How to create the world’s best membership magazine

In short

  • Make ground-breaking brands and personalities your contributors
  • Experiment with medium. Could your cover become a video? Could your magazine become a tabloid?
  • Follow the news – and set the agenda

2018 was the year that Influence magazine was named best membership magazine at the International Content Marketing Awards – and all other industry ceremonies.

A magazine for professional communicators was always going to need high standards. Creative, well-connected readers want a smart publication that gives them industry insight no one else has. And they want it with wit, intelligence and added sparkle.

The Influence editorial team has created a magazine that the readers – and awards judges – love. Here’s how you can inject similar quality into your own membership publication.

  1. SPOT THE THOUGHT-LEADERS IN YOUR INDUSTRY

The first step? Look for the companies and professionals who are doing things differently or making big changes in your sector. The Influence team has been behind-the-scenes at organisations like Goldman Sachs and L’Oreal to spot PR secrets and create exclusive features. Network, network, network.

  1. …AND COMMISSION EXPERTS FROM FURTHER AFIELD

We plan Influence magazine as if it were a national general interest publication. We know our audience of communications professionals know a lot about PR, so we make sure we offer them takes on the industry from left-field sources – scientists, psychologists and philosophers have all contributed to the magazine in the past year, including the likes of Alain de Botton, Yuval Harari and Christopher Buckley. Senior-level professionals in your sector need new sources of ideas and inspiration.

  1. MIX UP YOUR MEDIUM

To showcase the importance of video as a communications medium, we created a print magazine cover that came to life when viewed through a mobile phone lens (find out more here). Then, when exploring the enduring power of the tabloid newspaper, we printed our own Influence redtop. Staging projects that mirror the challenges facing those in your industry and sharing your progress with readers is one way to be seen as an expert voice.

  1. BE BRAVE

Whether its controversial interviewees (Katie Hopkins) outlandish cover stars (Barbie), or fun captions (playfully mocking Google) the Influence team has never been afraid to take risks. Find divisive or playful topics in your sector and you’ll inspire debate, gain attention and add personality to business news. Just make sure it’s always relevant…

  1. REMEMBER, MAGAZINES CAN BE IN MAGAZINES (SORT OF)

When George Osborne became editor of the Evening Standard, the Influence team was first to interview him. The resulting soundbites were then featured on the BBC Today programme with the magazine cited as a source. Your publication is a product that you should publicise – and it can be the news story too.

  1. DON’T NEGLECT YOUR MICROCOPY

Captions and headlines are stars in their own right – and they’re crucial antidotes to long and detailed features. Give each word that is used to support your articles some thought – microcopy can be humorous or thought-provoking as well as informative.

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