5 Free Magazines Every Small Business Should Receive

Brent Leary
Brent Leary

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I know this seems terribly old fashioned in this Web 2.0 era of blogging, but there's still something nice about reading a great magazine.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an avid reader of a number of blogs, and have been blogging myself for close to two years.  And I enjoy the conversations that blogs can create as well as the realtime stream of information the blogosphere provides.  But there's something about thumbing through a colorful, glossy magazine with great content.. written by folks with professional editors at their disposal...ready, willing and able to fix bad grammar and other mistakes we tend to overlook... making it a little more challenging than it should be to read even the best blogs.  And as GoDaddy.com founder Bob Parsons once said,  people don't curl up in front of a fire and read a nice blog.  And when you're flying do you really print off a list of blog entries, or do you pick up an interesting magazine or two?  Before I hit the road I grab a handful of mags I enjoy so much I might even pay for them if I had to.....but I don't. 

Direct
Direct is a magazine that bills itself as the information resource for direct marketers.  I'd have to say I agree, as it each month it comes packed with great stats, stories and best practices all around building, keeping and using customer lists.  It combines all this information into a slim 70 pages or so which makes it easy to carry around, and the articles are written in a way that entertains as well as informs.  And Ken Magill does a great job with his e-mail best practices articles.  Plus they have a nice companion website with tons of up to date info.

Small Business Impact & Deliver magazines
I lumped these two together because they both are US Postal Service publications,  they are monthly mags that arrive at the same time, and together they amount to only 48 pages or thereabouts.  Small Business Impact covers a variety of subjects, challenges and other issues facing small businesses.  The articles are short, sweet and to the point cover everything from online marketing basics, to health care, to time management. 

Just from an aesthetics standpoint, Deliver is really eye catching.  I find myself actually checking out the ads because they're so good looking.  But going beyond its slick publishing, there are some great articles for those charged with marketing and brand building.  Articles include how today's printing technology can impact customer relationships, and an interesting interview with Chris Anderson on how new media is forcing marketers to "keep it real".   

Streaming Media
I don't even know how I started getting this but I'm glad I did.  This might not seem all that important to small businesses, but this magazine will prepare you for how people will be able to take in all kinds of content, and how you can use technology to put your company right in their faces, whether it be on a computer, TV, PDA, or whatever.  It comes monthly and weighs in at over 100 pages, but it's an easy read.  This month's issue had a good article on monetizing podcasts and video blogs, and another one on the television paradigm shift that had me thinking a bit. 

Computer Shopper
I used to get this about ten years ago but couldn't take it anymore.  It was just too big and heavy to even attempt to read.  It must have gone on a diet or something because now it's under a 100 pages.  And now I can't wait to get it every month.  It gives me great reviews and coverage of products and services of which I need to at least be aware.  In many cases it helps me decide which way to go in terms of buying something.

Now there are a ton of magazines out there you can get for free by giving up some contact information.  I probably get over 20 a month, but there's no way I'm reading all of that stuff.  But the above mentioned and a few others (like 1to1, eWeek and BrandWeek) are easy to read, easy to carry and still packed with good information...and did I mention they are free?  You may want to check them out.  What freebies do you recommend?

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