Beyond the Magazine: 3 Ways to Engage Members

We live in a digital age, but that hasn’t stopped the presses from printing magazines or from new magazines being launched. And it also means you have lots of ways to reach your members.
People are constantly looking for information, and there is a lot of it available for free on the Internet. But can you trust your source? That’s where a print magazine – and your association’s brand – shows its highest value. You are more trustworthy, partially because the information you make available is made so on paper.

But print magazines take time to be produced and make their way into the hands of members. You want to remain connected with your members and engaged with them beyond the magazine issues, especially during lulls (the time between issues). And with so many things competing for our members’ attention, a two-prong strategy is necessary in the modern world. Here are a few ideas by which you can remain connected with your members, which can help strengthen your association’s magazine brand. These ideas can also be utilized to help reach prospective members and encourage them to subscribe.

1. Interact on social media.

Social media provides direct and immediate access to people who are connected with your association on a particular channel. If you have social media accounts but you don’t know which one is working for you, look at the website analytics for social media referrals, as well as the analytics often available through social media channels themselves.

Make social media posts an extension of your magazine and your association: the same tone, the same type of content, etc. But now you can be extra creative and create posts and specific content that play on current events or holidays. It doesn’t need to wait a month to be seen, like a printed magazine. You can be timely, current, and relevant, all thanks to social media.

2. Keep in touch over email.

Communicate by sending regular (timing is at your discretion) articles or a collection of must-read articles from yourself and other sources that generate content you think your members would enjoy. It keeps your association in front of your members as well as opens a line of communication for them (i.e., get in touch with us if you have any questions) to reply back. Email is also a great way to survey your readership, ask them to get involved with something (like a photo contest), and what they can expect to see in an upcoming issue (maybe with a sneak peek of one or two of the stories).

3. Send them snail mail.

We don’t mean junk mail like a promotion or a renewal notice, we mean an actual card or letter just to say hello or to give something extra. It could be on the anniversary of their membership, on their birthday, on their pet’s birthday (if your magazine, such as Just Labs, caters to dog owners), or because your association has reached a big milestone. Think ahead on how else you can resonate with subscribers through a printed piece. For instance, you can start collecting data on the color of their Labrador retriever and then use variable imaging so that a card or letter features their “favorite” color Lab. Collect data that will be useful for you in the short run as well as the long term.
Any chance you can get to communicate with your members beyond the print issues of your association’s magazine is one you should take; however, do so with a degree of caution. You don’t want to over-communicate and overwhelm or annoy your members, or send them information that is not going to be of interest to them.