01 June 2017 Christine

10 tips to increase readership of your key publications

Almost every charity, non-profit organisation and trade association has some form of publication that they create for their members. As most associations are concerned with educating their members with training and CPD systems, publications are an accessible and engaging way to aid your members’ development, so getting them seen is essential! Here are some snappy top-tips that will help you gain more viewings.

Keep your library neat

The presentation of your online resource library is absolutely key to enticing visitors to read. Think of it like a real life library (remember those?): if you walked in and books were everywhere; on the floor, not organised by date or alphabetically, or by genre and theme you’d probably take a second to wonder what on earth had happened and then exit swiftly. A well-presented, expertly designed library is a must to increase readership. Local Media Works has done this really well for their Local News Week competition, ‘Making a Difference’.

A sophisticated search

So, imagine that messy library again, and now imagine that not only is it a mess, it’s completely deserted and there’s no one to assist you in finding that book you need so desperately that you went back in. You'd probably write it off completely. Not being able to find the thing you need can be highly frustrating for today’s online visitor, and not having any way of finding it just adds insult to injury. Add a sophisticated search so users can browse by author, keyword, date and whatever other options they need.Keep it tidy

Make it eye-catching

I know we are told to never judge a book by its cover but this phrase only really works figuratively. For magazines and online publications, the opposite is the most sensible advice, and is what entices web users to read on. Think on-brand graphics and bold, modern fonts (that’s comic sans and Times New Roman out). Headlines are also what will catch your potential reader’s attention so make them pithy, but, above all, relevant – no clickbait.

A picture says a thousand words

As well as the branding in general, another thing that can turn people off is bad photography. We have met so many organisations for whom sourcing quality photography was all they needed to engage better with their users. There are lots of places online where you can source professional and stylish photography that won’t date your publication. Using the same old stock photos or pictures from a shoot that was done years ago says to a reader that the rest of the content may be just as stale and outdated. Newsworks have done this especially well with their Case Studies section.

Break out the velvet rope

Psychologically speaking the words ‘members-only’ can have a very positive effect on a website user. Just like the VIP section in a fashionable establishment, or the first class area on a plane, publications which are locked for non-members can be a real incentive for the visitor not only to encourage them to want to read your publication, but to join your organisation. The British Parking Association do this well; a padlock graphic affixed to selected content which, once clicked, takes you through to a page inviting you to log in or join makes you want to do just that.

Offer them a little something

You don’t have to close off all content however. NFPs with often-read publications always offer something for nothing. A downloadable PDF with the main article from this month’s report is easily accessible, can be taken anywhere and allows readers to gauge whether they feel the rest is worth an investment. Which, of course it will be. Another way to do this would be to offer anyone who, say, signs up to your mailing list their first month’s report for free.

Collaborate and influence

Influecer marketing is becoming a very big deal. If you’ve not heard of it before; it means encouraging someone influential in your industry to use and tell people about your product. In this case, it could mean asking an important expert in your field to write a guest article, or to feature your publication on their networking channels. Influencers are fast becoming one of the most effective methods of marketing.


Invest! Invest! Invest!

In essence, there are two kinds of paid-for SEO that would increase your readership. The first is pay-per-click, where you bid on keywords in a search engine to get your publication to the first page of results. For example, say your publication is about reducing sugar content in soft drinks, you could bid on ‘sugar content in soft drinks’, so that whenever a user types this into Google, your magazine appears at the top. The second is 'display marketing' or ‘remarketing’. When a user has visited your resource library and clicked on one of your publications, but not downloaded it, remarketing will show them an ad for your resource library on other websites they go on, which will remind them of the publication they have yet to download. Remarketing works by sharing content with people who have already shown an interest.

Get social and start a conversation

This will be a short one, as we’ve waxed lyrical about the importance of social media marketing many times before. Check out our previous article "How to encourage your next generation of members" for more info on this. In a nutshell, it’s free, it’s accessible to millions and it’s proven time and time again to be effective. Do it!

Take a letter

We have also talked extensively on print marketing! Read "The art of offline marketing" for an in-depth analysis of the positive effects of print. A simple post card with, say a URL or better yet a QR code offering a discount or free download not only fosters good will but positions you as an organisation who is imaginative and on the ball.

What do you think? If you have any more hints or tips that you’d like to share, or any feedback on this article then please feel free to comment below or get in touch; we’d love to hear your thoughts.

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