Taalcentrum-VU is a language and communication agency with a clear focus on translation and training. The company’s translators consistently provide translations of the highest quality, from and into any language, while the language training department delivers courses and coaching of the highest quality in Dutch, English and Dutch as a Second Language. Taalcentrum-VU is also the ideal address for language and communication services such as editing, copywriting and language assessments.
What better way to mark the 10th edition of the company’s contact magazine CNTXT than by talking to Marc Wessels about the added value that Instant Magazine has brought to Taalcentrum-VU’s communications strategy. Utilizing insights from data gathered through Instant Magazine, alongside additional qualitative research, Marc’s department has already implemented several optimizations to make the magazine’s content even more relevant and entertaining for its readers. Read all about it in this case study.
“Instant Magazine is easy to use and the possibilities are endless. This allows us to tailor content perfectly to our target group. Not only the message but also the look & feel.”
As the man with final responsibility for Taalcentrum-VU’s marketing and communication, I monitor compliance with our corporate identity, provide new leads, keep our various online channels ticking over, take care of productions such as CNTXT, and organize events such as the Duidelijketaalprijs, an annual award for the best use of language in a particular sector.
Armed with a Master’s in Communication and Information Sciences and a keen interest in language, I feel like the right man in the right place at Taalcentrum-VU. It’s always fascinating to observe how the way a message is formulated can have an astounding impact on an audience. Deploying communication resources in the smartest way possible to achieve the desired goal: that’s what I do on a daily basis.
At Taalcentrum-VU, we published an offline magazine called Taaljournaal. As time went on, we began to realize that this was no longer the best way to reach our customers. Printing costs were rising rapidly and updating the subscribers’ address details was turning into a job in its own right. It was time to find a solution.
At the same time, we wanted to continue providing our customers with interesting reading on language and communication topics: absorbing interviews, solutions to familiar language problems and handy language tips, all in a single appealing and accessible package. The main aim was to give our customers something extra in the shape of a publication that would appeal to anyone who likes to read. A way to show how much we love working with language.
CNTXT is an ideal resource for us. A great way for customers to catch up with us four times a year. It enables us to reach a large proportion of our business associates in a way that is appealing and attractive: what’s not to like?
It didn’t take us long to decide that a digital publication was the solution we needed. In the end we hardly considered other options. We could have gone for a standard newsletter, for example, but it soon became clear that this wouldn’t be distinctive enough. We still had faith in Taaljournaal and saw the potential in publishing a modern version: one that looks good and functions effectively on all possible devices.
The opportunities offered by digital publications are enormous. The smooth integration of photos and videos, the inclusion of links to external pages and the option of incorporating interactive elements: all these were important considerations. Another advantage of a digital publication, of course, is that it’s easy to keep track of how widely the magazine is being read. Instant Magazine’s integration of Google Analytics enables us to see what kind of content scores well with our readers and what does not.
Of course there will always be readers who prefer browsing through a printed publication, but since almost everyone is digitally active nowadays, we are happy we chose Instant Magazine.
Yes, definitely! We were very keen to find out how much CNTXT is being read. When we started out, it was a case of waiting to see which topics would appeal to our readers. Obviously we had our hunches, but without data to back them up you never really know for sure. Now, after ten issues, we have a much better idea what kind of content we could and should be providing.
Take our customer interviews, for example. We thoroughly enjoy making these, not least because they give us a marvellous opportunity to hear what our customers have to say. However, the statistics revealed that these articles are less likely to be read than language tips, for example. Based on this insight, we decided to cut down on the interviews and focus more on other types of content.
A few things stood out for us. First, we wanted a high degree of flexibility: the ability to make our own choices about what to place and where. User-friendliness was the second requirement: you should be able to create a digital magazine without having to be a whizz in IT. And third, we wanted as few restrictions as possible on templates and the insertion of visual material. For CNTXT we make our own professional photos and so of course we need to know that they will look their best.
The user-friendliness of the software was an important catalyst for the launch of CNTXT. Instant Magazine is easy to use and the possibilities are endless. This allows us to tailor content perfectly to our target group. Not only the message but also the look & feel.
CNTXT is widely read among our customers and contacts. Items such as the language column and our translation tips are especially popular. Informative features such as comparisons between translation machines and other linguistic subjects also tend to score well. We regularly receive feedback from customers who think that CNTXT looks great. That’s something we are very proud of!
It’s a fun way to connect with our target group. Creating the online magazine is a very satisfying process in its own right, but in the end it’s all about the customer. We like the idea of keeping the channels of communication open without there having to be a commercial angle; giving customers that little bit extra, bringing them good news. CNTXT is an ideal way to achieve these things!
Our customers are very enthusiastic. They tell us regularly that they see CNTXT as an informative, entertaining and good-looking magazine. We also conducted a small survey of the most popular topics and this too generated an enthusiastic response. The insights from this survey corresponded to the statistics from Google Analytics, once again confirming how valuable data can be when it comes to knowing that you are on the right track. Some of our clients were so impressed that they have followed our example and now work with Instant Magazine themselves.
We send CNTXT to a large database of 4,000 free subscribers. These are people who have subscribed to the online magazine and they are therefore the first to receive CNTXT. Our next step is to share the magazine through our social media channels. And of course we also publish the articles separately on our online channels.
We want to fine-tune the content of CNTXT even further. To produce articles that are fresh, interesting and that fit the reader’s needs like a glove. First and foremost, CNTXT is our contact magazine, but it would be very cool if we could find ways of reaching out to a wider audience without sacrificing our core readership.
Experiment with the various style options and explore the possibilities. It’s tempting to simply copy existing pages and fill them with content, but your magazine becomes so much more interesting when you shake things up a bit and vary your design from one page to the next.
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