Below are several ideas to help magazine publishers increase their brand footprint and audience.
Think of events as experiences that are extensions of your brand. Whether high-profile or low-key, events can have a positive and lasting impact on brand awareness and help you grow your audience. An easy place for regional publishers to start is by looking locally for events and happenings in your community. Publications that have national or disperse audiences can still act locally, or they can consider online events.
More than simply staffing a booth at an established event, think about sponsoring a unique activity within the larger event so that your brand name is included on the event’s marketing pieces.
Alternately, develop a new event that aligns with a particular day or celebration that makes sense for your brand. You can take your investment even further by creating relevant content in your publication that is complementary to your event efforts, like profiling sponsors and telling the story of your event’s development and mission.
For example, for publications targeting parents, you could create an event celebrating National Napping Day and recruit business sponsors related to baby and sleep-aid products. (Free napping pods, anyone?) Event activities could focus on solutions to sleep challenges and could feature stories about parents who have used specific products or techniques to overcome those challenges. Thinking outside the box (but inside your target audience’s mindset) will enable you to provide unique experiences that will engage people and result in high involvement and turnout.
Like attracts like, and if you have a strong network of partnerships, your brand will not only have a larger footprint, but will also have a larger impact on new audiences. Is there a business, or even another publication, that complements your publication’s content focus?
If you specialize on gardening, is a there a gardening center or a publication focused on home improvement that you could partner with? What about joining forces to put on events, contests or even offer discounts for advertising in, or subscribing to, both magazines?
Exploring ways that you can find like-minded and similar brands and companies to elevate your own is an inexpensive way to gain traction with new audiences.
Customer experience is one of the best ways to amplify your brand in a positive way that encourages your audience to share with others. We’ve previously written about utilizing digital tools to elevate brand experience. If someone contacts you for anything, from advertising rates to subscription questions to a comment about an article, lead with courtesy and kindness. This may seem small, but the impact of positive interactions are lasting, especially if they’re not pleasant or convenient.
Take cues from those who do it well
Take a look at some of the brands you love and use most often. Do you love them solely because you like their product or service offering? Or does their branding and personality also play into your affinity for them?
Is there anything that other companies do that you could apply to your publications branding in terms of messaging and personality? Study what works for others and see if you can make any changes to your brand that still are in line with your message and values.
Conferences and special events are great places to network and identify potential partners and brand champions. You can connect with people in your community through volunteering, attending community events. You’ll build goodwill and bridges with those around you and elevate an awareness of your publication and those who want to support it.
Can you go a step further by developing a mascot for your publication that is tied to your focus content, like a flamboyant chef for cooking magazines or a historical figure from the region you cover? A character that is approachable and knowledgeable can serve as an ambassador for your brand and provide a visual connection to your publication.
Be sure to share your brand values
You know what your brand stands for and it’s always a good idea to communicate your values to your audience. Talk about the things that are important to your publication. For example, if you focus on home building, maybe you are particularly invested in green practices that make sustainability more approachable for builders, contractors and home buyers. Do you do anything as a publication that brings this into your everyday life like solar panels on your office building or making purchases for the office that are environmentally friendly?
If you can communicate ways that show how you embody your brand values outside of your printed pages, members of your target audience who share those values will engage with you. In turn, this builds brand loyalty and the kind of word-of-mouth buzz that elevates brands.
In the end, the best way to amplify your brand is to be true to your brand’s mission, values and message by taking a concerted interest in those around you and within your publication’s landscape. By building connections with people, communities and other businesses, you’ll naturally begin to see opportunities for you to highlight what you do and who you are.