Folio: magazine’s annual Eddie and Ozzie Award finalists have been announced, and out of 2,000 original entries, many of the finalists are Nxtbook Media clients! Congratulations! The Eddies and Ozzies are among the most prestigious awards in the industry. Eddies celebrate editorial excellence while Ozzies are awarded for superior design.
While it’d be great to post all of our winning clients’ information, I’ve nabbed four clients from the "Full Issue" award categories. Check out their award-winning digital editions and see how these publishers achieve excellence in digital publications.
These publishers, along with the other finalsts, will be honored in New York City at an awards luncheon on January 13, 2011. To see the full list of Eddie and Ozzie winners, visit Folio: magazine website.
A couple of us are in the UK this week, checking out our Manchester team’s spunky new offices and visiting some customers and prospects. Imagine my surprise when one of them produced the Samsung Galaxy, one of the hot new tablets, which has been available in Europe for two weeks and it hitting US shelves as we speak. There’s been some speculation that this device could give the iPad a run for its money.
In my opinion, probably not, at least not for publishers and their readers. No doubt, it’s slick, it’s fast and it’s fun, but the small size means you lose a lot of the oooh and ahh that the iPad generates when loading a digital magazine. Understand, the Nxtbook did everything we’d want it to do. Problem is, with a 7" screen, it was doing it all smaller.
We’ll keep an eye on this device, and particularly for its larger sibling due later in 2011, but for now, we agree with Steve Jobs: 7 inches is too small for a true tablet and too big for a smartphone. It’s a tweener, which isn’t often a good place to be. And perhaps the public agrees, with prices in Europe already falling, just two weeks after the device’s release.
On Friday, Nxtbook Media was featured on iwearyourshirt.com. Jason and Evan, two entrepreneurs and broadcasters for the site, wore Nxtbook Media T-shirts and blasted Nxtbook-related content across the web in a model publishers should consider. They drive their audience to their website, social media pages, and video sites through a network of links and engaging content.
The day of Nxtbook’s feature, they:
- tweeted about it repeatedly (using both conversational and update styles)
- posted links and photos to their facebook pages
- placed photos on their public flickr account
- blogged about us on their Web site
- created attention-grabbing videos
- engendered conversation through a live video stream with their audience
For publishers looking to reach a larger audience that’s more engaged with their brand, this is a great model to consider. First and foremost, make sure your digital edition is flawlessly integrated with social media sites. Then, start integrating.
Tweet about specific articles, newly released issues of your digital edition, or about additional content in your company’s blog. (Click here for tips to get retweeted.) Post links to important articles to your company’s facebook page, or ask your employees to do the same. Stick pictures of your Nxtbook’s cover on your blog or website. Entice your website visitors with pull-out quotes and links driving them to your digital edition. Create interesting videos and put them on YouTube for Web browsers to find.
Overwhelmed? Call your Account Manager and ask how to start your social media campaign. Or ask about Talefoundry, a content marketing agency which can help lay the pathways to steer your audience deeper into your digital edition or further into your brand.
Click here to see our own video to the people of iwearyourshirt.com
The following was written by Marketing Director Marcus Grimm regarding yesterday’s webinar, The State of the Digital Magazine Industry. Due to technical difficulties, it merely appears that Joy was the author.
Thanks to the kind folks at FOLIO, we had a great webinar yesterday. In that webinar, we took a look at our Satisfaction Survey Results, where we asked publishers how satisfied they were with the performance of their digital magazine.
Time didn’t permit me to answer all of the questions, so I’m taking the liberty of addressing them here:
1. I met with a vendor that offers and iPad version that allows the publisher to update images in photo galleries, swap out video clips and even modify text on their own, without having to ask the vendor. This is a very appealing feature because having to contact the vendor every time we want to update content would take longer and cost more money. How common is it? What are your thoughts about giving publishers this type of personal control over digital content?
It’s easy to see why this would be an appealing feature, and many digital magazine solutions can handle this in several different ways. In most cases, however, it’s a feed-driven system, populating new content via RSS feeds or something similar. Despite teh fact that such technology has been around for years, we don’t see it used often in the digital magazine space. I speculate it’s because most publishers – and readers – like the permanence of their magazine collection of content. More and more, magazines are put together with specific purposes, whereas websites are put together with an emphasis on what is new.
2. Can you show some screen captures of your iPad app?
To see Nxtbook apps in action, you can view this YouTube link or download Uptime Magazine or Teradata Magazine directly from iTunes.
3. Are publishers developing apps in-house or via a vendor?
Though we’ve seen publishers doing both, in most cases the math won’t justify you doing it in-house. Keep in mind, a good digital magazine will be read by 15% of your audience, and an app will be read by a small fraction of the 15%. Most publishers conclude it’s not a good use of resources to do their digital magazine in-house, so why would you undertake an app in-house?
4. Do interactive magazines tend to have as high a "page count" as digital magazines that replicate print?
In general, how much more time per page does it take to create an interactive "page" compared to a print page? How much additional staff does it require?
Currently, it seems as if most interactive magazines have a higher page count, because publishers take the print version and give it a new layout with larger fonts. However, I suspect that page counts will fall as we begin to more thoroughly optimize for the online reader. In terms of time, our experience is that laying out and creating and optimized version of your magazine – using the print layout as a guide – takes about 50% of the time as doing the print. If you don’t have the resources on hand to do that, Nxtbook now offers this service. Ask your Account Manager for details.
5. Where do designers learn to create digital optimized magazines? This is like the Wild West, and things are changing quickly. For the smaller publishing company, where and how do they A) train current staff? B) find qualified staff?
You’re right. Things are changing quickly. However, we’ve made a digital design guide, which is a good place to start. (Ask your Account Manager for details!) In addition, our creative team is available to evaluate or tweak work your team has done, or even create a new style guide for you. As far as where you find qualified staff, in a word: you can’t. You are very unlikely to find someone with these skills. Instead, hire for flexibility and versatility because the market realities are changing every day. The design team at Nxtbook is a perfect example. These are all guys (and girls) who had only done print work until a few years ago. Now we’re optimizing content for new devices everyday.
6. Could you give a quick/brief overview of the main reasons to opt for a digital edition of your magazine rather than a website?
A magazine is a collection of content assembled together in an order and manner in which an editor intended. Your website is arranged in the way that search engines want. Consequently, websites generate more visitors, but without the systematic aggregation and flow, they lack the deep engagement times found in digital magazines. Finally, engaged readers click-through at a much higher rate.
7. Do you see a digital newsstand in the future that sells both digital and print?
Why this hasn’t been done, yet, is a mystery to me. Nxtbook partners with eMagazines.com to sell digital subscriptions, but eMagazines is owned by the same bright fella who runs ValueMags for print pubs. I don’t know why they don’t combine them into one, and told him as much two years ago, but it’s his company, so he can do whatever he wants. In all seriousness, I like the idea of selling content, first, and then allowing the reader to choose the format, rather than the other way around.
8. Is ad revenue potential on digital editions mainly based on volume/circulation?
It’s certainly partially based on it, as you need some readers to generate volume. However, you’d be wrong to sell it based on volume alone. If you read#6, click-throughs will be higher and the audience will be more highly engaged, which means you don’t want to fall into the trap of selling it like a banner ad.
9. What are the metrics you would use to measure digital edition audience engagement?
Time spent per visitor is a huge one, as most digital magazines have 4-6 times the minutes per visitor as a website. Click-through rate is another one. Engaged readers tend to interact with your product more, and one way they do this is by clicking on ads. A final interesting – but less monetizable – form of engagement is how interested the audience is with sharing your content via social media.
Finally, there were a handful of questions asking about paid subscriptions versus unpaid supbscriptions, and if we split the data that way. We did not, though we split it BtoB and BtoC. Historically speaking, most (but not all) of BtoB titles tend to be free and BtoC sell subs online (or would really like to), so viewing the data that way can be helpful.
In the next few weeks, we’ll be finishing up the analysis and putting into a white-paper. Keep your eyes on this blog to know when!
As if there weren’t enough confusion in the industry, we’re now catching reviews of the Nextbook eReader. To be clear, we don’t own them. They don’t own us. We’re East Coast. They’re West Coast. They’re hardware. We’re a service.
All that said, it is a valid question: Will the Nextbook play the Nxtbook? In theory, it should. The Nextbook is running Android 1.6 and at least one review claims that it will have Flash, too. Considering we support Android 1.6 and up as well as Flash, the experience should be alright. But to know for sure, I guess you’d have to ask, uh, Nextbook.
SAE International has found a way to bring their readers exactly what they want: a digital magazine completely devoted to one new and exciting product.
In a bold move, SAE International created a digital magazine based solely on the new 2011 Chevrolet Volt called Vehicle Electrification. As one article tagline sums up, it’s a peek "Inside GM’s new extended-range electric car and its technologies." By making a digital magazine, SAE International’s timely content could spread virally from forum to friend among car and engineering enthusiasts.
In checking a few blogs covering the Volt, I found comments from people discussing various pages in the magazine (such as pages 41, 48, and 26). One person mentioned bookmarking the edition for rereading in the future. Check out some of the chatter this product-specific digital magazine has generated among readers by clicking here and viewing the gm-volt forum.
Others spread the content through Twitter. I lost count of how many times an article promoting this magazine was retweeted on my own Twitter feed. (View the tweeted article by clicking here.)
There isn’t a secret to being successful with digital magazines, but SAE International designed for some of the inherent benefits: timely information distributed quickly, creating content important to your audience, and using an interface that allows your content to be spread virally.
We love to hear from our clients about how we’re doing. Whether you have positive or negative comments, we always want to know about it.
Cindy Solomon, a Project Manager for United Methodist Communication, wrote this in an email to Nxtbook Media Account Manager Adam Grim:
"I don’t think I’ve ever worked with a company that has a more on-the-ball and responsive staff than Nxtbook. Every time I’ve contacted you or anyone else there and left a message, I’ve always heard back in a very timely manner. In addition, you and everyone else there has such a can-do attitude. Doing business with you is hassle free and very positive."
United Methodist Communication partnered with Nxtbook Media to produce digital editions such as The Interpreter. This digital magazine takes advantage of digital extras, such as adding video a reader can click to play on this spread.
If you have any comments you’d like to share, feel free let your Account Manager know, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Owner and CEO Michael Biggerstaff
The world loves a winner! Everyone knows it; everyone lives it every day of their lives. Winning sports teams are world champions, and thatâ€™s what they strive to do. If you are a Texas Ranger fan, you’re not thinking, â€œitâ€™s fine, we ended up in second place and thatâ€™s a great showing.â€ No, most fans are thinking some version of one of my friends’ favorite lines, â€œsecond place is really only first loser.â€ Itâ€™s a shame to think that, but it is much more common to think that way than to be satisfied with a second place finish. I personally am very driven and feel that same way. I think if you arenâ€™t in first or trying to get there, then you in essence are dead. Or at least that youâ€™ve given up and are doomed to live a life of mediocrity. Who wants that?
This is in direct conflict to a great deal of business acumen. Companies are typically trying to fight the good fight but be courteous, try not to show too much emotion; donâ€™t be TOO happy for what youâ€™ve accomplished. We donâ€™t want anyone to feel bad about what they did or didnâ€™t accomplish, after all.
We at Nxtbook Media have had more than our share of successes. Sometimes it feels like almost too much. I have posted so many good awards over the past 2-plus years that it is too many to almost count. â€œAlmostâ€ being the operative word in that statement. â€œAlmostâ€ because they always live there; you might not remember each and every one of them over the course of the years, but you know they are there and you can see each and every one of them in some way or another. They really become part of who you are. I remember the excitement of being 303 on the Inc 500 in 2008 just as well as I can remember the Central PA Business Journalâ€™s Business of the Year award from a few nights ago. You never really forget them, no matter how long ago they were and how important they felt to you at the time.
When you win a dozen awards in the course of 2-plus years, is it too much? I know people that interact with me will often use the word again somewhere in a sentence congratulating Nxtbook Media on the latest award. Something as slight as â€œI see Nxtbook was a winner againâ€ to something more blatant like â€œDid you win again? Arenâ€™t you tired of winning? Itâ€™s time to let someone else win.â€ Obviously this was a friend of mine that had this kind of honest dialog with me. As I mentioned, usually in business people arenâ€™t as honest even though they may be thinking it. I told my friend, â€œYes we won again,â€ and I was proud of it. â€œWe never get tired of winning.â€ I donâ€™t even understand that concept. â€œWe will never let someone else win.â€ If someone wants to win, they have to be prepared to bring their A-game and be better than us. You see winning is part of our culture, part of our heritage and a key element in who Nxtbook Media is. We are a big bunch of winners, and frankly, Iâ€™m really proud of that fact. I know when Iâ€™m the client, I want to be represented by winners, because you can gain such strength and energy from people that care enough about the process of winning. Winning begets winning and all of the successes that come along with it.
We are winners for sure, but that winning drive comes from each and every one of the members of the Nxtbook team that put in extra effort. We work hard to question every day, how can we be better?, what do we do right?, what could we do better?, how can we help our clients be more successful?, how can we turn this business upside down? Yes, these are things that everyone says they do in some form or another. But at Nxtbook Media we actually do it. We donâ€™t have a check list and tick the boxes every day to ensure we do it. It happens naturally, led by one person one day and someone else steps up the next. It is an amazing thing to be a part of, and Iâ€™m so proud to be a part of Nxtbook Media. How do I know Nxtbook Media does all these things? I live and work here every day; I see it up close and personally. How do you know we do it every day? Because we win awards that independent judges bestow on us, local awards, as well as national honors. Companies donâ€™t get those for halfhearted effort; we win them because we work hard, and the recognition is just the icing on the cake.
So back to my question, â€œIs it possible to win too much?â€ Not on your life! When you work hard and deserve recognition, you get it. The employees of Nxtbook Media do that every day. We deserve all of the awards we win because we are winners through and through. Congratulations to every one of you for being the people you are and bringing your unique styles and energy to the halls of Nxtbook and parts around the world; we are a global company after all. We are truly all in this together, and we plan to keep on winning, together.
According to AdWeek, "Nielsen Online found that 73% of U.S. internet users engaged in social media at least once per week." The social media evaluated included blogs, social networks and message boards. Your readers are already using social media networks. It’s time you used that to your advantage.
One business, TechSoup, has stumbled upon some key secrets to effectively using twitter, forums, and discussion groups to promote the brand and the digital edition. (See their website and their digital edition.) TechSoup is a nonprofit organization which provides resources, information, and support for other nonprofit businesses. Their digital edition – a magalog – combines informational content with for-sale software products donated by other companies.
In an extensive interview and subsequent webinar, Senior Marketing Manager Alexis Geslani explained how TechSoup promoted their publication through social media sites. Read a few of Alexis’ ideas here:
"We did a special e-mail to our base with a ‘refer a friend’ angle."
"We did a blog about the digital catalog. They put it in their newsletter." (referring to 3 separate blogs)
"[We] just said, ‘Hey guys, we just got this catalog. Could you retweet it?’ And they did!"
"We’re just tapping what I call the icing on the cake. The potential could be huge."
Look for the full case study on social media and TechSoup soon. Contact your account manager today to get started on your own social media strategy.
Christopher Cain of FOLIO: wrote an article entitled Don’t Rush Headlong Into Software-as-a-Service, discussing the positives and negatives to using software-as-a-service solutions in place of a functionality within your business. More specifically, he warns about issues such as privacy, availability of service, and support personnel.
There is something here publishers should note: software does not equal service. As Cain points out, there are benefits to finding a quality vendor who can help you with your publication (or other functionality). Using a vendor can eliminate a lot of upfront costs and can allow for quick turn-around rates. However, turn-around and even cost doesn’t mean much if the process is hard, the product is bad, and no one’s on the other end of the phone when something goes wrong.
With growing trends of digital publishing, it’s important to evaluate a vendor or provider based on technology AND service. Technology considerations should necessarily include the ability to be customized to meet a publisher’s needs, a quality product on a platform that’s appealing to the publisher and the reader, and an understandable process to get a publication into the digital format. (To see Nxtbook’s process, click here.) Service is quantified by touch points offered by the company, a team of people focused on the publisher’s success, and a partnership with publishers to guide them through making an managing a digital edition.