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Publishing a Customer Magazine – How has the Process Changed?

Customer Magazine Publishing Process -

The process of publishing a customer magazine can be time-consuming and costly without always generating the profit you’re looking for. There must be a way to modernize it and make it more cost-efficient.

The process of publishing a magazine has gone through several changes over the years with the whole media industry trying to find its shape in the era of digitalization. More changes are yet to come. How has the publishing process changed so far and what will the future look like?

Traditional Publishing Process of a Printed Customer Magazine

Initially, as the customer magazines have all been printed publications, the publishing process has consisted of four main stages: content production and editing, layout design, press, and distribution. In all the four stages, the executing organization has often been different. Producing the content and editing the articles has in most cases been done by the publishing company itself, but layout designing as well as the actual printing and distribution have mostly been bought from another service provider.

The publication process has typically been scheduled with the desired distribution time in mind. This has been the case especially with a customer magazine, which by nature is due to be published periodically.

  1. First, you have determined the date by which you wish the magazine to be delivered to the customer.
  2. From that day backwards you have set a date with the distribution operators as to when they need to have the magazines, to get them to the customers in time.
  3. From that date set by the distribution operator, you would have counted a time frame for the pressing and post-processing of the magazine to determine when the material needs to be ready from layout designing.

The timetable for content production, editing and layout designing can vary a lot depending on the content itself and on how much it needs time in order to be presentable. Are there for example many images requiring editing or different types of elements needing adjustment in layout design?

In order for this type of publishing process of a customer magazine to be cost-efficient, the circulation needs to be large. Although publishing a single issue in numerous copies would decrease its cost to reasonable, the total cost of publishing will still be significant if the magazine is published say monthly.

Looking for New Ways of Publishing a Magazine

The trend has been for many organizations to look for new ways of publishing their customer magazine in order to be a part of the modern-day media, gain more coverage and achieve cost-efficiency.

A typical interphase method many organizations today are using is the following: instead of publishing their customer magazine only in print, they publish it also online (sometimes behind login walls). For many, though, this type of online magazine is published only in a PDF format. The PDF magazine is a lookalike of the publication that has been sent to print.

With this type of publishing process, you still need to go through all the above mentioned stages of publishing for print. In addition to that, you need a platform for publishing the PDF magazine online. Often times this platform can be found from the organizations own website, which in itself doesn’t add costs, but it does require a few new stages and some resources and skills to actually publish the magazine online.

The savings as a whole with this type of publishing process won’t be substantial either, unless publishing the magazine in PDF means you reduce the circulation or publishing frequency of the printed magazine.

And while the identical PDF version of a customer magazine can be handy and a step towards multichannel publishing, it’s still not the ideal option. A PDF magazine can’t be navigated, shared or read as smoothly as an online magazine in the form of a website.

Towards a Multichannel Customer Magazine

The next step towards a genuinely multichannel customer magazine is serving articles in both medias – online and print – in a way best suitable for each. Reading an identical PDF magazine online isn’t as reader-friendly as it should be. Reading articles or posts on a website, on the other hand, with a font size you can read without zooming and a fully responsive layout design, makes the reading experience a lot better. Adding features enabled by a website like navigation menus and search functionalities, means the reader can find what they’re looking for more easily, and the publisher can link between articles or share an individual article in social media, for example.

With the plugin, you can write posts to your WordPress site as you would, and utilize those articles in creating a printed customer magazine. The online world often requires more frequent publishing, which you can achieve by blogging or writing articles to your online magazine on a regular basis. Publish as you go, without having to wait for a certain number of pages to be together before publishing, as you would in a printed magazine.

Creating a printed customer magazine for your selected audience, means you choose any articles from your website you deem suitable (or add new content if desired), and compile a printed customer magazine out of those. By doing your layout designing with the plugin, you don’t need to buy the services of a layout design artist, and can save time and money on that. There’s no need to draft content twice either, as you can use the same articles you’ve published online.

Thinking of Both Online and Print Audiences

In a genuinely multichannel publishing of a customer magazine, in stead of thinking “print first”, it’s better to take both online and print audiences into consideration and publish in both medias in a way that makes the reader experience optimal in each. Create interesting quality content with the publication frequency expected of each media and take use of features enabled by both channels, such as search functionalities and navigation on the web and presentable layout and targeted delivery in print.

By reviewing your current publishing process and making adjustments to best reach and please your readers in all medias, you can save effort, gain new readers and make the whole process more cost-efficient.

It’s safe to say, that the publishing process of a customer magazine has moved from a one-dimensional project towards an agile model, where you can easily try out different ways of publishing. If one way of looking at it doesn’t work, try a new one to find the best solution for your organization to deliver content that keeps your audiences intrigued and engaged.