THINK BACK Most schools have changed the name of their magazine by now from “alumni/ae magazine” to just “magazine,” acknowledging that their audience is not just alums and articles are not of interest only to alums.
RETHINK Turnaround challenges schools to take the next step and rethink the purpose (and therefore content) of the magazine all together. Think of the magazine as a “brand book.” Fill it with articles, large and small, that mirror your brand strategy and promote the school’s image to all of its constituents (parents, alums, donors, colleges, prospective families, the local and national community).
THINK TWICE Avoid loading your magazine with content that should be online. Move a good portion of your current content online to your website, social media, constituent-specific newsletters, and/or push pages. This means moving [gulp!]: sports scores; full coverage of graduation and reunions; the lower, middle and upper school plays; student awards; “around campus” department, etc.
THINK BIG Fill the magazine with articles that anyone would want to read even if they had no connection to the school. Ask yourself, “If this magazine were sitting in my doctor’s office, would I pick it up and read it? Would I be drawn in by a few key articles?” By loading it with compelling content, a wide range of individuals will learn about the school, its mission, outcomes, expertise, creativity, and its people.
THINK SMART Magazines cost a bundle to design, print and mail. Consider segmenting. Mail a full magazine with class notes to everyone in the class of 1975 and before. Put the magazine online for the rest. Do the same thing with your annual report.
WHAT DO THEY THINK? Survey your constituents. Ask them what they want in a magazine and how they want it delivered.