Guest Newsletter – Zoë Francis-Cox

Once a month we invite our member magazine publishers and enthusiasts to guest-edit our fortnightly email newsletter. The aim is to inspire others with magazine-related content, connect members and build our community so we can learn from each other.

This month our guest editor is Zoë Francis-Cox, CEO of Dialogue Content Agency. You can follow Zoë on LinkedIn – remember to connect and say hello!

Tell us about yourself

I’m CEO for Dialogue – a content marketing agency that works with leading global brands and membership organisations to create their magazines and associated digital content.

I’ve been running the agency for the past six years and there’s never a dull moment. I’ve worked in editorial and content marketing for the past 24 years – initially in editorial, but never able to keep my eyes purely on the words, I eventually fought my way to Publishing Director where I could influence overall content and creative strategy as well as commercialisation of content.

With brand immersion at the heart of the agency, I truly live the brands we work with such as Harley-Davidson: I’ve owned and toured the world on a number of Harley motorcycles! I also enjoy food, wine and family time.

What are you up to at the moment?

It’s been two years since our agency became fully independent – a proud new chapter in our growth and I’m always thinking about our culture and the brilliant people who work at Dialogue. I believe having a strong culture and employee experience shapes the high quality of our work and services we bring to our clients. Being independent opens the door to new ways of thinking and opportunities to keep developing people and attracting the best talent into the agency as I never want to be complacent.

Aside from this, like many others, I am constantly curious about the role AI is playing in content marketing today and how much influence it will have in the future. The technology and its adoption has accelerated at lightning speed over the past 12 months and it’s about identifying the value-adds from AI and where it can bring benefits to ourselves as a business and our clients.

What’s the best article you’ve
read this month?

Again, this comes back to culture. Here’s an insightful article from the Harvard Business Review about fostering a culture of trust within your business and how this leads to higher energy levels, higher productivity, less burn out and fewer sick days. Trust and being trustworthy is one of our four agency values which we’ve believed in for many years. 

Show us an incredible magazine cover

There are so many, including one we recently designed for a luxury hotel which has just been shortlisted for a V&A award! But aside from that, I’ve always admired the Big Issue and how they capture those societal and cultural moments of the country. Last year’s black and white cover of King Charles shot by Rankin against the bright yellow borders really stood out for design, photography and editorial merit 

What’s your top tip for publishers?

Probably stating the obvious here, but never stop talking to, or listening to your audience. There may be many conflicting reasons why you should include X over Y in your publications, or content driven by commercials, but crafting products that truly entertain your audience is the number one priority.

There are many tools out there to understand your audience better such as insights from social media platforms but you should never just be in broadcast mode. You must look to engage in an authentic way and stimulate a community around your brand. Aside from that, nothing beats getting out there and meeting your audience. Many of the brands we work with host several events throughout the year and being on the ground to hear what their customers are passionate about is extremely valuable.

Illustration by  Jedi Noordegraaf with thanks to Ikon Images. Like what you see? 
Members receive their first 5 Ikon Images illustration uses for £50 each

Questions for the community

What subject or issue would you like the International Magazine Centre Members Group to discuss and untangle over on LinkedIn?

My question is: What can the publishing industry do better to nurture new talent and create future leaders? How are the skillsets developing and what will be in that publisher’s box of tricks in 10 years?

Need more of this in your life?

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