Refreshing Your Magazine’s Brand Through Digital Editions
Revitalizing your brand every three to five years is critical to market success, according to a new survey sponsored by the American Marketing Association, and independent firms Luth Research and MiresBall1. The survey found that brands that were revitalized every three to five years scored highest on its success index.
The survey further revealed that companies were updating their messaging and medium to keep their brand fresh, rather than changing their core brand positioning. When asked about their marketing tactics for accomplishing this revitalization, word-of-mouth ranked first, followed by web and interactive programs.
So what does this mean for publishers? It is a difficult challenge to keep your magazine brand exciting and relevant without undermining the trust and brand loyalty you have already spent significant time and money cultivating. With the publics’ continually rising appetite for all things digital, properly positioning and promoting your digital edition is an ideal way to revitalize your brand. Since your digital edition can be a copy of your print edition, re-iterating your layout, cover, graphics and style, the digital edition supports your brand, while offering you the opportunity to enhance and revitalize your image by offering the excitement of digital editions and multimedia integration.
For publishers that do not have a digital edition, you can start by converting your print edition. This underscores and supports your overall brand positioning. Then, add enhancements to update and revitalize your image. Many publishers add a multimedia brand ad or video introduction to their digital edition as a replacement to the right hand help screen. This visually exciting introduction will engender heightened user interest and create a fresh brand perspective.
Next, encourage advertisers to provide multimedia ads in your magazine. A popular vehicle is the blow-in card that is placed over a page or over a print ad in the digital edition. This provides a second window that can be set to play upon demand or auto play. Consider offering a discounted ad package consisting of print and digital ads; or offer a discounted multimedia ad package for first time digital advertisers. This can increase advertiser acceptance of this new medium. Once advertisers are accustomed to the new medium, you can also use this to increase their ad commitment. This is another way to add excitement and visual interest to your digital publication.
Some publishers may ask, "Why revitalize my brand through digital editions instead of my website?" This is a great question. You may have noticed that a few years ago, almost everyone was running Flash websites with exciting multimedia visuals that provided a cutting-edge feel. Looking around the web lately, these sites are vanishing rapidly. Why? Probably because search engine optimization cost-effectively drives traffic, and search engine robots cannot recognize flash data. As a result, many savvy companies have moved away from Flash websites to ensure better search engine results. Digital editions offer you a way to integrate multimedia excitement into your brand while preserving your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. With your web site as your primary means of driving search engine results, Texterity can also optimizes each digital edition for search engine recognition. The text can be searched so you can add flash or multimedia elements for excitement without loosing the additional search engine benefits digital editions provide.
One of the misconceptions some publishers have about developing multimedia enhancements is that it is very time and labor intensive. There are varying levels of multimedia content. You can develop them internally, hire an external agency or the internet provides a wealth of options for pre-recorded audio and video clips that you can integrate into your multimedia messaging.
Another option is a "user generated" video campaign. A number of major brands have run user generated video contests with phenomenal results. You can create a promotional campaign asking readers to send in their own videos about their favorite article. You can also create an editorial theme for the quarter. Pick a broad topic and offer readers the opportunity to submit a 3-5 minute video. For example, one topic could be "Training your Sales Staff" and you could ask your readers for videos of their best sales tips and programs. Provide links to the best three videos each month and let users vote for their favorite video (this can be done in survey format integrated directly into the digital edition page). At the end of the quarter have a prize for the best video to keep users engaged and submitting content. This can keep your brand fresh and innovative while it also directly engages your subscribers.
Another way to engage digital readers is to offer a "feedback of the month" section in your editorial. Devote a page to a hot issue in your industry. Provide editorial coverage of the pro and con sides of the issue, adding a sidebar that contains an integrated voting/survey mechanism. Allow your digital readers to vote on the issue and then publish the results in your next edition. This inexpensive program keeps readers engaged on a regular basis.
Other programs to consider are RSS and blogging. We can connect your users to your magazine’s main blog or a popular blog about your magazine or industry. With RSS, we can notify your readers and prospects immediately when articles are published that match their interests.
To provide a cutting edge brand image for prospective subscribers, promote your digital edition in some of your banner and keyword ad campaigns. Allow users to link directly to the digital sample to get a feel for your publication and then subscribe. Users will be wowed at your cutting-edge image, and your can simultaneously drive your marketing, circulation-building and brand revitalization efforts. Refresh your brand, by prominently placing ads conveying the benefits of digital editions on your web site. Offer free trials from your website, send an email notification to your print subscribers and run an ad promoting your digital edition in your print publication. All of these promotions about your digital editions and multimedia integration help to re-fresh your brand and provide a cutting-edge image. Even readers who prefer to stay with print tend to think of your brand as innovative after digital introduction campaigns – so it is a win-win situation.
By using the examples in this article, you can refresh your brand with a digital makeover than increases reader excitement and engagement. For more information on how digital editions can help you revitalize your brand, please contact Texterity at 1-800-455-5450.
1 Visit http://www.miresball.com/Think/Survey/ to access their survey summary.
Martin Hensel has worked in electronic publishing for 20 years and is widely known for his expertise in developing innovative publishing programs and platforms. He is president of Texterity, Inc. (www.texterity.com), the fastest-growing provider of systems and services for the creation, delivery, and tracking of digital publications. The company serves a wide range of publishers in the consumer and trade categories, including PennWell, Dow Jones & Co., Time, Inc., Cond� Nast, Hearst Magazines, Penton Media, CMP, Ziff Davis Media, and Meredith. It is privately held and headquartered in Southborough, MA.