Growing your brand these days can be a challenge, with so many businesses competing for the same customers.
But by owning a magazine you immediately stand out...
Imagine being the editor and chief of your very own magazine!
How would that elevate your personal brand!
We talked with Magazine Marketer Robyn Gipters about how to create and leverage your very own magazine so you can become even more credible and influential ...
Robyn Gipters started her career in magazine publishing, predominantly as a circulation manager which is a little bit different to the editorial or advertising side of a magazine.
Her role in publishing was to make sure that the magazines got read, a little bit like how content managers make sure your articles get clicks. It was her job to make sure that all the magazines that were being lovingly produced, got picked up at the news agents and that they were in the right place.
Because it's all very good to have a magazine that looks fantastic but without the right promotion to get them seen, it could be a total waste of time.
So we asked Robyn to share some insight into the World of Magazines, how they can help elevate your credibility, open doors, align you with celebrity brands and enable you to own your own media space to really rocket launch your personal brand.
Lauren Clemett from the UBP recently interviewed Robyn to get her expert tips…
Having your own magazine elevates your credibility and opens doors!
Aren’t magazines a declining market?
Unfortunately for traditional magazine publishers are very 'Kodak' in their mentality. So they were thinking that magazines would always be around and newsagents would always be the dominant force out there. The ones that have picked up and established a digital footprint are doing okay but the ones that just stick with the old models, they're the ones struggling.
So why are you still so passionate about magazines?
I'm absolutely loving what magazines can do for people's self-confidence and self-belief. One of my clients has gone from being a very meek quiet, unassuming business owner of an online retailer to launching her magazine and now she's a force to be reckoned with. She's doing Facebook lives as her role as editor in chief and she's reaching out and helping a community.
A well targeted magazine reaches lots of eyeballs and hence their online store that we're promoting in the magazine is getting lots of eyeballs.
Magazines have an amazing way of elevating your brand position, yourself or your business and most importantly, you own the media. So You're not paying a fortune by advertising in a magazine and you are putting the platform of a magazine together with marketing instead. You actually own the media so you're in control of the editorial content and the adverts that go in.
A well targeted magazine reaches lots of eyeballs!
What is the first step you need to take to create your own magazine?
The first step is getting really clear about to who's going to read the magazine. Before you worry about what's in the magazine and what it is going to look like, it's vital you know who your ideal reader is. Many people are very attached to the look and feel, it's a bit like giving birth to a magazine it's their own child, and don't get me wrong the magazine appearance is super important.
But we spend a lot of time with our clients working on who their avatar is, who their reader is. Because you want them to pick up the magazine and read it physically as a print magazine or to click on that link and read it online.
So the first step is to ask the question, who is this magazine for and what is going to be the content that really grabs them. It's a really crowded marketplace and you need to consider how your magazine is going to stand out and how do you get people in and then have them follow you and want to actually hear what you've got to say.
And how do you create the content for your magazine that you know people will want to read?
In the world we are living in magazines still have a credibility associated with them. So if you were to contact an influencer in your industry or a celebrity, leader or well known identity that your ideal reader would know of and ask if they would like to feature in your magazine that's launching, and we're launching to an audience of 100000you could get those people to provide content.
We're engaging with celebrities everyday and we get about a 98 percent success rate and when we've had a couple of people
A tip here is to check the new book launches or those promoting a new program or show, because they will be keen to have the coverage. That's the other unique thing about a magazine that people don't necessarily think of. Magazines still come with a little bit of class and the style of prestige that may not necessarily associated with being featured in a blog or Facebook post or whatever it might be. Being featured in a magazine is pretty special.
The other thing you can do is join Facebook Groups where you know your readers hang out and ask them to share their stories in your magazine and follow the influencers on Instagram and other social media, so you can ask them to be featured and they will of course, create a buzz about the magazine for you.
Magazines still have a credibility associated with them.
What leverage does having your own magazine give you?
It's really interesting how magazines have been evolving within a business model where, as the editor and chief, you can do so much more than trying to be featured in someone else's title. For example, we are launching a magazine called Thyroid health for a client who actually owns a supplement she developed for people with Hashimoto's.
The challenge was that she's not allowed to advertise a supplement in theU.S. due to FDA laws. So what we've done is we've created Thyroid health and we're actually promoting her supplement in the magazine. We're also doing an e-book where people can get a lead magnet to recipes that are great for thyroid and promoting that in the magazine as well.
So basically first work out who the perfect customer is for the reader. Then work out who the big influencers are in this space, who's got the clout and the credibility to be able to make this magazine stand on its own two feet. In the case of Thyroid Health there was a leader in field who has a Facebook group with a million followers, so that magazine will launch to a reach of about three point three million in her target space with her target customer.
What if your business is selling services, can magazines work for you?
Yes of course! This is a big opportunity for coaches. For example we are working on a magazine called Youth in Business where the client runs entrepreneurial programs for teens. Having a magazine simply reinforces who are you and why people should listen to you.
It's about giving your personal brand some clout and a good reputation, because coaches are always marketing to a new audience and trying to bringing new people into their programs. Having a magazine is how you elevate yourself above the competition.
Also you can align your personal brand with leaders in the wider industry. For example Janine Allis from Boost Juice and Shark Tank is an awesome contributor here in Australia. She is well known and very well respected and when we approached her she said would contribute if we would we consider her for the front cover. We were like, oh we'll all have to run that by our editorial team!
Having your own magazine aligns your personal brand with leaders in the wider industry
What if your business is very local, isn't having a magazine a bit over the top?
Not at all! In fact it's awesome for local businesses. For example there is a real estate agent who is trying to position herself in a very noisy market place where there's something like 180 different real estate agents. She is new to the area and it's a country town which is very parochial and it would be difficult to position herself as separate from the competition.
So she has approached local 'celebrities', people like the mayor who is particular influencer (if you get invited to her lunches you're in), members of the council, local cafes and other service providers and she interviews them. Thanks to her magazine local people are now asking for her for opinion and she has closed $1.8 Million so far in sales since her first issue!
So having your own magazine is a bit like branding by association?
Yes, you are in fact building a community and featuring the sort of people who make readers stop and at least skim or turn the pages in the magazine. It's much better use of your marketing dollar than either buying advertising space or advertorials space in someone else's magazine.
What about using magazines for giveaways or prizes?
Yes, that is something that works well if you have a product. For example, we once also had a Skate business and we used to target magazines that we wanted to get our skateboards featured in to get the brand to be known as a really cool brand and we knew our our customer was quite young.
So we approached a skate magazine and said to them that our recommended retail price for our skateboards was about $X dollars and we'll give you X number of skateboards in exchange for a giveaway. So you can contact the subscription manager or marketing manager to ask them about donating product in order to be featured. Just make sure you get good coverage, not just a mention though. The skate magazine gave us full page promotion and we were in ongoing issues because they were desperate for prizes.
Having your own magazine is much better use of your marketing dollar than buying advertising space in someone else's magazine.
Creating a magazine sounds like an awful lot of hard work though?
Yeah and I think that's the biggest myth. I mean if you can write a blog actually even if you don't you can't write a blog, but if you can come up with an idea for a blog title, like a headline, then you can create a magazine. That's what I mean by saying gone are the days where it's like a mammoth effort to build a magazine. You know there's some really simple steps you can follow.
For example, the sweet spot for a digital magazine is about 28 to 32 pages. So you don't want it to be too big because people just start flicking. You know we're as impatient as ever these days so if you go over 32 pages the engagement drops. Now that might sound like a lot of content, but let's break that down.
You've got a cover page you've got the inside front cover which is usually an ad, so that could be your lead magnet or it could be a branding advert, then you've got your table of contents page and your contributors page that features the different contributors in the magazine and then you've got your 'from the editor' which you would write saying welcome to your first issue, then you got your blog posts if you've already written them...and you're halfway there.
Then add in your contributors articles, some adverts for your events, workshops, webinars etc or even your contributors adverts, or ads from others in your industry who offer complimentary services or products. Then maybe a what's on list for upcoming events in your industry or community, or an outline of what's in the next issue, a contest or giveaway, then the inside back cover and an advert on the back.
And could you do this yourself?
You could but if you really want credibility, especially for the front cover, you are best to get a designer to lay it up for you. It's also a good idea to get someone on Upwork to design a double page spread for you so you can at least go to the contributors with a mock-up of the magazine.. I mean you can find a magazine design that knows how to lay out a magazine and it's really easy.
If you know how to do an e-book you can do a magazine! If you get really clear on who your customer is then you can get really clear what they care about, what their problems are and what content they really want and need so you can lay it out to suit them - it's not rocket science.
If you know how to do an e-book you can do a magazine!
So you could use your magazine to get in front of those Key Opinion Leaders in the Marketplace who could endorse, affiliate or refer your business?
Yes of course. Go to contributors who do different things that you who already have your customers right now, someone you are not in competition with that you could work together for mutual benefit. If you've done some work on your target avatar and have identified your key opinion leaders, the people you want to get in front of you can approach these key opinion leaders and get to know them.
There is no better way to get in touch with your key opinion leaders than to say "hey, I we'd love to have your story in our magazine... could you send us an article and photographs and your comments or we could I have an interview" (you can find a journalist on UpWork to do this for you). Then send five or six questions for them to fill in the answers along with maybe one key tip and you have contributors and influencers referring your magazine and your brand.
What about the cover design, what should go on that?
Don't do it yourself! Spend the money with UpWork and get a cover design done. Get your cover mocked up too. It doesn't have to be the cover you launch with, but because you are sending our emails out to your potential contributors and KOL's, having a professional cover really does give you an enormous amount of clout. If you just sending an email saying oh we're thinking about creating a magazine, you wouldn't get cut through. Magazine designers have a template that they follow pretty much, so you're using the same cut and paste the template which shouldn't cost much, but it means your magazine is more real.
We are doing this with our clients and we are getting highly credible contributors like Simon Sinek, Robin Sharma, Matt Moran, Tiff Hall etc. We're getting big celebrities and they've got huge reach and this is the other thing to think about is is to actually consider who you want your brand to be associated with. Sometimes your magazine can be a conduit for them too. For Example we just interviewed Stephanie Alexander, the beautiful Australian chef and she says a beautiful copy of her magazine will be used as her new cookbook. So you know what I would say is, think about the mix of contributors that you get.
Who are your clout partners. If you put them in your magazine you know that instantly that's going to give you enormous credibility. Another example is a magazine we just called Acupuncture Health and we had JLo on the front cover. So instantly that's going to get picked up in the waiting room at the acupuncturist because it's acupuncture help and it's got a star on the cover rather than some Zen image that's generic it looks like a stock image. People are going to wonder why is JLo on the cover, then read the article about 25 famous people who use acupuncture and she is one of them!
There is no better way to get in touch with your key opinion leaders than to say hey, I we'd love to have your story in our magazine!
Where do you go to find out who the celebrities are in your industry, or talking about topics your brand is involved with?
I go to www.buzzsumo.com. You can pay for it, but I think if you use a free version it gives you the top 10 search results when you type in a topic. Buzzsumo is the latest stuff is trending the biggest trending news and topics and that's why it's great to go searching there.
What are your thoughts around whether it should be a physical printed magazine or just an e-publication?
That really again comes back to what I keep anchoring to; who is your reader and what is the purpose of the magazine?
I'm not a that big an advocate of printing anymore just because of the cost of production. Unfortunately unless you're printing 10000 or you can wait and get it printed in Asia, it's really cost prohibitive. However if you've got a market like our clients that run events, like the one who put Janine Allis on the cover, they got a few printed and put one on every chair and then they realised how much was valuable commodity it was and how much people were loving it.
They actually turned it into a reward for people giving them a testimonial to get a free copy of the magazine at their next event!
Plus the client couldn't quite believe that he actually was being stalked to get his autograph on the magazine. So if you've got a market where you think it could be beneficial to have a printed magazine or if you're putting it in a bag a gift bag at an event then definitely print it, but just consider why you're doing the magazine. What's the purpose of it? It can be a bit like a book. It has enormous cred factor. So if you're a coach and you're going into consulting meetings you can leave a copy of your magazine for the attendees. Just saying "here's a copy of my magazine" makes your credibility go through the roof.
That's an awesome idea because most service providers just gift a certificate or coupon for a free session but this way you can put a copy of your magazine into a gift bag. But how often should you publish magazine?
We tend to publish quarterly, but there is no hard and fast rule. So If you don't want to put a magazine out every month or every quarter, you can make your magazine annual if you want to. Nobody needs to know just don't put the date on the front cover. Quarterly is about the absolute quickest turnaround I would ever do because you will kill yourself! I mean I've worked on weekly titles and I felt like my years were turned into minute.
So I would stick to quarterly if you can. A tip is to create evergreen content which doesn't date, so you're not mentioning "coming up this Christmas" or mentioning event dates that people will miss. But also, that's the great thing about digital, is that you can easily update the events page to keep it relevant.
Just saying "here's a copy of my magazine" makes your credibility go through the roof.
So where do you publish your online magazine once it's done?
We use as a platform to publish a magazine called issuu.com which is where you can upload a P.D.F. and then that turns it into a lovely page flipper and you get a link to your magazine which you can share with your audience and give to your contributors to share it.
If you have evergreen content and want to change a page, you can just update that particular page within the P.D.F. and the link doesn't change so nobody will know that you've updated the info. I also suggest you push your magazine out to social media and your database. So you can have just one magazine and update the contents so that if people come back to your link they aren't going to see the old content. But the reason we do quarterly is because we want to keep reaching out to the big contributors and getting these big lists and partnerships.
For example one of our clients is a coach and we did the initial engagement with the contributors, then our editorial teams sent out a 'thank you so much for being a part of our magazine' to them and gave them images and email content to help them share it with their audiences.
One of those ended up with a conversation and they're doing a joint venture that made $250000 out of the relationship. So that's the other beautiful thing about it, it's not just about the magazine it's about the relationships you form and the connections that you form and then how you can leverage those connections.
Having your own magazine is all about the relationships and the connections that you form.
So Robin tell us a bit more about what you do to help people?
So we've developed a system where we work with companies over 12 months to produce more magazines. I've actually got two events coming up in Sydney and Melbourne which are free three day events to talk about how to make your magazine come to life and then how to maximise the marketing of that magazine. We also have a full production team and creative team and that's our job to get the magazine out there to get it seen.
We really are focused on the marketing of your magazine though, not just creating it. So every magazine we've produced we also link it to Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages that are all associated with the magazine. Another tip is to take your magazine and turn it into other content.
What I mean by that is every article has probably got the capacity to be about five to 10 different post so there might be a killer quote you've put in there and that can be put on your Facebook page. There's lots of different ways you can turn the magazine into tentacles. For every issue we publish we do at least three press releases to our media database.
We Create press releases around certain articles within the magazine, and make one about the editor because media like to talk to all to someone that's considered an expert.
So if there's a particular topic you know about, we create a LinkedIn profile for our clients, then they are leveraging that and they're able to anchor themselves as editor in chief of the magazine. We also run social media a launch programs with lots of contributor engagement. Basically it's not just the creation of your magazine, we take the heavy lifting away.
One of the most important things you talked about right from the very start is that it's all we want to be creating content, to be blogging and writing articles and getting yourself into the media and so on.
But if you're not leveraging that if it's just sitting there like the ghost town like the Wild West town with the tumbleweed rolling down the road and nobody even looking at what you're sharing. It's really not getting your brand out there.
Yes I agree! What Would be better than to get all of that awesome content that you've already created, even your videos could be transcribed into articles transcribed, and then share your message with the World in your own magazine.
The tip is to start thinking about your content reach before you start thinking about your content. Even using Facebook Live content which seems to be getting a lot more engagement. The risk is that you try to make it about you and that's a danger.
Remember you are talking to me, the reader. I think that's where you leave out trying to appeal to everyone and you let the magazine speak for itself by giving great valuable content.
Just keep thinking about who it is you're talking to.
Yes, absolutely! Making it personal in today's world where everybody trying to reach the masses is so vital in terms of engagement.
Robyn Thank you so much for sharing your insights, expertise and amazing action steps to leverage owning your own magazine to really rocket launch your brand!
You can find out more about Robyn and her services by CLICKING HERE