By Clare McDermott published January 18, 2011

Chief Content Officer Magazine Launches in Print and Digital

NOTE: Chief Content Officer magazine is completely free while we are in beta.  Get your free subscription today! (and it will continue to be free after that)

When Joe Pulizzi asked me to join him to launch Chief Content Officer magazine, I leapt at the chance in part because I love the glossy, rich feel of a print magazine. You could even say I’m a bit of an addict, subscribing to ten magazines at home—from the uber-hip Fast Company to straight-laced Foreign Affairs (and more than a few low-brow mags in between that I hide under the couch when company comes over).

During the darkest days of the recession, lots of people were predicting that print magazines were in a death spiral—suffering from the combined forces of fewer advertisers, competition from free content online, and a lack of innovation in integrating digital and print. I’m not convinced. Flipboard may be the coolest new iPad app on the market, but many of us still love the rich look and feel of a print magazine.

What does it take to build a great print custom magazine? Joe Pulizzi wrote the definitive post about the planning, execution and measurement of custom magazines. Joe got his start in custom media so he’s like the Miyagi to my Karate Kid. Instead of trying to re-hash his smart advice, below is my list of magazine must-have intangibles.

Design on equal footing with editorial

Even more so than content online, the design of your magazine is crucial – and just as important as the editorial. Your magazine’s chief editor and chief creative should have great chemistry and a shared sense of how content and design inspire one another.

An appreciation for the quirky and new

When someone sits down with a print magazine, they are in browsing mode, ready to be entertained and inspired. You’re catching them at a very different moment than when they may receive your e-newsletter or blog post—which is more likely to happen during work hours. Meet your reader’s browsing, relaxed mood with content that is more entertaining than purely educational. Profile a person whom your audience aspires to become. Showcase a company that is not just successful, but daring and even quirky. Mix in short-format content and lots of visuals for skimmers.

Networking, baby!

The success of a magazine depends on sniffing out interesting stories and gaining access to interesting people. Ensure your team has the necessary sales skills to pull in contributors and snag interviews with influential people. You need at least one (if not more) extroverts on your team.

Writers who speak Smart and Snappy

There are many different kinds of skilled writers, but only a small cohort make great magazine writers. The very best are natural storytellers, willing to say something silly or controversial for the sake of capturing their readers’ attention, and don’t wander around on intellectual detours.

A deep knowledge of (and affinity for) your target audience

This one seems nearly too basic to preach to a roomful of marketers. If you are going to write aspirational stories, you need to know what your readers aspire to–what challenges they face and what fuels their passion. Ideally, your editorial and design team shares that passion.

Our goal is to deliver all of these intangible qualities in every tangible edition of Chief Content Officer, and hopefully convince the world that print is alive and well.

We hope you enjoy this first issue of Chief Content Officer. Even more, we hope you get in touch and pitch us great stories or ideas about how we can improve and grow.

Author: Clare McDermott

Clare McDermott is the editor of Chief Content Officer magazine and owner of SoloPortfolio, a Boston-based content marketing provider for professional service firms.You can follow her @soloportfolio.

Other posts by Clare McDermott

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  • Jaime Romero

    Great post Clare. I think your line here captures the essence and fundamental difference between a magazine and the current shape online content has taken – “When someone sits down with a print magazine, they are in browsing mode, ready to be entertained and inspired.”

    Looking forward to the first issue of the magazine. Good luck Clare and Joe!

  • soloportfolio

    Thanks, Jaime! Looking forward to hear your feedback when you get that print magazine. It’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. -Clare McD.

  • Katie McCaskey

    Very excited for the launch issue – congrats, CMI/COO magazine team!

  • Anonymous

    Congratulations! The digital launch issue is beautiful, Clare. Happy 2011!


  • globalcopywrite

    Hi Clare,

    You already know what I’m going to say. For the sake of those who aren’t “design tragics” like you and I, it’s very thrilling to hear you say design and editorial need to be on equal footing. I’m with you; I love the tactile pleasure of leafing through a magazine.

  • Tracy Bains

    Stoked to find out about this magazine and its launch. Hubby has banned new subscriptions but I’m going to risk it :) Having smart, snappy writers who love the content and the audience is always critical for any publication–online and in print.

  • Clare McDermott

    I can relate to the subscription ban, Tracy! Feel free to hide us under the couch.

  • Joe Pulizzi

    Thanks folks…the team really pulled together and created something fantastic.

  • Shelly Lipton

    Congrat Joe and team! Looking forward to “reading” all about it.

  • Olalah Njenga

    What a wonderful surprise in my latest B2B magazine – your first edition. Great job on this physical publication. There are still some of us who like to feel of turn pages and earmarking great content to read more than once. Nice work on this. Good luck!

  • Anonymous

    This one is really good for you. And I really like the second one, networking is really one of the boosting and unique way for the sale of your product. And the sale of the magazines are really depending on the gossips, spicy stories, and many more interesting contents. If you contains all of those, you can really chase your sale goal of magazine.

  • Anonymous

    Wow….. this one is really looking one of the most informative post about Chief Content officer magazine. And it’s really good to know about that one has really launched magazine in the print and digital. The existing content and features of this post are really looking exceptional and incredible. Thanks for sharing some great information about it.

  • marketing officer

    Clare, thanks for the ideas. I was thinking whether I should buy an add on a magazine. I’m using internet marketing and thought that was enough. Your article showed me a completely different point of view on this issue – I can advertice my goods via magazines, at the time when people are eager to buy what I offer, when they are relaxed and concentrated on the things to buy. Thanks a lot!