Association Connect

Magazines Remain Resilient Marketing Tools

By Therese Umerlik | August 7, 2023

Digital platforms may figure prominently in the media landscape today, but print publications continue to demonstrate their value in growing association’s membership.

Physical media has a certain appeal unparalleled in the online environment: Your association’s thought leadership articles and relevant advertising are literally at anyone’s fingertips. Rather than sorting through hundreds of search engine results, people can casually page through the work of your association.

Sometimes, associations forget the ease of a print publication in encapsulating all they do and represent, but not Christina Lewellen, executive director of the Association of Technology Leaders in Independent Schools (ATLIS). She celebrates ATLIS’ publication Access Points and recognizes that it’s not just a member benefit but her association’s No. 1 investment in marketing.

Taking a Disciplined Approach

In her recent interview on the podcast Association Station, Lewellen explained the disciplined approach ATLIS took when it decided to incorporate its publication into its strategic plan to support, educate, and empower the entire independent school industry, not just ATLIS members.

“We kind of approached Access Points as if this is our No. 1 marketing vehicle … and it’s our No. 1 vehicle to spread the word about the thought leadership that’s happening at ATLIS,” she said. “Once we worked [on redesigning it visually and editorially], we had to make decisions around the business model of … anyone who wants it gets it. That includes our prospects and people who subscribe to it. I also had to make decisions about how it was formatted and how long it was to save on paper costs … and to save on shipping costs. So, some of the decisions about going far and wide meant that … we had to have discipline … keeping in mind the end goal that this [magazine] needed to be shared broadly.”

And her association’s membership has grown, she added. Access Points combined with other marketing measures has helped her organization increase 60% since the magazine’s relaunch in 2021, she said.

Lewellen’s genuine enthusiasm for her association’s print publication inspired this post where the benefits of publishing a physical magazine are revisited or for some introduced.

Only a Print Publication

Magazines and journals are suited for long-form articles that provide an immersive experience or in-depth research into a topic. Long-form journalism has increased in popularity as a response to reader fatigue with soundbites and short-form articles that lack substance, context, and credibility. Free from the distractions of notifications, ads, or other pop-ups, print magazines and journals allow for the uninterrupted reading of an association’s thought leadership and news.

Magazines and journals continue to possess a strong advertising value. Print ads are accepted as part of the so-called culture of a publication and therefore are less likely to be skipped or ignored as opposed to digital ads that can be blocked by browser plug-ins or software or simply overlooked. Print ads also serve as a record of the businesses and organizations associated with the industry and their history as well.

The tangible sensory experience of a print publication is undeniable and invaluable. There is no substitute in virtual reality for the elegant physicality of print. The feel, smell, and weight of the paper merely enhances the overall reading experience and by extension people’s connectivity to the association.

Going Beyond the Core

These and other factors substantiate the desirability and advantage of print publications as part of a robust marketing campaign. The tactile nature of the magazines and journals and their content and artistry merely complement each other. This marriage was not lost to Lewellen.

“I don’t get on an airplane without a stack of magazines,” she said on the podcast. “So, every time I speak, every time I go present somewhere, I make sure that I have the [Access Points] magazine, and I share it with people who have never seen it before.”

Lewellen may return home without a publication, but she never truly returns empty-handed. With each physical magazine she places in a person’s hand, she promotes her association and grows her membership.

Are you looking for a collaborative partner to get the most out of your publication and content strategy? Connect with us!

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