How is an in-house publication different from other print materials?
Of course, you want to be sure that you’re not reinventing the wheel. But an in-house publication does fill a unique niche. Your other print marketing materials first and foremost attract toward a sell, keep you top of mind, and map out the vision and capabilities of your business in a nutshell. A magazine, on the other hand, captures what you’re up to now. It gives a glimpse into the active life of your company this week, month, or quarter, and gives you a chance to show the creative and personal side of your business perhaps even more than in other publications.
What goes into an in-house publication?
There’s really no standard rule, here. You can focus on addressing client interests, employee interests, or a combination of the two. You can print a newsletter, company announcements, letters or notes from the CEO. You can print key blog posts, highlight a particular employee, or review new initiatives. You can even print all or part of your magazine as a catalog. You might even be able to partner with another company to do some advertising for them. (Industry rules and standards apply.)
Whether or not you’re in the travel industry, take a page out of Southwest Airlines’ book, for example. They do great work with their in-house magazine. Not only do they give clients something to do while they wait, they fill the magazine with a variety of truly interesting and helpful information that encourages more interaction with the brand and builds positive associations. They use an in-house magazine to print and respond to letters and emails from clients, tell company stories, present human interest features, and interviews, and print helpful articles related to industry news.
As you can see:
Magazines are a flexible marketing tool.
They reach out to clients and prospects in very particular and tailored ways to nurture sales, onboarding, and relationships. And, with a little creativity, they can simultaneously be used to encompass ongoing HR and PR tasks as well. While your other marketing materials fulfill a very specific purpose, your in-house publication is like the Swiss army knife of print materials. It can be whatever you need it to be, depending on your communication goal.
So what makes an in-house publication appealing for employees and clients?
They feel personal.
Holding a magazine in your hand is different from receiving an email update or a text alert. There’s an inherent warmth to in-house publications. They create a sense of community—“This is our magazine”—because it’s all about you and the people involved in the life of your company. You’re inviting people “inside the house,” so to speak. Even among employees it can add a feeling of community spirit and pride. For example, sending an email or posting on social media about your agent or salesperson of the month is great; but what if they are featured in your magazine, with a brief interview and a few photos highlighting their service and accomplishments? An in-house publication doesn’t have to be lengthy or complex to do a lot of relational heavy lifting.
In the world of poetry, there’s a little thing called a chapbook. This is a small, flimsy collection of poetry that at first glance seems hardly worth publishing in a world where digital distribution would be far cheaper and faster. A whole tiny book, for a few poems? But don’t tell that to a poet! They understand the value of a small publication that’s easy to pick up and a pleasure to flip through. They know that paper invites people to linger and adds a special, intuitively attractive quality to the written words and images. Simply put, a little book is nice to look at and hold. And you can leverage that easily to extend your brand in layout and design, too. Your in-house publication is your company’s chapbook.
They add legitimacy to your business.
An in-house publication means you have the time and space to be attentive to the inner life of your company and employees, and to build your muscles as an industry leader. Therefore, a magazine implies that you’re doing well as a business. A company that’s frantically trying to get it together or coming apart at the seams is going to have all of its energy shifted toward survival mode. Everything is about the hard sell. But if you have time to put together a few features for a magazine, print a colorful and engaging catalog, or present industry news and research to employees and clients in a helpful way, this indicates that you’re healthy enough to focus some of your energy on creativity and storytelling.
You won’t invite someone “Inside your house” unless your house is in order. It’s a subconscious connection, but clients, prospects, and employees will make that connection. An in-house publication signals legitimacy, stability, and an orientation toward the future.
An in-house publication might not be appropriate or worthwhile for every business. But if any of these aspects of an in-house publication strike a chord with you, consider trying one and marking the benefits.
For this or any other business marketing needs, contact Range, a Deluxe company. We offer comprehensive creative services including layout, design, and integrating your in-house publication into an existing strategy. Let us help you get the most out of your marketing investment.