4 Tips for Actively Building A Digital Edition Audience
The technology is improving and so should your aud dev approach.
Publishers over the years have had their plates full with managing print and Web products, thus relegating digital editions to the âstepchildâ category. But with all of the new e-reader devices currently on the market and recent developments in smartphone technology, digital editions are now coming more to the forefront. But technology is just one part of the equationâyou need an engaged audience to make focusing on a digital edition worth the effort.
During a recent AD Webinar, Josh Gordon, president of Smarter Media Sales.com, and Raymond Roker, CEO/founder of URB magazine, offered attendees some strategies for actively building digital edition audiences:
Enhance the reader experience with âdigital extras.â
When interactive components such as video and flash are added to a digital edition, not only does it has the potential to spark readersâ interest in opening the magazine in the first place, it might also get them to peruse an article that they might not have considered before.
According to Gordonâs recently published report entitled âThe Case for Advertising in Interactive Digital Magazines," 44.6 percent of readers say that video, flash, and other âdigital extrasâ extend the time spent reading interactive magazines by motivating readers to read articles they would otherwise have skipped. âAlso consider that the same can apply for ads in the magazine,â he said. âThe largest percent of readers in the survey saw a brand message that, at first, held no interest for them, but then saw the video prompted them look further at the message.â
Age is nothing but a number.
One Webinar attendee was concerned that his audience wasnât going to be drawn to digital editions because the majority of them were part of an older demographic. That shouldnât really matter, according to Gordon. In fact, one of the digital magazines that he has consulted on is Grand, which was created specifically for grandparents.
âI donât think thereâs any age barrier when it comes to digital editions,â he said. âItâs a question of where you build constituency. A lot of older readers do prefer print, but digital editions are still doing well with this demo primarily because of the type size. Older readers tend to have a problem with the small font found in magazines, but with digital editions, they can adjust the size of the font.â
Choose your digital edition vendors wisely.
The type of vendor you choose will ultimately determine the look, feel and intuitiveness of your digital edition, so choose wisely, according to Roker.Â âLook at each company, study the difference, play with their interfaces and get feedback,â he said. âAnd be sure to partner with a [vendor] that has the largest share in the market that you're targeting. It really comes down to what works for your product and audience.â
For URB specifically, Roker wanted a vendor that would work with the magazineâs free model and that would have features such as comprehensive measurement and reporting, share tools and the ability to embed widgets on various sites that would lead back to the digital edition, which brings us to the final tip âŠ
Share and share alike.
Approaching a digital edition like a traditional print magazine is always a bad idea, according to Gordon. While print is about creating content and presenting it to a target audience, digital editions are more about building communities. âYou want them to click, register, interact and participate,â he said. âThe first question you ask yourself when first creating a digital edition isnât âWhat kind of content should I send to my readers?â It should be âHow can I get my readers involved?ââ
An entire segment of Rokerâs presentation, which was entitled âPreach On Preacher,â was dedicated to the idea of using social media to push out digital editions. âYou definitely have to social media that sucker,â he said. âWhether it's Facebook, Twitter or Digg, you want to make sure that youâre there because that is how things are amplified today.â
But social media, both panelists reminded attendees, isnât the only way to get audiences to notice your digital edition. According to Gordon, lists are a great way to gain some traction. âRethink how you use them,â he said. âThink about who else you can share the content with, including associations, regional groups and local groups. Theyâre always great at sharing content.â