivered as a blog, social media post, display ad, presentation, or seminar. 

A large majority of content marketing is carried out online, and with the recent events of the pandemic, this appears only set to rise. However, when things return to normal, it is also important not to forget the offline channels. 

But how does this help you build the number of subscribers for your magazine?

1. Build intrigue

One of the best uses of content marketing to obtain new subscribers is building intrigue. This technique is used in marketing industries worldwide, from teaser trailers for films to one-liners from celebs pending album releases. 

And using it to obtain new subscribers is no different. Everyone has heard the phrase 'curiosity killed the cat’, well in the case of magazines, ‘curiosity wins the subscriber!’. 

There are several ways you could use content marketing to build up intrigue regarding your magazine. For example, pending the launch of a new issue, post snippets of upcoming articles, shortened versions of videos to be included or even an unexplained image which will all become clear when the piece has been read. 

Of course, the placement of these pieces of content is just as key. You wouldn’t want to present these teaser pieces to those viewing a men’s health website if your digital magazine was targeted at full-time mums. 

The second way to build up intrigue, which tends to be more effective when you have already established awareness of your magazine, is to offer a sneak peek of some of your articles. 

This particularly works well if you are already an established business/brand with a loyal customer base and are looking to expand your offering to customers via a new subscription service. 

By inviting your customers to view your new magazine but only offering the first 200 words of each article before subscribing, you're showing them what to expect from the magazine and encouraging them to subscribe to obtain the whole picture.

2. Establish leadership

With so much competition within the publishing industry, it can be difficult to make your publication stand out, let alone be considered one of the leaders in its targeted industry. 

Most common nowadays is the use of sponsored social media posts online. This involves paying an influencer to promote your offering to encourage their followers to subscribe to your magazine. 

This can be particularly effective, but budget and placement must be strongly considered. Associating yourself with the wrong influencers can have adverse effects, and some influencers can charge a small fortune (not making it worthwhile). 

When potential customers see your magazine in the hands of someone they admire, they are not only going to be more likely to subscribe themselves but will also see you as a leader within the industry because, well, why would the influencer be bothering you!?

3. Build value

Depending on the setup of your subscription, it is likely that your customers will be paying for access to your offering. Whether this is a physical offering, such as a food subscription box, or a digital magazine, users won’t feel the need to subscribe or stay subscribed unless they hold value in what you offer. 

Using content marketing can help demonstrate to your audience why your offering is better than anything else in marketing. Perhaps it focuses on getting across your quirky brand or shows the world-changing research you publish; maybe it has the healthiest foods or is the most informational about celebs. 

Whatever it is, it is essential to get this across within your content marketing. Demonstrating your value proposition is one of the most effective ways of obtaining new subscribers and maintaining those you already have.

4. Future content ideas

When publishing a magazine (especially when not focused on the latest news and goss), the biggest challenge can be finding new material that is interesting to your subscribers. When first starting out, you have a wealth of topics to cover, but as you become more established, the number of topics left to cover may begin to dwindle. 

Content marketing, such as social posts, seminars, and presentations, allows potential subscribers to engage with you and digest your awareness campaign. You could even start hosting your own webinar series providing actionable advice and showcasing your expertise further. 

Carrying out these types of content marketing is twofold - It helps continually build your brand awareness and establish leadership, but it will also provide insight as to what your potential subscribers would like to see in the future. 

From live feeds on social media, to face to face classes, it is natural human instinct to ask questions. And then, ding dong, you have new topics to focus on and clarification that it’s the type of thing your subscribers are looking for. 

Some of these options may seem daunting to you if you’ve never tried them before, but content marketing, it’s more about a test-and-learn approach and learning from any mistakes along the way. You’ll learn what content works best for you and your audience. 

By keeping your content fresh and connected to what your subscribers are looking for, you will maintain better subscriber retention and bring in new subscribers.

5. Solidify loyalty

You’ve probably heard it’s easier and cheaper to maintain a client than to bring in a new one. And this is exactly why it is important to use your content marketing strategy to continually engage with your existing subscribers and win new ones. 

Whether you are a digital publication or a physical magazine, you will have some form of contact details for your existing subscribers. Of course, before using these details for the purposes of marketing, make sure they have opted in to comply with GDPR. 

But as long as they have… You’re good to go! 

Frequently engaging with your existing customers using content marketing, whether through direct mail, email marketing, or other, you can provide them with little gems they wouldn’t receive if they were to leave. 

For example, additional exclusive content, such as seminars, on topics not covered directly in the magazine. Offers, such as money for the next three issues. Or a survey that gets them exclusive gifts if completed. 

Regardless of the method (and it needs to suit your audience), continuous engagement with your existing subscribers will help embed that loyalty and ensure they stay.

6. Content is key

Ok, content isn’t key - Subscribers are, but it is pretty close. Having the right content marketing in place can help you get new subscribers for your magazine and keep the ones you’ve got. 

You should always consider the target audience of your publication and identify the best channels, messaging, and incentives to ensure the most successful outcome. Whether your magazine is online or print, digital and offline channels can be extremely useful for both. 

And a combination of the two is the winning combo!

What now?

So now you have a full understanding of why content is so important, you should ask yourself the following questions to help define the best course of action to increase your subscribers with content marketing;

  • Do I have subscribers to maintain?
  • Do I need new subscribers?
  • What channels will my subscribers be most susceptible to?
  • What messaging is best to reach my subscribers?
  • What incentives/techniques are most likely to create the response I require?
  • Is it within my marketing budget?
  • What data do I have for my existing subscribers?
  • How can I leverage this?

Answering these questions will help you define a clear content marketing strategy for your magazine and increase your subscriber base in no time.

This post was submitted by a TNS experts. Check out our Contributor page for details about how you can share your ideas on digital marketing, SEO, social media, growth hacking and content marketing with our audience.

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