You may never have heard of zines or ’80s punk culture, but you’ve definitely seen these grungy DIY style print publications with topics ranging from art and women’s rights to sci-fi and rock bands.
And though they might look different, zines are extremely powerful. For decades they’ve been a means of sharing ideas that have no place in mainstream culture, giving a voice to those who aren’t usually heard by big publishers. Created to support subcultures, in time zines turned into a culture of their own and became the staples of unorthodox thinking and freedom of expression.
Some people used to believe that the rise of social media would put an end to zines, as Twitter and Facebook are much more effective ways to speak out and to connect.
But zines are still here. They’ve gone digital and benefited greatly from it, on the one hand, becoming much easier to make and distribute, and on the other, keeping those bold and free vibes that people value so much.
The power of e-zines is so compelling that as a marketer you may want to make it your own. So in this article, we’ll discuss what e-zines are, how to create an e-zine, and how you can weave it into your marketing strategy.
What is an E-zine?
A zine (pronounced ‘zeen’) is a small-circulation collage-style publication with a focus on unconventional topics. Though ‘zine’ is a derivative of ‘magazine’, the two types of publications are very different. Unlike a magazine which requires an editorial team and a strict publishing schedule, a zine is typically created by a single individual or a small group of people when they feel like doing so.
Zines are community-driven publications, so they are mainly distributed by photocopying and handing out at festivals or meetups, though some zines can be sold through zine fares or online shops, i.e. Etsy. This keeps most of the works on the fringe, but it also makes them unique in the choice of topics and design.
E-zines are essentially just digital zines created with the help of various e-zine makers. They may be different in terms of means of creation, but the nonconformity vibes and DIY aesthetics are still there as well as the choice of articles.
Here’s an example of an e-zine by the University of Victoria students:
How to Make an E-zine?
The short answer is—however you want.
Before we go into discussing the tools, you must remember that zines are about the freedom of expression. You can go wild with colors and materials, include any photos and images, and play with text layout.
Cut out letters or include handwritten notes, write on the margins, draw your own illustrations. Do whatever speaks to your creative sense and helps to convey your message.
Here are specific steps to help you create your e-zine:
- Make a physical zine and scan it or...
- ...use ready templates. There are lots of great selections of fonts, frames and examples on the web that you can use with Photoshop or Canva to produce a PDF.
- Convert your PDF zine into a flipbook with our zine creator software to give it a realistic look and a matching design.
- Don’t limit yourself to text and images. The digital era paves the way for new art formats, so it’s only natural that you use video and other interactive elements in your e-zine.
- Share your e-zine via email, website, and social media as you can send it as a link and embed it right into the webpage or feed.
Benefits of Using E-zines in Marketing
Using ezines for digital marketing purposes can feel counterintuitive, given how nonconformist they are. But it’s a great opportunity to strengthen your brand identity and foster relationships with your community. Especially, if people in it are more on the creative side.
Here are the perks of adding e-zines to your marketing kit.
#1 E-zines Help You Engage Your Audience
E-zines are not for converting or hard selling, but they work nicely for advertising and nurturing (we’re looking at you, Kanye). When developing your e-zine, focus on the engagement value rather than sales copy.
Once you’ve started your e-zine, the best place to share it is social media where you can show it off with a beautiful preview. Facebook seems like an obvious choice, but ezines also work well on Instragram, if that’s where your crowd is. And don’t forget about email—it’s a classic and very efficient channel for newsletter type of publications. Use a suitable email marketing platform that offers features, such as list building, powerful email designing, advanced automation, analytics, etc. For instance, it could be Moosend. Check out this comprehensive Moosend review to see if it fits your needs.
#2 You Can Run on a Tight Budget
The beauty of e-zines is that they don’t need a big budget by design. You can make something very simple, using just DIY materials and a scanner, as we discussed above, and it will be as effective as a six-figure promotional video. The key is being honest and bold, not expensive.
#3 You Can Strengthen Your Brand integrity
Consumers nowadays, especially millennials and Gen Z’ers, are sick and tired of brands trying to sell to them whatever they can. They look for a sense of community and connection with a brand, and prefer to buy from those who share their values and beliefs. Knowing this, big brands successfully use zines to raise important social issues, as Gucci does with their beautiful ‘Chime’ zine.
E-zines are a perfect way to create that connection. You can use them to introduce a feature or a new collection, but as e-zines are so diverse, there’s practically no topic you can’t use. Why not make a zine about your team or talk about your production process and inspiration, and show a little bit of backstage? Or just talk about what’s important to you and your community—people will definitely appreciate it.
Historically, zines bear a lot of cultural meaning, so if you wish to use them in your marketing strategy, you cannot take the form without taking the essence. But if you aren’t afraid of being innovative and creative, e-zines can become a great addition to your marketing efforts. They have the power to engage and inspire, and talk to people in ways that other publications cannot. So try it yourself—and see where this road takes you.
And if you already have a PDF or a scan of your zine, try FlippingBook to turn your file into a beautiful interactive e-zine today.