The digital revolution has made a number of things clear, including the fact that consumers don’t want to read advertising – they want interesting, engaging content.
The newest use of digital publishing technology is in custom publishing – also more commonly known as “content marketing”. It is becoming a major part of the communications strategy of many big brands from a variety of industries. In every genre the aim is the same: to find and retain customers by engaging them with relevant, interesting reading.
In this multi-platform environment, digital publications don’t just compete with other magazines, but with any media that take up consumers’ time. Content has to be top-notch and must not feel like advertising. What’s important for digital publishers to focus on is that their content is made available wherever customers want to engage, which is most often within the context of a multi-platform strategy, including digital, print, and websites.
The line between digital and print is blurring, but any digital strategy must include content that is created and customized for each part of a multi-platform strategy. While print magazines continue to be the anchor of most content marketing strategies, at this point in the digital revolution readers still want print magazines. For now, brands that don’t embrace both platforms are at a disadvantage.
It is becoming increasingly understood that custom magazines, those that focus on reader-driven content, increase brand engagement. The beauty inherent in content marketing is about the customer experience. It’s about immersing the consumer in the brand. Content marketing lends itself really well to this. The difference between a brochure that pushes products and a magazine that gives your client lifestyle inspiration is the way it makes the client feel. The consumer mustn’t feel sold-to; they must feel engaged. It’s all about storytelling.
For many brands, an investment in content marketing may seem expensive. But as consumers are exposed to more and more content, quality stories can help these brands stand out. And even in an increasingly online world, magazines are still the lynchpin of a wider strategy.