A well-designed alumni magazine is one of the very best ways to foster engagement with your alumni. The key to creating a publication that recipients actually look forward to reading is to give them what they want. Here are five tips for designing an alumni magazine that will be well-read rather than tossed in the recycle bin.
It goes without saying that profiling alumni is a good idea. Profiles of graduates make for some of the most interesting reading in alumni magazines while at the same time strengthening the bond between the subject of the profile and the institution. Just about everyone is flattered to be featured in their school’s publication. There are numerous ways to profile alumni, from quick-hitting spotlights to longer, in-depth articles.
Feature Professors / Staff
In addition to alumni, feature an article or articles on current professors or staff. Alumni enjoy seeing profiles about their former teachers and what they are up these days. Just like alumni profiles, you can offer longer pieces, shorter pieces or a mix of both.
Highlight the Rank and File
The first thing many people do when they receive their alumni magazine is to go to the section that has blurbs and photos of former classmates; people tend to be most interested in what their friends and contemporaries are up to. Beyond the fact that these class notes sections are so popular in alumni magazines, they have the added benefit of being easy to gather – just provide a “Share Your News” blurb at the end of each section for a steady stream of reader-submitted career moves, reunions, weddings, etc.
Even in the short-attention-span, social media age, readers will still consume long articles that they find interesting. However, you should break up your alumni magazine with plenty of visuals, photography and design styles. Nice photography is the secret of a great-looking publication and tools such as infographics can really bring cold, hard facts to life.
Offer a Digital Version
While printed publications make much more of an impact and readers typically spend much more time reading them, consider offering a digital version for those who prefer to consume the alumni magazine this way. The easiest way is to create a flipbook version – not only is it incredibly simple but the additional cost is negligible.
The key to designing an engaging alumni publication is to focus on your reader and give them what they want. Follow the preceding five tips, and you’ll be well on your way to producing an alumni publication that alumni can’t wait to read.
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