The Weight of a Quarterly Magazine

Though many publications are going digital these days (and understandably so), there’s still something kind of enchanting about holding a physical copy of a magazine, isn’t there? At least, there’s something enchanting about it for nerds like me. Flipping through the glossy pages, the smell of the paper and ink, the heft of the magazine itself….

Though various factors including the recession and the digital shift have contributed to the downfall of numerous printed magazines, there are still quite a number of publications that are going strong.

Among these, you’ll find a large selection of quarterly magazines. Quite often, we associate quarterly magazines with being scholarly in nature or geared toward professionals, and with good reason.

Now, this is by no means an attempt to undermine the outstanding work that monthly and bi-monthly magazines do, because there are plenty of them that are doing an absolutely wonderful job. But let’s look at a few of the benefits of a quarterly magazine, shall we?

And for the sake of argument, let’s consider magazines that, though they might have digital copies, as well, are publishing a printed copy every quarter.

For one, quarterly publications cut down on production costs, meaning that money can be put to good use elsewhere in the magazine.

Additionally, with the right time and resources, quarterly magazines can be quite simple to put together. Think of all of the undergraduate students who create various student publications while also going to class and being involved in other activities. While there are certainly more tech-savvy routes, quarterly publication can be surprisingly simple.

There’s also something to be said for having a print edition available. Topping that list is that it helps to build an audience offline as well as on, which means your business has the potential to maximize its reach. With any luck, that means more clients for you.

Quarterly publications can also potentially mean that there is more content than one might find in a monthly magazine (note that this is not necessarily always the case). For this reason, quarterlies become more of a guide than something you might flip through quickly while waiting at the doctor’s office. They’re publications to which you might refer back.

And quarterlies pull their weight when it comes to authority, as well.

Given the longer timeframe between publications, writers and editors for quarterly publications have a bit more room to work on bigger, better things.

Take, for example, the Harvard Political Review, a quarterly published by Harvard undergraduates. This publication not only counts some well-known politicians among its alumni, but it’s also well-known for its interviews with important current political figures. The articles that appear in this quarterly are very in-depth because there’s more time to fully explore a story and make it the absolute best it can be.

Harvard Political Review also carries the weight of the Harvard name to boost its authority.

Perhaps you’ve heard of McKinsey & Company? The global management consulting firm has worked with some of the biggest and best names in the world, including businesses, institutions, and governments. It’s fair to say that they’ve gained quite a bit of perspective and knowledge, and they’re considered by many to be an authority in the business field.

The McKinsey Quarterly is published with that drive to educate and spread authority in mind. McKinsey’s consultants provide content for the publication, which offers readers practical ideas for management solutions, as well as research reports and other items of interest.

Like many print publications, the McKinsey Quarterly also has a digital edition, which helps to maximize the audience. Either print or digital can be referenced for statistics, numbers, and other research findings or for those practical tips. This publication is a great example of McKinsey & Company’s overall content strategy.

You know by now (hopefully) that content marketing is hot right now. The Content Marketing Institute is a highly regarded source for all things content-related, and since they seek to educate businesses on the importance of a strong content strategy, it’s natural that they would also have a quarterly publication. Chief Content Officer, CMI’s quarterly, is available as a digital publication, but it’s also distributed globally. This certainly helps to educate businesses that may not have been aware of CMI before, and gain their trust. Online, the Content Marketing Institute is the go-to source for marketers, but having a globally-distributed publication helps to build their reputation as the authority in this field, as well.

The fact is that as so many businesses begin to focus on content marketing, they focus their efforts online. While digital publications and other initiatives are indeed important, there’s something to be said for moving your content marketing efforts offline as well. A quarterly publication does that while helping you to establish your business as an authority and spread that authority as far as you wish. This is also an excellent space to repurpose or showcase some of your best online content (such as blog posts), as well as to include fresh, publication-only pieces.

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Renee is a writer currently living in Central Pennsylvania (whatever you've heard is probably true). In addition to writing for CEM, she serves as the Managing Editor for Business 2 Community and pursues her dream of once again renting her own apartment (preferably in Philadelphia), if only to house her ever-growing collection of books. She received a BA in English from Susquehanna University and an MA in English from George Mason. She's still waiting for someone to write a song about her life so she can just quote the lyrics for her author bios. Catch up with her on Twitter , LinkedIn, or

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    1. One problem that the print media have is the problem that the advertising dollar is going more and more to this medium (the internet).

      Most publications depend on advertising for their profits. As they lose that advertising dollar, we find less and less magazines and newspapers.

      The quarterlies that you write about in this post, depend less on advertising then the more frequent printed media. As you stated in the post, many of these are available digitally as subscriptions for a kindle or nook. Actually the cost of preparing and publishing digitally is less than a printed version, so the quarterly can make more on a digital edition than on the printed version.
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