Three Benefits Digital Publications Have Over Websites

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Written by Matt Berringer

September 14, 2016

This is a question I have been hearing a lot lately from our clients. Faced with a plethora of publishing options, limited budgets, and crunched timelines, a web portal or microsite might seem like the best way to go to present your content.

There can be benefits to creating a website or microsite for your content, but it’s not always an immediate win. It’s important to not only take into consideration your resources but the type of content you are presenting and the impact you want to make on your readers.

Succinctly put, it’s not enough to just get your content in front of your readers, a strategy has to come into play. Digital publications have their own set of unique benefits when it comes to presenting your content. I’m taking a look at three below.

Curated Content

The first and obvious benefit is that a digital publication still provides a way for publishers to present curated content. We all know what goes into planning a digital publication. From creating content strategies and production plans to layout and design to advertising; it takes time and resources. But let’s not forget the end result: Your team has the opportunity to create a complete picture of your organization, values, and products for your readers that they might not get from casual viewing of your website. This leads me to my next callout.

Specialized Content

Websites are great for presenting a general overview of your organization, but it also has to service people who have never been to your website before. It’s kind of like being at a business mixer where you know half of the people and don’t know the other half. If you strike up a conversation with someone that you know, you can discuss the specifics of your organization right away and how it relates to them because they already know who you are. If you strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know, you have to start at the beginning by introducing yourself and your organization, making awkward small talk and accidentally spilling your drink on them. Well not really, but you get my point. Your website is performing a balancing act.

Digital publications can narrow and focus in on segments of your existing audience with specific content that might be too long or in-depth for your website. This, in turn, creates a more personalized and intimate reading experience and is an added value for your readers.

Connecting with Readers

Another benefit is that digital publications are a great way for publishers to connect and interact with their readers. I cannot tell you how many great websites I have bookmarked that, despite my best intentions, I never get back to. But I can guarantee you that I am checking my email every day, and when I see one of my magazine subscriptions pop up into my inbox announcing a new issue, I get excited. Even if don’t have time to read it then and there, I know it’s waiting for me in my inbox and it’s a routine reminder of why I like the organization in the first place.

As a reader of digital publications, I can say confidently, that one of the benefits I enjoy the most from digital publications is a sense of accomplishment. Very rarely do I leave a website with the feeling that I have explored every nook and cranny and delved into all of its secrets. But I have read magazines cover to cover; bookmarked, shared, and highlighted my favorite articles and saved my favorite issues.

So… should I create a digital publication or a website for my content?

And this is one of the best pieces of advice that I can give you. Don’t corner yourself into thinking that the answer has to be either/or; it can be both/and. In the publishing world digital publications and even print, can work and feed off each other to create a strategic alliance that can yield the maximum results: more happy readers and advertisers.

There might be some information and content better suited for a website and likewise information that would be better suited for a digital publication, but why limit yourself and readers to one content distribution point? You have the opportunity to create in-depth stories in your digital publication that can link back to your website and have subscriptions on your website to your digital publication for readers who want to go deeper with your content.

So when asked, should I have a website or a digital publication? I say, why not have both?

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