The web magazine: A huge potential beyond print

To effectively communicate with employees and customers, many companies today opt for a web magazine. Not surprising, because a web magazine offers innumerable advantages compared to a print version. But here too – as in all communications – Bill Gates’ iconic maxim “content is king” applies. A successful web magazine calls for an agency that can guarantee not only technical and graphic implementation but also first-class editorial support. And if the agency also masters all facets of online marketing, a web magazine can quickly become a main hub of a successful marketing strategy – and often achieve much more than originally thought. This is why we at the Ruess Group have adopted a holistic approach. And we have already launched a number of web magazines which have quickly exceeded the clients’ initial expectations – by far.

What can a web magazine do better than a website?

There are good reasons why web magazines are an attractive communication solution. After all, companies or associations can use a web magazine to provide their specific target groups with up-to-date, in-depth, informative and, above all, high-quality information.

Multimedia enrichment with content formats such as videos, podcasts, image galleries, social media links in combination with brand-appropriate web design further increase value and visual impact – in combination with high-quality writing and distinctive usability.

Technically, a web magazine has the same character as a website. Yet it is something entirely different. Although the developers work with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript, the differences are considerable:

A beginning and an end

One of the most important and visible differences is the fact that a web magazine has a beginning and an end. Most web sites have a starting page as a central access point, but there is no stringent user guidance to an end point.

Linear navigation

Of course, websites also have a navigation structure, often even several. However, there is no fixed route for the visitor. The navigation in a web magazine is purely linear and guides the reader through the content in a structured manner.

A full-screen experience

In a web magazine, the reader usually stays longer and becomes more immersed in the content. Quite simply because high-quality photos and videos on a particular topic are displayed on the entire screen. In short, they enjoy a full-screen experience that creates a very compelling environment.

More sophisticated content

The right combination of a solid concept, carefully selected topics, interesting headlines and large-format presentation make a web magazine worth reading. That is why the content here may also go into greater depth than on a website.

More targeted content

In a web magazine, information is presented in a way that is more targeted and only to a limited readership. Moreover, thanks to the tracking function, their interest can be measured. What content scores more highly? And how can it be improved?

More visual communication

On a website, information is mainly presented as short articles. In a web magazine, things are generally different, so the presentation can be described more as a text-image story.

A more exciting media mix

In a web magazine, not only do short or long articles come together, but also images, video and audio. This makes it more exciting and appealing than a standard website, which has to communicate much faster.

A web magazine is an extremely effective marketing tool

  1. A web magazine addresses the target group directly, without waste.
  2. It reaches leads who have already shown interest.
  3. In this respect, a web magazine builds customer loyalty and increases brand awareness.
  4. It offers an opportunity to tell stories and provide information about solutions to problems, preferences and needs.
  5. The digital format is superior to print.
  6. It allows the inclusion of video and direct response.
  7. The digital format picks up the potential customers where they spend most of their time – on the internet – and therefore becomes an important pillar of the content marketing strategy.
  8. It has to be responsive and work on all devices.
  9. It covers virtually the entire customer journey, because it is only a small step away from reading a digital post to commenting or clicking for more information.
  10. For the company or brand, it is helpful to analyse the data, e.g. through Google Analytics, to understand what the leads want even better. It is also helpful to attract more leads with relevant content.
  11. In this respect, a web magazine is also ideal for gaining new leads and therefore new customers.

Behind every successful web magazine is a clear strategy.

01. Define the target group

Like any other magazine, a web magazine is a successful mix of stories, service articles and short news items. It should be visually appealing, entertaining, informative and ultimately strengthen the relationship with the publisher.

The actual implementation depends on who the customers are: Should decision-makers in other companies be addressed or tech-savvy young specialists under 30?

This also defines the language and tonality. As a general rule, speak to your readers the way you speak to your customers.

Simple or detailed? If a highly specialised product requiring technical explanation is sold to companies, a basic technical knowledge can be expected and technical vocabulary can also be used.

The target group would not expect anything else. However, if technical products are to be advertised to end consumers, the functions should be explained as simply and comprehensibly as possible.

Casual or businesslike? For business customers, care should be taken to be serious but not too dry. An online magazine has to inform as well as entertain. And at a level that the user would be prepared to spend money on.

02. Commit to good journalism

Just like a classic blog, a web magazine also has a sender – who also needs to be recognisable. The name and layout should therefore suit the company. The concept has to correspond to the communication strategy, but should appear authentic and non-promotional.

For inbound marketing, it is very important to be perceived as a medium worth reading. But this will only be the case if the content doesn’t only consist of press releases from the PR agency and the marketing department. In this respect, good journalism and reading material that is worthwhile are important.

Because only good journalism that focuses on relevant content for the target group will ensure that the valuable leads do not bail out frustrated after the first reading because a boring advertising product is revealed.

03. IInvest time in developing the topics

What are the topics that trigger within the target group? Often it is news from the industry or from the company that is also interesting for a broader audience.

Preferably in a broader context: What is not simply new, but also socially relevant and can solve problems in the future? The view may be somewhat broader, but not arbitrary.

Background reports from the company are also interesting for readers. For example, what the company is doing to make the production of a product as environmentally friendly as possible.

There are extraordinary stories behind many products and offers. It is worthwhile to take readers behind the scenes and give them real insights.  Of course, the facts have to be true.

Other starting points for topics can be the customers themselves, by letting them have their say and share their own experiences. This can be in the form of an interview, which can also be a video, or in the form of text.

04. Don’t start without a good concept

A web magazine needs to be exciting and offer the right mix of entertainment and information. Therefore, before the concept is developed with a web magazine agency, a few formalities need to be clarified:

First and foremost, of course, is the name of the magazine. It should be both interesting and appropriate, and fit in with the company’s corporate identity and corporate language.

The next point is the question of a sensible publication interval. Four issues per year are a reasonable compromise in terms of customer loyalty. If the magazine appears less frequently, there is a risk that it will be forgotten.

Then there is the question of scope. There are empirical values here. However, the general rule is: It is better to come to the market four times a year with a smaller issue than less frequently but more voluminous.

Equally important for the concept is that the magazine should have a consistent structure. Each issue should have a compelling cover story that can and should come from different areas. An outline could look like this:

  • Foreword/editorial
  • Brief news from the industry and the company
  • Cover story
  • Practical customer example
  • Presentation of new products
  • Practical tips
  • Entertainment/humour
  • Special promotions

The cover story and other content can then be used as excerpts in social media to draw attention to the latest issue. Practical tips are especially successful here.

05. Choose the right service provider

A web magazine is far from simple: Content, image or video material has to be sourced, edited and published online – and it has to look professional. The following variants and approaches are conceivable for creating the magazine:

All employees are stretched to the limit and have no time. Therefore, the task is completely delegated to an agency that handles both the content and the intricate technical implementation.

For this, the online magazine agency needs a contact person in the company to obtain the necessary information and access. This is the most professional, but also the most expensive way to create a magazine.

An editorial team is created in the company to work with the online customer magazine agency and together they form a content hub. No matter what the individual content hubs look like, the advantages of a content hub are obvious: it defines the content at a central point, organises images and provides the copywriters at the web magazine agency with the necessary information.

A content hub therefore also offers the possibility that some services are provided within the company, by employees who are obviously very familiar with the material and topics. This also helps the web magazine agency.

06. Rely on continuous controlling

Whereas a print magazine never reveals how many copies are eagerly read by how many leads and how many end up in the trash, this can be very precisely controlled with a digital magazine, online magazine or web magazine.

Tracking analysis of the pages very quickly reveals how many readers have read which article, which videos they have watched, what they have clicked on and at which article they leave the magazine in frustration.

Simply by analysing an issue, you can often learn more than you would from a customer survey. This information is then used to further improve the content that the agency and staff create in the content hub, so that readers stay with the magazine and the company even longer.

By linking the magazine evaluation with the analytics data of the company’s website and its social media channels, the digital customer magazine becomes an important component of the customer journey.

Buttons and forms can also be included in the digital customer magazine, online magazine, web magazine to gain valuable information and leads that can then be used for marketing and sales.

07. And don’t forget search engine optimisation

A web magazine is not limited to the people who already know the company. Rather, it contributes to the content being found via search engines such as Google and thereby attracting new customers to the magazine.

In this respect, it is important that it be optimised by the web design agency, online magazine agency or digital customer magazine agency for search engines such as Google.

Of course, this also applies to the social media posts that are created on the basis of the web magazine. In short, a colourful bunch of valuable inputs can be generated here, which ensure a better ranking on Google and others.

Further advantages for Google and others include regular updating of the content, page titles with keyword and click invitation, fast loading speed, mobile optimisation, etc.

To SEO Agency

All these factors contribute to the fact that customer magazines are currently becoming increasingly important. Also, because editorial work is always more convincing than advertising. In this respect, a web magazine creates what virtually no other medium in marketing can – and that is trust.

A web magazine isn’t just a digital customer magazine

Digital customer magazines – as opposed to their printed siblings – are becoming increasingly popular. The reason is quite obvious: While the costs for printing and mailing are eliminated, valuable functionalities such as interactivity are added.

Because the web magazine, often called an online magazine or e-zine, is not only interactive with amazing dialogue and contact possibilities – it can also be continuously improved and therefore more effective because everything can be measured on the internet.

This calls for a service provider who masters the technology, editing as well as UX design to ensure a smooth user journey, the promotion of the magazine on all channels and the linking with the e-commerce shop.

Because a customer magazine is not an end in itself, it has to sell. And web magazines, online magazines and e-zines can do just that. As a perfect extension and intensification of social media and as a large, broad playground for the brand.

We at the Ruess Group are well versed in this key area. For national and international companies, medium-sized businesses and large corporations as well as established and emerging market leaders. In short, for customers who not only expect more performance, but also benefit from it.

Your contact person