5 Ways to Make Your Custom Magazine a MUST Read

by Erin Mooney - 01/23/15

You dont have to be Cosmo or Real Simple to engage readers—but you can take a page from their best practices. Apply these five characteristics to get readers just as excited about seeing your magazine in the mail as they are about national magazines.


Publishing a fully custom magazine that features your organization’s content is an excellent way to promote your brand and engage your audience—but only if your audience finds the content relevant. To help determine what will work for a general audience, think of your favorite magazines. What do they look like? Why do you read them? What moves you to share the content with colleagues and friends?

True North studies show that readers prefer soft-sell articles about health and lifestyle, as opposed to articles that focus on an organization’s services, technology, and awards. This soft-sell approach offers greater ROI when compared to a hard-sell approach. Even if your objective is to increase service utilization, engaging readers with relevant content that aligns with their lifestyles and interests is key to success.

To increase your magazine’s ROI and help make it one enjoyable for readers, consider a new content approach with a soft-sell strategy and a commercial magazine feel. Try these tips to achieve this while maintaining your professional brand and sharing useful information:

  • Start with a magazine cover. Instead of featuring an article on the cover (newsletter-style), use an attention-grabbing nameplate with coverlines and a photo that fills the entire page. Keep in mind you're competing with at least five to seven other pieces for counter space, so standing out from the crowd is step one. If you prefer to start content on the cover (due to small page count), consider a short article at the bottom with no more than 100 to 150 words.
  • Write soft-sell headlines and articles. Choose articles (and headlines to match) that feature health and lifestyle content. For example, instead of an article about your hospital’s mammography service, write about the “5 Things You Should Know About Breast Health” and include quotes from a nurse practitioner at your facility. Think of the organization’s service information as being hidden vegetables in a bowl of macaroni and cheese.
  • Make your design fun and creative. Add sizzle to your publication by infusing fun, eye-catching fonts, infographics, images, and artwork. The aesthetics will help convince the reader to dive into the content. Local photos are great, but don’t be afraid of stock imagery. Captivate your readers with eye-popping visuals, and they’ll feel as if they’ve been gifted with a free issue of a newsstand magazine.
  • Customize your content. Incorporating information about your organization will make your soft-sell approach productive. With content geared more toward health and lifestyle than news and updates, use sidebars, CTAs, and photos to provide information about your services, staff, and expertise.
  • Continue the conversation online. Make sure your magazine isn't a dead end by extending the content to relevant sections of your website or blog, where you can enrich the reader experience and nurture prospective customers along the decision path.

True North Custom has the experience and expertise to write content your audience will enjoy. For more information about True North's custom content marketing solutions, contact Chief Marketing Officer Jason Skinner at (423) 305-7692 or jskinner@truenorthcustom.com.

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