Congratulations to our client AAA Living magazine for winning the top prize in this year’s Excel Award in the Media Innovation – Digital Magazine category!
More than 900 entries were submitted to be considered for the 2013 awards. Last year, in the digital magazine category, neither a gold nor silver was awarded to any entry. This year, however, the judges evaluated three issues of AAA Living and gave them the top honors.
The EXCEL Awards recognize exceptional work done in the association industry, in categories ranging from web publishing to magazines, newsletters, journals and more. This prestigious award is reason to celebrate, and AAA Living earned it well with their innovative use of the digital platform and their beautiful design.
On the heels of Zinio’s Z-pass announcement (think Netflix for digital magazines, which we’ve heard before) is this article by Hamish McKenzie which covers little new ground in saying that for digital magazines to really succeed, they’re going to have to stop looking like print magazines.
While McKenzie is right, to a point, it’s fairly absurd that not a single example of what the future looks like has an advertisement in it that’s anything but an IAB banner. If nothing else, this proves that while McKenzie may understand technology, he doesn’t really understand how the publishing industry operates.
Moreover, if you’re not going to figure out advertising – and again, the samples McKenzie links to clearly haven’t – then your entire business model is predicated on digital content sales, which at this point is still very much a precarious business.
Nxtbook’s Ubiquity product aims to do both – deliver a better reading experience for consumers while creating unique advertising platforms for advertisers. In the end, both ends of the problem need to be fixed to push the industry into its next great phase of advancement and Ubiquity is the only platform we’ve seen that does that. Don’t believe us? Check out this sample here and notice how it works for readers and advertisers alike.
Giving readers what they want can be tricky: they want publishers to take advantage of the digital medium to offer more than the print experience, but they don’t want to get so lost in flashy distractions they can’t read the content. The solution is a compromise is to use that engaging technology in a subtle, opt-in style.
Farm Forum, a publication highlighting the benefits of CASE IH agriculture equipment, exemplifies this style with subtle touches readers can appreciate. Let’s go page-by-page for a moment, starting with the first inside page:
Page 2: All calls to action are emphasized for the reader with simple scroll-over animation. As is standard to all Nxtbook digital editions, the link on the page is highlighted when the cursor rolls over it. Unique to Farm Forum is the animation applied to the logos and social media buttons: the clickable buttons grow much larger as the cursor scrolls over it, alerting the reader to that they are able to click this area.
Page 3: The table of contents font colors switch from black to red as the reader scrolls over the text, alerting the reader they’ve hovered over the correct desired content. A "+" icon calls out that additional content can be released in a pop-up if the reader clicks the icon.
Page 4: Readers can roll over buttons marked 1, 2, and 3 to see more photos from the Ag Connect show.
Let’s jump a little to get into the content.
Page 10 has a "+" that provides a chart of AccuGuide ™ supported vehicles.
Page 12 has video with some explanatory text that lets the reader know what they’ll see if they click the play icon.
Page 18 has buttons listing the "Crops" and "Specifications" in pop-ups if the reader clicks to learn more.
Page 19 has a dual-purpose ad for readers who want to learn more. The first look at the ad provides an image-heavy promotion. If the reader clicks the small, animated "More" they’re taken to the hidden secondary page with significant copy and more call to action. Readers that land here are more likely to be engaged with the ad and to be high-quality leads.
Taking advantage of the digital platform doesn’t mean adding whiz and bang to every page. Matter of fact, that kind of thinking can lead to a terrible experience for your readers and prevent them from digging into your content. Instead, by adding strategic elements of animation, you can engage your readers on a new level and provide them with the digital content they’ve been seeking.
Sharing is intuitive to your readers, but is your content share-ready?
Whether you are marketing to the masses or have a targeted niche, there is no doubt that social media plays a part in increasing your reach. To create an effective campaign, publishers need to define their goals. For example, you might be looking to increase your book opens, drive readers to a specific article every issue, increase brand awareness to unknown masses, or start conversations with your readers.
Define your goals, and how social media will help you reach them. Keep in mind that social media works best when it is amplifying other marketing messages or additional content.
Some down and dirty tips for effective social media marketing include:
- keep it interesting and fresh for followers
- provide multiple ways for people to share it
- share it yourself in ways that are easy for readers to repost
- and above all else, develop quality content that people will want to share.
Advanced social media gurus use the metrics provided by their digital edition’s reports to determine what readers are clicking on and demonstrating interest in. Then they’ll promote those pieces across all of their social media channels.
Share functions are all standard in Nxtbook Media’s platform, making it easy for readers to share your digital edition at any time. We also help publishers encourage readers to share by offering additional toolbar buttons or animated icons directly to the page.
In the end, however, your content is what is going to make your readers share with their friends and coworkers.
Curious about other methods to increasing your social interaction between readers and your publication? Download the Big Book of Ideas for social media and digital editions here.
The numbers are in, and BPA reports an increase in digital circulation of 2.8%. A report released by BtoBonline summarized the BPA’s findings:
"About a third (33.8%) of the b-to-b and consumer publications audited by BPA Worldwide reported digital circulation for the second half of last year, the organization said. A total of 520 print titles reported digital circulation for the six-month period ended Dec. 31, a 2.8% increase over the year-earlier period. BPA Worldwide said digital circulation now accounts for about 22% of its audited qualified circulation."
More businesses are embracing digital publications as an effective form for reaching their readers, and I expect this number to continue to rise throughout the year.
We’ve found that lots of people need a great looking website that plays great on mobile and tablet devices. That said, a lot of these same people have relatively small needs. Maybe you’re a consultant or a single practice attorney… in that case, you need to look good, but you don’t want to spend a ton.
Did you know that we’ve recently launched Rent-to-Own websites? For as little as $999 down, you can have your site launched in under a week. Click here to read the details, or enjoy the video for more info.
One of the oft-overlooked advantages to having a digital edition are the additional revenue generation opportunities tied to going digital. While publishers are starting to embrace the win-win scenario of increasing attention given to ads by adding animation, video, and clear digital calls to action, there’s an additional purely digital advantage that some publishers miss: the sponsorship.
With 27 sponsor spots to choose from in a fully-loaded Nxtbook digital and mobile edition, this fact remains: having skyscrapers, banners and toolbar ads means your advertiser’s creative is seen by every reader for as long as he or she has the publication open. The ads will appear next to the digital edition during every page flip and every moment the reader is engaging with the edition. This is a value no other advertiser will have, and is what every advertiser should want. It is prime real estate, and media sales reps can sell it as such.
There are a couple of different strategies publishers can use with this. Some publishers sell different sponsor locations to different advertisers. Some publishers are mindful of their sponsor’s competitors, and when a reader gets to a page that has the competitor’s ad, the sponsor spot disappears for that spread. Other publishers might create animated sponsor locations which flip through a series of advertisers, all in the same position. Still other publishers bundle multiple sponsor locations together into a sponsorship package, selling a single sponsor the exclusive rights to the banner ads in that issue.
One such publisher is Bobit Business Media. This publisher created a magazine for executive vehicle management, Fleet Financials, and sells sponsorships to the tune of two skyscraper ads and a toolbar button. This issue was purchased by Volkswagen, an advertiser likely to benefit from reaching Fleet Financials‘ audience. By selling the sponsor locations as a package deal, a reader is instantly exposed to three complementary ads for Volkswagen that they can engage with or ignore for a time as they read the magazine. As the reader turns page by page, the ads are persistent, giving more time for the reader to notice and click on any of the three positions.
Digital editions are inherently revenue-generators. Whether you prefer the one-sponsor or the multi-sponsor path, it’s crucial for publishers to understand the value of these positions and to price them according to that value. Consider what you can offer your advertisers via sponsorships and let them know you’re ready to sell.
"Setting type used to have just one function: is it readable? Then, to save money, a new question: Can we get a lot of words on a page?" – Seth Godin
Throw in there "Can we save on ink?" and you have most of the questions people used to care about when it came to deciding what type of font to use for any given project.
Seth Godin’s blog post on typography for amateurs hit the nail on the head as it explained that now, as readers view the literal message delivered by the words, they are also receiving a subtle message delivered by the choice of type used. Typography asks the question, "How does it look?" and based on that answer, what message is being sent?
While this blog typically focuses on the strategy of digital or the general idea of digital optimization, Godin’s post is an excellent reason to pause and really consider what design – especially in the digital realm – is saying about your publication.
Among the many decisions that go into layout and design for a digital publication, "How does it look?" needs to be answered long before editors sign off on the final comp. Businesses who haven’t hired a professional digital design group such as Nxtbook Creative Services need to answer for themselves:
Does my typography match the message my brand/publication is trying to send? Am I following what leaders in my industry are doing? If not, will my differences make a powerful statement to my readers? Does it serve the original function of being easily readable on a digital device? Are my type choices clever or confusing?
Publishers who don’t want to answer these questions on their own can enlist the services of Nxtbook Creative Services to tackle all the aspects of digital design, including digital typography for their publication. Or, the Nxtbook team can develop a single digital design guide which can serve as a template for future issues of the publication and would also include type suggestions.
It’s that time of year again: when magazines of exceptional quality can receive recognition for their achievements in editorial and design. With an abundance of categories to choose from, chances are high that you’ll find something that matches your magazine or digital campaign (including social media, video, or blog.)
Every year Nxtbook sees several clients win in varying categories. Be proud of your digital magazine and enter it to win an Eddie (editorial award) or Ozzie (design award) by clicking here.
Like most of you, we pay attention to how people find us. I’m talking about the Nxtbook corporate site, as well as our (and your) digital editions. On our corporate site, in particular, we’ve noticed a drop off of search engine traffic, which would be disturbing if not for the fact that overall site visits continue to rise.
The culprit, according to this article, may be new browsers that block some of that vital search referral data, and instead lump those visitors into that big nebulous bucket we all have called "direct traffic."
On one hand, this isn’t a problem. After all, you’re still getting the visitor. But on the other hand, those of us who like to understand why that visitor came so they can replicate the success… well, things have gotten a bit harder for us.