When going on a journey, you probably like to know where you’re going. You might print out directions or make sure you bring the GPS, but the best value comes in asking someone who’s been there before about their experience. You might ask, “When do you make a 90 degree turn?” or “What are the conditions out there?” or “And you’re sure the end is what I’m looking for, right?”
The questions we get asked about digital publishing aren’t altogether different. As a company that’s been in the business for over a decade, we get asked a lot of questions about what it’s like out there, where the biggest bumps are hiding, and will the end of the journey land them some place better than where they’re starting. In the best cases, we can compare specific clients’ strategies and goals to what they can expect along the journey before they launch their next campaign. But in other cases, we’re answering questions about specific potholes, greener grasses, and turns our publishers are currently facing. And so it is we’ve amassed 10 questions we’ve heard recently, or often, and have added some answers that might help you on your way:
- Do articles really get read on social media?
Did you know our top performing magazine on Facebook boasts over 19,000 views referred from that social channel? Our clients are also seeing thousands of views from sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr. This means articles are being posted to social sites, and audiences are clicking through into the digital meagazine. Social media isn’t the key to finding more readers, but it illuminates the ky: satisfied readers means more social sharing, and social sharing means more credibility and interest in your brand.
- Do my digital archives have any value?
According to the article from Digiday entitled “Publishers: There’s money in your archives” the answer is a resounding yes, and we agree. Archived content is still indexed by search engines, which means as people search for topics important to them, your magazine will still come up in the search results. Additionally, articles you’ve published in the past might still be applicable today, especially in trade publications. Rehashing, repackaging, and re-purposing material can breathe new life into old content.
- How do I increase my number of repeat readers?
The answer has been the same since the days of print: you get repeat readers by creating quality content that interests them. You can elevate the reading experience through methods such as making the content readily accessible and visually appealing. Make it memorable by engaging more of the reader’s senses: have readers click to interact with elements on the page, or use video clips to engage those who prefer auditory experiences.
- What kind of metrics should I be prioritizing?
You’re not going to like the answer, but the fact is priority comes from your strategy. If you’re publishing pages of listicles, most likely the metrics you should treasure are click-throughs (to the next listicle) and visitors. If you’re trying to become a respected resource in your industry, you’ll want to focus on engagement time, paying particular attention to which articles are read the most often or for the longest time in order to help you cater future topics to those in which your audience has a proven interest.
- When is the right time to sell full issue sponsorships?
The best time to seek full issue sponsorships is whenever you have a collection of articles under a theme that fits in the scope of your advertisers’ target message. (Click here and here for examples.) Being able to offer your advertiser brand awareness in any of the sponsorship spots available around the digital magazine, as well as advertising within the pages, puts you in a strong position for revenue generation.
- What happens if a reader doesn’t subscribe? Do I lose him/her forever?
Digital magazines are notoriously easy to pass to friends, family and colleagues, which means there’s always the potential for new readers to read your magazine and then leave before they’re willing to commit to a subscription. If following this reader is important to you, you can use lead generation tools, like a gateway page or a redirect to drive new readers to a form asking for their information prior to gaining access to the material. (Note: this will affect how many people click through to your content.)
- Should I hire a social media guru to promote my magazine?
Hiring someone who understands distribution channels – including social media – is a great idea, but unless you have a content factory that consistently pushes out new content frequently, having someone dedicated strictly to the social networks may be a bit more than you need. Instead, look for someone who can maintain a strategy for several distribution channels, including social, your website, forums your audience frequents, blogs, and more.
- How do I move my print audience over to being a digital audience?
The key here is in how you communicate the need for the shift. You should promote the values of going digital wherever you have space, such as advertising in your print publication, ad space on your website, articles in your blog, and videos in your YouTube channel. If you plan to sunset your print edition, that should be communicated early, often, and with the focus on the benefits the readers will receive because of it. Above all, make sure your digital content is a pleasant reading experience your audience will want to embrace: the design should be screen-friendly and include digital-only features that take advantage of the benefits of the technology.
- Do I need an app?
First you need a mobile strategy, and then you’ll likely need an app. Studies conducted by a variety of sources are unanimous in proving that people are becoming increasingly mobile (and are even addicted to their smartphones). It’s the reality of today that readers expect to be able to reach your content wherever they are, on whatever device they’re using, and having an app that’s native to their primary device helps ensure you’re in control of the kind of reading experience they’re having.
- If I’m going with responsive design, shouldn’t I just have a magazine website?
Digital magazines perform differently than a website, and responsive design does not change that. Responsive design simply means the content is free to flow around the confines of varied screen sizes. Font, images, and other content can grow or shrink depending on if the reader views it on a large or small screen, making sure your content looks its best on any device. (Read more here.) Digital magazines still provide a bundled content feel that websites cannot. They tend to give publishers higher engagement times, and they give publishers the ability to consistently reach out to readers with new content.
While it’s always our goal to provide helpful insight and information, dealing in generalities can come across like we believe in a panacea. Instead, if you find yourself asking any of these ten questions, or others not addressed here, give us a call to talk about your specific instance. Nxtbook Media has over a decade of experience in providing digital solutions for publishers, and we work collaboratively to find the best strategy for each client. So go ahead, ask us something!
July 2nd, 2014 by Joy Beachy