In an article by Technology Review, they state that Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook’s founder – predicts, "every year, for the foreseeable future, the amount of information you share on the Web will double."Sure, this prediction comes from someone heavily invested in promoting sharing, but there are countless objective data points indicating the exponential growth of social sharing. In 2011 alone you might recall Google+ release, Facebook’s new timeline feature and app, Twitter’s Brand Pages, and LinkedIn’s allowance for brand status updates.
While defined benchmarks for social sharing of publications remains to be determined, sharing remains an expectation of your readers. It is becoming ever more intuitive. This means not only does your brand need to be shareable, but so does your product.
To that end, digital editions are inherently more shareable across a broad audience, and Nxtbook’s digital editions have always been shareable on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Delicious, etc. Whether your readers are viewing it on a tablet, phone, or computer, it’s quick and easy to post it on a wall. To take it a step further, we also enable shareable bookmarks and notes. Readers can stick a note to an article, and when they email it to a friend, the friend will see the note as well. A quick "Thought you’d like this article!" can go a long way. (Click here to try it out yourself.)
Make it easy for your readers to share as much as they want, as intuitively as they expect. Otherwise, you might end up looking like this guy: (video)
There’s a nice read over at Forbes discussing how some publishers are opting for high end publishing experiences, something we’ve definitely seen a trend with now. (sidenote: Remember how in 2006 the mainstream media was ignoring digital editions? Now we’re being written up in Forbes. Who knew?) The article is a bit disjointed and somewhat suggests that the platform doesn’t matter nearly as much as distribution. While distribution IS critical, it’s a somewhat strange point to make in an article about reader experience. The more customized your reader experience, the more you do need to pay attention to technology. Not everyone can reach all platforms and the costs to do so vary widely, so tread lightly.
There’s an interesting article over at MediaShift about the various ways consumers go about converting subscriptions from print to digital. It’s an interesting perspective on a seldom addressed subject. The headline is a bit misleading, offering that the process is a "pain." Of all the complaints I’ve heard over the years, this hasn’t been one of them and the article doesn’t even seem to think so, but at any rate, it’s something to consider in your evaluation process.
December is arguably the best time to shift the focus of your publication promotional efforts to giving and cheerfulness. One way to build trust, engagement and interest with your readers is to embrace the holiday spirit as they are. While there are many ways publishers can do this with their digital editions, here are three to get you started:
1. Offer freebies to build excitement and circulation
‘Tis the season for giving! And as readers’ minds turn to gifts and holiday spending, a free gift is much appreciated. Consider offering a free special edition or free issue. Think about giving a prize or product, and promote it in your digital edition. Remember, it’s more fun to tweet about free materials than pointing to something behind a paywall.
2. Engage with current readers
Show your audience you’ve got the holiday spirit by sending them a virtual holiday card. You can make it promotional for your brand like our client, Virtuoso, or keep it heartwarming, like Amtrak. Or, have fun with it, like we did!
Holiday cards not your thing? Add a subtle wintry touch to your winter issue with Nxtivus. Snow gently drifts down your cover, collecting lightly on your masthead.
3. Embrace New Year’s Resolutions
It’s time to take a moment and reflect on your digital edition’s success. How did it go this year? Did you deliver content that was relevant to your readers? Did you distribute it in the way they wanted to read it? Did you try anything new that really took off? Did you inspire interaction and engagement?
Your metrics can answer much of this for you, but to make the most informed resolutions this year, you could poll your readers. Add a survey or poll to the page and ask readers what they think. Don’t be shy!
Looks: we were one of the first people to suggest that there was too much money being spent on digital editions that would never provide publishers with a solid return on investment. But every time someone like Lucia Moses writes that, "The problem for publishers is that customized, enriched experience can add tens of thousands of dollars to the cost of developing each issue of a magazine," I want to scream.
Truth is we’ve done some seriously cool digital editions for a fraction of that money, and the most expensive one we’ve ever done was significantly less than ten thousand, let alone tens OF thousands of dollars. Ask your account manager for details.
A new study has come out detailing where you can find magazines on the iPad. Unfortunately, with a price tag of $5,000 for the study, I’m going to have to go with the synopsis discussed on PaidContent.
In and of itself, that’s a shame, as the study doesn’t even attempt to address digital editions accessed via the browser. Considering that’s still how 90% of our readers consume digital editions, you’re leaving out a lot of information there. True the study mentions the browser, but doesn’t specify whether or not it’s digital edition content or web content. I’m guessing since 100% of publishers said their content IS on the browser, they weren’t necessarily thinking of digital editions. Otherwise, how could our industry be still growing at the good rate it is?
As we look at the slide shown in the summary, it’s good to note that the Nxtbook plays in the vast majority of platforms listed. After all, if your readers are there, our content needs to be.
Funny point: Time corrected PaidContent, saying, "We are the only magazine publisher to design our magazine apps 100 percent specifically designed for tablet."
That’s about the silliest correction I’ve ever heard. There are many magazines our there designed specifically for the tablet. Some are Nxtbooks, but many aren’t. To suggest anything else shows how out of touch Time can be.
If you’ve ever wanted to quiz your readers – see how many are paying attention, see if they’ve learned what you want them to know, to get feedback on your content, or a myriad of other reasons – you might want to go ahead and include an interactive quiz in your digital edition.
The Nxtbook quiz feature works on computers, tablets, and smartphones. Show readers the number of questions they got right, the questions they got wrong, and their percentage.
Already it has been a natural fit for magazines with continuing education, for training manuals, and higher education magazines such as this one. The feature works cross-platform, so talk to your Project Manager about adding an interactive quiz to your next edition.
December is a time for looking back at the year and reviewing some of the best ideas that made it through. Earlier, we offered you the chance to check out the magazines we recommended as the most sensational from 2011. The trend now among newsstands is to show off top magazine covers of the year, so I’m adding my own list of top 5 digital edition covers from 2011.
In the wake of the tragic earthquake and flooding in Japan, UBM Electronics scrambled together to create a digital edition for the sole purpose of raising funds and awareness for Japan. The elegant cover speaks to the effects, the literal and figurative darkness of the tragedy as well as some bright spots of people working together in the aftermath.
Talk about inspiration. World Wildlife Fund knows the power of images and video, and they put a beautiful video of a school of fish flowing back and forth across their cover with the provocative title, "Our Coasts, Our Seas." The eye-catching action is more enrapturing than a large aquarium.
In an age when global economies are on the forefront of most of the populace’s minds, The American Prospect touches home with its special edition on Wal-Mart’s effect on the global marketplace. It tells much of the story in the cover alone, asking readers to flip it open to learn more.
The angle of the photo on the cover alone inspires readers to fall into the magazine, but Cygnus takes it a step farther by incorporating animation and video to grab readers’ attention from the beginning. The cover is also designed to look as crisp and intriguing on every screen through digital optimization.
Black and white continues to have play on covers as its stark, clean look grabs the eye and marks content as important and worth a second look. This cover eschews the clutter of added graphics and extras, opting for the pop-effect of white text on black background. The color emphasis registers about the same time as the bold title, "most measurement sucks," a hook designed to snare their target audience of content developers.
Here at Nxtbook, we always enjoy the opportunity to wish you a very special holiday. Through the years, we’ve delivered open fires and dancing elves inside our digital editions. But this year, we think we’ve reached a new level. Click here to visit our very special holiday greeting!
On Thursday, December 1, we had the honor of winning the #1 Best Place to Work in PA out of 65 small- to mid-sized companies (25-250 employees). Make no mistake, it is a big deal to make the list of 65 at all: Pennsylvania is a large state with a lot of businesses. The process for narrowing down the list is rigorous, starting with getting the employee’s perspective, then factoring quantifiable benefits and employer information.
And though, when they counted down the list and finally named our company as #1 we exploded into cheers and applause, it was more from pride than surprise. Since its inception, Nxtbook Media’s owners have actively and intentionally created the best place to work. As CEO Michael Biggerstaff put it, they try to make Nxtbook, "the place we always wanted to work but could never find." Being one of the top 3 companies to work for the past 4 years is proof this mentality pays off.
Of course the success of this business depends wholly on everyone’s participation in making it great. Winning #1 is simply an external representation of the pride everyone takes in their jobs. When we get to work, it isn’t to drudge through 8 hours and go home. We care about what we do, about serving our clients, creating work we can be proud of, and about caring for each other. Think about how much better it is to work with someone who is glad to be where they are (and have an award to prove it) rather than trying to get through to someone in less optimal conditions. (Think of "Peggy" in those customer service commercials.)
So the next time you call us, you can be proud that you’ve partnered with the best company to work for in the state of Pennsylvania.