Your magazine is how your association connects with its members. That’s exactly why it needs to align with your organization’s brand, strategy and goals. Whether you want to establish your association as an industry leader, cultivate its membership or something else entirely, MSP-C can help. Bret Ryan, a senior art director at MSP-C, explains what your organization can get out of redesigning and relaunching its publication.
Is your association’s magazine in need of a relaunch? While it may sound like a cumbersome process at first, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, your investment in time up front will pay off with a magazine that helps you accomplish your goals and form a deeper connection with your members. But why go through a relaunch in the first place?
What you can get out of a magazine redesign
Redesigning gives your organization opportunities to course correct for industry trends, cement your association’s brand and adopt publishing best practices.
“It allows you to keep things fresh,” Ryan says. “A redesign is a great way to keep your audience engaged. By creating a fresh product for your readers, it gives them a new reason to be excited about the magazine while also reinforcing your association’s commitment to the magazine and your members.”
“Simply put, a redesign is the time to make the magazine feel new again,” Ryan says. “It’s inevitable that magazine design sensibilities—from the seemingly simple, like fonts and color palette, to the big picture, like the name, imagery styles and types of content—change over the life of a publication, so a redesign is the time to work in a more modern look.”
Even if a contemporary feel isn’t what your association is going for, use the feedback from your members, staff or advertisers to update the design and boost readership or sales. Craft a reader experience, from developing eye-catching visuals to conceiving engaging front-of-book content, to keep your members’ attention.
These updates are especially important if your association has deviated from its previous branding, marketing or content strategies. If they felt stale, then it follows that the magazine may feel stale, too. Refocusing the publication’s design and content can better position it as a tool to push these efforts forward.
For example, if your organization has recently begun a podcast, YouTube channel or blog, redesigning the magazine allows you to highlight these new mediums to readers. During the redesign, you could create a section featuring excerpted podcast episodes to drive digital engagement or, on the flip side, produce a behind-the-scenes interview on video with the publication’s cover star to push members to subscribe.
Your magazine is where your members come together to connect with your association, with your subject matter experts and with your shared mission. Making it feel unique to your organization, your needs and your members is key to driving that relationship.
“From sharing the magazine with family or setting it out on their coffee table, the magazine allows your members to show how proud they are to be members of your association,” Ryan says. “It promotes your brand while amplifying your position as a thought leader in your industry.”
How MSP‑C will redesign and relaunch your magazine
When your association works with MSP‑C to redesign its magazine, it benefits from a full range of services. The agency’s client services model means your organization has direct access to the seasoned staff working on your magazine’s editorial, design and/or production operations, as well as those collaborating on your content or digital strategy.
“What we’ve heard from so many clients is that we listen to them. MSP‑C is there for them,” Ryan says. “We make ourselves available as much as possible. Many of our clients have direct access to our creative team. Our model definitely puts the client first.”
Ryan says the MSP‑C magazine redesign process typically includes a few primary steps:
- MSP‑C’s team will publish at least one issue to get familiarized with what’s working and make informed recommendations on what could be improved with the magazine and its operations.
- A creative summit gives your team the opportunity to dive into the magazine to discuss what to update and how to best approach the redesign. “It’s a conversation,” Ryan says. Rather than tell you what your association’s publication should look like, MSP‑C’s editorial and design teams ask what your goals are and, drawing from their wealth of experience, talk through the approaches to enable the magazine to meet them.
- MSP‑C’s design and editorial teams will produce a creative brief with a proposed editorial lineup, visual mood board and layout mockups showing what the redesign will look like based off feedback from the creative summit.
- MSP‑C also offers a Catalyst service where its team will undertake an audit of your website and other platforms to assess the effectiveness of your content and present a strategy to boost performance.
5 Signs That It’s Time to Redesign Your Magazine
Don’t know if you should consider a redesign? If you’ve found you or those in your organization in these situations, then it may be time. Here are a few signs that you should move forward with a redesign:
- You don’t feel inspired when you read it. If you don’t feel a sense of community or learn something each time you open the magazine, then your members aren’t either.
- Your current content doesn’t speak to your member’s needs. Your magazine should help establish your organization as a thought leader in your industry or field, providing direction, education and vision for your members or potential members you’d like to reach.
- You’ve overhauled your brand or mission. Relaunching the magazine can make sure each piece of your brand is in lockstep with one another, avoiding confusion or mixed messages.
- Your staff is burdened by the magazine. A magazine that doesn’t work well with your association’s resources can end up straining them, rather than saving time and energy.
- You’re unsatisfied with your current agency relationship. Relaunching the magazine with a fresh perspective can bring the insight and new set of eyes needed to restart on the right foot.
Contact MSP-C to learn if a magazine redesign is right for your association.
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