Nxtbook vs. Other Options

Matt Berringer Headshot

Written by Matt Berringer

Want to elevate your branded content experiences? There are many options to choose from. Here’s a look at how Nxtbook’s offerings compare to the alternatives.

Comparison graph of platforms, based on content experiences

 

The Criteria

First, let’s take a second to dive into the criteria we’ve chosen and why each characteristic is important for elevating your branded content experience.

Easy to build

If you build it, they will come, right? But if it’s hard to build or takes a long time to build, you might not want to build as many experiences as you would if it were easy to do. So, having a tool that can quickly and efficiently help you create branded content experiences is essential for your marketing and branding efforts.

Mobile friendly

More than half the traffic on the internet is through mobile devices. Put simply, if you aren’t designing mobile-friendly experiences, you’re locking out half of the market for your brand right out of the gate.

If you aren’t building mobile-friendly experiences for your audience, you can bet your competitors will be.

Linear storytelling experiences

Imagine opening a printed book and just hopping around from page to page and then being asked to give a presentation on what you learned, in front of an audience …  that included the author of the book. Would you feel confident that you learned everything the author wanted you to know?

Now, imagine reading the same book from cover to cover and having to give that same presentation. Which experience would give you the most confidence?

Next, imagine performing that same exercise with every person who visits your content experience but this time you are the author?

Would you have more confidence in the recall of people who hopped around your website or those who read through a linear, story-like experience?

Modern marketing thrives on storytelling and using tools that provide a linear content experience can help you tell the story that you want to tell, in the order that you want to tell it.

Multimodal content

Visitors to your content experience will come in all shapes and sizes, some prefer to read, others prefer videos, and others might prefer slideshows, or interactive elements to keep them engaged.

By offering your content in a format that includes multimodal elements you increase the likelihood of engaging your audience for longer than a website.

In fact, studies have shown that students learn best when educators appeal to different learning styles at the same time.

So the same can be said about your digital content. Expressing it in a multimodal fashion means more time spent with your content and more retention of the information you’re sharing.

Sounds like a win-win, right?

Developing a content experience that only uses one method of engagement is like trying to build a house but only using one tool out of the toolbox. In contrast, multimodal experiences let you unleash the entire toolbox to entertain your audience with longer and more in-depth engagement.

Personalization

While industry buzz words come and go, one trend we see staying for the long haul is personalization. Why? Because it works.

Personalized emails increase open rates by 26% and deliver 6x higher transaction rates.

The more you can personalize content to fit your target audience the more likely they are to stay engaged and take your desired action. Any content experience that provides relevant personalization will have an edge over those that do not provide this ability.

Accessibility

If designing context experiences with only one mode of engagement leaves many people in your audience out because of a preference, designing experiences that are inaccessible for visually or audibly-impaired individuals takes that to a whole new level.

As of 2019, just over 13% of the United States population had a disability of some sort.

Your content should be designed to be consumed by as many people in your audience as possible. Accessibility is a big part of that.

Not only is it smart to meet audience needs, depending on your industry, company, or location, it may also be required by law. Lawsuits around web accessibility increased nearly 177 percent from 2017 to 2018 and remain near that level in 2020 and 2021.

Microsites

Positives 

Negatives  

Whether they live on your existing branded domain or you create a separate domain, microsites can be a great way to set up a separate ecosystem for your branded content.

Microsite Positives

Mobile friendly

In the plus column for micro-sites, they can be built with responsive design, so they are mobile friendly.

Multimodal 

They allow for a multi-modal mix of content including text, audio, video, and images.

Personalization

With the right set up and prior user data, elements of a website (including microsites) can be customized to show or hide content based on user behavior.

Accessible

They can also be designed with accessibility in mind so that screen readers and other assistive technologies can be used to engage with your content.

Microsite Negatives

Hard to build 

In the minus column, microsites generally aren’t that easy to build. Depending on the skill sets you have in house, microsites can take hours, days, or even weeks to get them fully up and running the way you want them to run.

Unguided content delivery

Unless your microsite is very specifically designed, it’s unlikely that your visitors will experience your content in the order or path that you intend. By their nature, web visitors quickly hop from one page to the next, scanning rather than fully engaging or reading content.

PDFs

PDF Positives 

PDF Negatives  

We’ve written (others have too) at length about the history and shortcomings of PDFs. While we definitely feel as though there are better options out there in 2021. However, old habits are hard to break. Here are a few quick recaps of the positives and negatives of PDFs.

PDF Positives

Easy to build

Without a doubt, this is the number one reason we hear from people as to why they are still using PDFs to engage their audience. It’s simple. While PDFs are simple to create, you still need to design the source material for the PDF and to do that right, you may need a designer, specialized design software, or both.

Linear storytelling experience 

While PDFs have their drawbacks, they do offer content creators the chance to tell their story in a linear manner.

PDF Negatives

Not mobile friendly

While the most common positive about PDFs is that they are easy to build, the most common negative is that they are not mobile friendly. This is a deal breaker when your goal is an elevated brand experience. Imagine going to a movie theatre only to find that the film’s picture doesn’t fit on the screen and you can only see one segment of the scene at a time.

Would you call that an elevated viewing experience or would you walk out before the previews are over?

In this example the content doesn’t fit the medium, this is pretty much what happens when your audience tries to view a PDF on a mobile device.

Not multimodal

While PDFs may have some ability to embed video and audio files, we can’t get on board with saying they offer a clean, elevated experience.

No personalization

One of the benefits of PDFs is that the format locks down your content so that it cannot be easily edited. In this case that’s a drawback because PDFs are very limited in the kind of personalization available.

Limited accessibility options

Again, while there are some ways to make your PDF “accessible”, this article is not about creating a minimally viable experience, it’s about creating elevated ones. For that reason we have to mark this one in the negative category for PDFs.

Video Channels

Positives

Negatives

Video Channel Positives

Easy to build

Whether you’re using YouTube or more business-centric providers like Wistia or Vimeo, setting up a video channel for your audience is generally very straightforward.

Mobile friendly

Video channels built by the major providers are mobile-friendly experiences.

Accessible options  

Video channels built by the major providers do provide options for accessibility but some may require additional work to provide captions or other supporting content.

Video Channel Negatives

Non-linear storytelling

While videos themselves offer linear storytelling opportunities, video channels are designed to allow visitors to hop from one video of interest to another. So your chances of giving an audience a specifically designed content experience are lower than with other mediums.

No multimodal experiences 

Video channels are really great at providing a library of your selected video resources, however they aren’t great at providing other forms of media like long-form text, images, slideshows, interactive elements, and audio (unless you make videos for each of them).

Limited personalization 

Basically, the only option for personalization with a video channel is to suggest which video to watch next, based on the user’s previously viewed content. So there is some ability to personalize but it is on a more limited, general level.

Nxtbook’s Platforms

Positives

Nxtbook’s Platforms Positives

Easy to build 

Our nxtbook platform provides a quick and easy way to build a basic curated digital content experience. PageRaft is a more configurable solution and it takes longer than nxtbook but it is still quicker than building out a microsite. And once you have one project built, you can easily copy it to create additional projects.

We also offer production services for both platforms, so you don’t have to lift a finger! How’s that for easy? 

Mobile friendly 

PageRaft shines for those looking to develop elevated, mobile friendly content experiences. That’s why some of the world’s largest brands leverage it to engage their audiences. Check out some examples here. The nxtbook platform also offers responsive content by leveraging a feature called Article View, you can select which content should be responsive and which should stay as designed in your PDF.

Linear storytelling experiences

This is one of the biggest selling points of both of our platforms. With each one you can develop content experiences that have a beginning, a middle and an end. Your audience experiences the content in the order you intended. That can have a big effect on their engagement and your results.

Multimodal 

If linear storytelling is a big selling point, multimodal storytelling is right there with it. Not only can you tell the audience the story you want to tell, but you can include all kinds of content to engage them along the way.

Videos, slideshows, podcasts, audio clips, and interactive elements are just some of the possibilities. Package them all together for an unforgettable, elevated content experience that your audience will love.

Compare that to disjointed microsites or unresponsive PDFs and you can see why many brands choose Nxtbook’s platforms over the rest.

Personalization options

Depending on your goals and the nxtbook platform you’re working with you have a few options to personalize your content experience. One popular method is by using nxtbook’s NxtSelect feature.

This feature allows either the end user or an intermediary (like a Sales Rep) to choose from a library of existing content to create a custom nxtbook for a specific reader or audience.

We also have clients who create targeted versions of nxtbooks by inserting localized content specific to a region or audience. There are plenty of options here, contact us if you’d like to brainstorm some ideas for your company.

Accessible options

PageRaft offers the most flexibility here when it comes to accessibility and we are also working hard to bring added functionality to the nxtbook platform.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it, an in depth look at Nxtbook’s platforms and the alternatives that are out there. While some options shine in one area or another, none quite deliver elevated brand experiences like PageRaft and nxtbook.

We will admit that our platforms aren’t for every brand out there. For some people, good enough is good enough. If their audience has to fumble around on a mobile phone to read their content or if their content isn’t accessible, it’s a small price to pay for their own convenience. Some people just want to hit Publish and move on to the next thing. But if just the thought of that makes you shudder and you’re ready to start elevating your brand’s digital content experiences, get in touch today!

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