People standing and reading green books

Membership organisations are a great way to build brand communities and bring people together around a common interest. In the UK alone, there are an estimated 8,000 membership organisations and associations and around 80% of the population belongs to at least one of them.

To build an effective brand community of loyal advocates, membership organisations need to form a strong connection with members. The purpose of your organisation – what you want to achieve and how you want to achieve it – should be clearly communicated to attract members who are in alignment with your goals and values, where you can add value and intersect with their interests to drive engagement, creating affinity and a long term relationship.

There are different ways to do this and, for your organisation and your members, a combination of platforms will likely be required. At Dialogue, we have seen first-hand the benefits of membership magazines – both printed and digital – to drive membership sign-ups, boost loyalty and retention, achieve more sales and ultimately develop a loyal community that's passionate about your brand.

Of course, some member organisations are well-established brands in their own right - the National Trust, for example - and don't exist simply to support another at a remove. However, that's no problem at all and everything here applies in those cases too.

Membership magazines are an effective communication tool

Good communication is an essential tool that builds trust around an organisation, maintains and enhances the relationship between members and the community they are invested in, and ensures everyone is on the same page.

There’s no doubt that a membership magazine reflects and reinforces the values of its member organisation. Whether print or digital, it helps to communicate with members and provides a voice and sense of common purpose, as well as informing and engaging readers. Whether you have upcoming events, news to share or inspiring stories to tell, a membership magazine is a method of direct communication that goes straight to members’ homes or inboxes. 

As Nicolette Beard at Top Rank Marketing writes: “The content in branded magazines represents an opportunity for customers to explore a brand that they feel strongly about and one that they already connect with.”

The organisation should use their knowledge of their audience to service them with useful and entertaining content, and you can read more about that in our blog about using data to create brand magazines

Magazines add value to membership

Get it right and your publication becomes a key member benefit and a powerful marketing tool for the organisation to showcase everything it achieves. A well-written, beautifully produced magazine gives an organisation authority and demonstrates a tangible investment in its members, who cannot wait to receive the next issue because they know it will be full of informative content that appeals to them directly.

In our experience, a magazine is often quoted as being the most important benefit of membership overall, so not having one could be doing your audience a disservice or fundamentally disrupting the membership organisation business model. They offer something more than just another social post or YouTube video, even if those options have plenty of merits of their own. 

Dialogue’s work with the Harley-Davidson Owners Group demonstrates this benefit, reaching hundreds of thousands of people from different cultures, languages and ideologies and producing a comprehensive and compelling content package that recognises geographical differences via localised content while uniting members under the brand’s overarching ethos.

Magazine content performs

Unlike the loud and busy world of social media, where your content can rapidly disappear to the bottom of a timeline, membership magazines have a permanence that can last a lifetime – especially in print, where they can become collectibles for members.

The content in membership magazines represents an opportunity for people to explore a brand that they feel strongly about and one that they already connect with. With a membership magazine, you are in control of the content and you can perfectly tailor it to your audience.

Membership magazines offer knowledgeable articles written by specialists in their field and that's why a magazine often becomes something people turn to when they want to learn about an important topic. This content is often curated by trusted experts too, which builds confidence among members in the organisation and can be fantastic for SEO. If people trust what you are saying, they are more likely to act on it, share it and recommend it. 

As well as appealing to members, content in membership magazines can also be a useful resource for targeting people further up the sales funnel. Repurposing content from print into shorter snippets for a digital audience can be a great way to attract people to your community with fresh content, giving them a taste of what’s in store for members and building that trust.

You can make money from your magazine

Membership magazines can also provide an additional revenue stream for the organisation through advertisements. 

At Dialogue, our award-winning advertising sales team works hard to understand the membership organisations we work with and build brand partnerships with complementary companies. Brand and membership organisation publications offer access to a highly valuable niche audience combined with engagement and longevity.

Whether it’s featuring suitable adverts within the magazine supplied by relevant, aligned companies or finding compelling stories that have editorial value to include as advertorials within the publication, our agile approach finds the best solution for all parties and can earn you money.

Indeed, membership magazines are a valuable media platform through which to engage in branded content or brand partnerships, where content needs to straddle multiple platforms to target the niche audience.

While the data gained from social media advertising is often cited as a benefit over other forms of advertising, a membership organisation has access to specific data about its members and this is of huge value to advertisers. In addition, your magazine benefits from increased engagement – it won’t just be scrolled past on the timeline of the advertiser’s target audience and forgotten in seconds; it will be dwelt on because your members are interested in what you have to say.

A multi-purpose magazine

Whether it’s produced in print, digital or both, a membership magazine can be a great asset for any membership organisation. A direct funnel of information straight to members’ homes, a magazine is not only a vital communications tool but a benefit for members to help build a brand community, grow loyalty and improve retention. It could even offer an additional revenue stream for the organisation too.  

Get in touch to talk to us about creating a membership magazine for your organisation today.

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