Rapid-fire social media and video are brilliant tools, but there is still an important role for publications – if they are done well
There are myriad ways to reach your customers. Some of the most effective communication is done really simply and directly through immediate digital means such as social media and apps. So, the age of longer-form publications such as magazines is dead? Well, not quite.
We continue to support many of our customers to produce customer and client publications for print and digital consumption. Why do they do this and what are the key pointers to ensuring it is done well?
Why bother producing a publication?
In the age of memes, animation and video, a printed magazine or ezine may seem better suited to the dark ages. But this would be forgetting a crucial rule in communications: know your audience.
Experience shows that many tenants and residents feel more comfortable receiving a well-written and eye-catching flyer or magazine than attending a drop-in session or using the online customer portal. Also, a picture-led publication or well-planned newsletter can be the best way to highlight your innovation or thought-leadership credentials, away from the rapid-fire distractions of social media.
Our clients, such as Campbell Tickell with its regular CT Brief newsletter, or Willmott Dixon and its ‘Brilliant Buildings’ series, have found these publications (distributed in print and digital form) are important parts of their marketing mix, generating conversations, leads and, crucially, business.
How to produce the perfect publication?
The following are the key steps we consider with all clients before embarking on a project.
- Know your audience: what are their interests/hobbies, age, likes/dislikes, how do they like to consume information? If they don’t like receiving information via a publication or ezine, then why produce one? Stop and do something different that will better connect and give you the best chance of communicating your messages
- What are your key messages? This is essentially what you want to convey to your customers or tenants. Is it about a service update, a local event, repairs visit, etc?
- What is your call to action – what do you want people to do as a result of your communication? Visit your website for more information; plan for universal credit; attend a summer fete?
- What will grab the attention of your target audience? What will make them pick up and then read your publication? What is the content your target audience will find most engaging? Should this content be punchy and colourful; or more in-depth and reflective? All of this is crucial in determining how well you deliver your call to action.
- How will you measure the impact of your publication? Is it people visiting your website? Is it tenants changing their behaviour to use a new online portal, or allowing access for annual gas inspection?
- How can you make the content work hard for you across different channels? Great content takes time, so it makes sense to use it as often as you can across social media, your website, face-to-face events, etc. Doing this is not only cost-effective, it also increases your chances of successfully reaching and engaging as many of your target audience as possible
Stuart Macdonald is Managing Director of See Media