7 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Branded Print Magazine

7 Reasons Your Small Business Needs a Branded Print Magazine

I sent this print piece off to the printer for a client today.

I absolutely LOVE organizing content for print, and I’m so happy I took a risk and suggested doing a printed piece when all the focus in digital marketing right now is on...well...digital!

I started my career in print magazines, and they will always be a passion for me, but there are other reasons I believe we’re seeing a return of print.

"There has never been a bigger opportunity for brands in the printed channel than right now." So says Joe Pulizzi, founder of Content Marketing Institute and the author of Content Inc.

The reason? Digital marketing is now de facto – it’s traditional marketing. To cut through the marketing fog, you have to do something different to capture people’s attention.

While national magazines and newspapers that are broad in scope and coverage continue to cease print publication, “highly niche, highly targeted publications are flourishing as a marketing tool,” Pulizzi says.

“As the traditional magazine industry struggles to retain its footing in the Internet Age, custom publications offer an alternative way for brands to connect with their customers in a meaningful way,” Nicolette Beard writes in TopRankMarketing.  “The content in branded magazines represents an opportunity for customers to explore a brand that they feel strongly about and one that they already connect with.

It’s about content in context: The branded print magazines that provide real value to readers will thrive even when traditional magazines may be struggling.”

Print magazines, catalogs or special editions are ideal tools to super-serve existing customers and give them additional opportunities to engage with your brand.

For instance, 90% of customers to TD Ameritrade’s ThinkMoney magazine take action on a product it promotes through the print magazine. Subscribers who regularly read the magazine trade 5x more than those who don’t.

“For those where storytelling and lifestyle content is essential for customer engagement, print offers a unique opportunity to ‘own’ vs. ‘rent’ their native advertising,” Beard writes. “Some brand publishers, like Red Bull, are even transforming themselves into a full-fledged media company.”

A print piece or magazine can be a powerful tool in your content marketing strategy for several reasons:


People LOVE it. There’s an inherent value that comes along with a print piece. People hang on to them. They’re difficult to justify throwing away. And for whatever reason, people loved to be featured and interviewed in print.

When I was the Editorial Director for RELEVANT magazine, we had digital and print magazines. Hands down, the print magazine was where everyone wanted to be featured. There’s a scarcity associated with it which brings up its perceived value.

There’s also a timelessness and beauty to the printed page that you just can’t replicate online, no matter how well it’s designed.

It’s rare. How many pieces of physical mail did you get today versus email? No comparison, right? We pay more attention to individual pieces of print mail than we do our email inboxes.

Email marketing is still the most powerful online marketing tool -- so why not reinforce it with print? A print magazine is part of the broader narrative your company is telling. It doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It will reinforce your other channels.


It’s perfect for customer nurture. When we focus entirely on lead generation, we can leave something to be desired in the post-purchase follow-up. Nurturing customers after a sale will solidify your relationship and leave them eager to buy again.

And, you don’t have to worry about figuring out distribution -- the eternal thorn in the publishing business.

For example, a luggage company started a print magazine based on the questions customer service was receiving. The put a copy of Here magazine in every piece of luggage they ship out. This is genius, because a plane and other travel scenarios are the perfect places to read a print magazine.


It’s potentially revenue-generating. Not only is it cheaper to and more feasible to get an existing customer to buy a product again that’s featured in your magazine, but you can also sell outside advertising.

Other examples:


It’s an education tool. It’s been said the Internet is where we go to find answers, but print is where we get the questions. A reader’s engagement is so different with a print piece than online. Online gets 1-3 seconds of attention, endless scrolling and scanning. With a printed piece, we lean back, relax, take in. Our mindset shifts from fast to slow.

Single Issue Publications (SIP) have also taken off in popularity -- and people are willing to spend more more for them than magazines.

Beth Braverman reports in Folio magazine: “‘People really like the single topic thing,’ says Alec Casey, chief marketing officer for Trusted Media Brands, which sees about 70 percent of its revenue come from consumers. ‘It’s a smaller investment than what you’d pay for a book, but bigger than a magazine. If you know you’re going to like the topic, you’re willing to spend a little more.’”

It sticks. Scientists have observed that the act of reading a physical book strengths the learning of the concepts inside. The physical connection creates a physical memory of your senses. That experience is missing from digital screens with no fixed location. (This research is highlighted in the book The Tech-Wise Family by Andy Crouch).


You can send a message. More and more people are tiring of being tethered to electronics all day. When they want to digest meaningful information, they want to unplug.

Customers, especially younger ones, are making purchasing decisions based on companies they share values with – and increasingly, these are companies who are committed to core values that improve the quality of life for humans and the planet.

Print can be a powerful option to show your values in action to build credibility. (For example, think of how REI does the #optoutside movement on Black Friday by shutting down stores.)

Give them this option with a print piece and reinforce a message that life is meant to be lived off-line.

Options for a print piece:

  • Magazine

  • Single Issue Publication

  • Look Book

  • Catalog

  • Brochure

  • Postcard

Contact me today to see what makes sense for your brand.

In the case of this piece for The Look Facial Aesthetics. Owner Haley Wood wanted a place to feature all the great original content we’ve developed on her blog in her office. By having a print piece, she can give copies to her patients, have them in the waiting areas, and customers can share them with friends.

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