How to Use Content Marketing to Build your Magazine Subscribers

/ March 2, 2021 | 5 Mins Read

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 ultimately, your magazine won’t make money. 

As a result, it is important to use all of the tools at your disposal, to not only win new subscribers but 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 various channels both digitally and offline. Typically, it is the use of the content for the purpose of building 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 in the form of 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 important not to forget the offline channels also. 

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 when looking to obtain new subscribers is by building intrigue. This technique is used in marketing industries all over the world, 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 a number of 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, placement of these pieces of content is just as key. You wouldn’t want to be presenting these teaser pieces to those viewing a men’s health website if your digital magazine was targeted to full-time mums. 

The second way to build up intrigue, and this 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 but also 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 it’s targeted industry. 

Most common, nowadays, is the use of sponsored social media posts online. This involves paying an influencer to promote your offering as a means of encouraging their followers to also subscribe to your magazine. 

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

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, unless users hold value in what you are offering, they won’t feel the need to subscribe or stay subscribed. 

Using content marketing can help demonstrate to your audience, why your offering is better than anything else on the 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 not only obtaining new subscribers but 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 your potential subscribers to engage with you as well as 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 it is 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 with content marketing, it’s more about a test and learn approach, and learning from any mistakes along the way. You’ll learn what type of 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 whilst also, bringing in new subscribers.

5. Solidify loyalty

You’ve probably heard, it’s easier and cheaper to maintain a client than it is 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 as well as 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 off the next 3 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 make sure they stay.

6. Content is key

Ok, ok, content isn’t key - Subscribers are, but it is pretty close. Having the right content marketing in place can not only help you get new subscribers for your magazine but 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. As discussed, whether your magazine is online or print, both 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 increasing 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 to define a clear content marketing strategy for your magazine and have you increasing 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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