Reading a magazine on an iPad

What should you consider when publishing a magazine online?

Dean Cook

by Dean Cook, September 28, 2016
Category: Blog,   Tags: android magazine, create online magazine, design, design online magazine, digital magazine, digital magazines, effective content delivery, ezine, flip magazine, iPad magazine, iPhone magazine, magazine, magazine for social media, mobile connectivity, online magazine, produce ezines, publish magazine online, simulated print magazine online, smartphone magazine, social media magazine, tablet magazine,

Digital delivery can be packaged in many forms (flip-mags, Apps, HTML, blogs, PDF, etc.). However, Dean Cook is aware of a client concern: how do you effectively broadcast 80, 100, 120 page or more of an A4 publication of quality content through a 9″ window (or smaller)? Here he considers publishing a title online from a reader behaviour point of view.

Although it is possible to make a publication available digitally, you can’t ideally simulate an A4 magazine and view it on a device less than half of the page size without making navigation a notorious and a tiresome task.

Also, as shown by our statistics from an excess of 750 publications we’ve published online, typically only one-tenth of the time is spent reading a flip-mag compared to its paper counterpart. With a lot of time, effort and money invested, it is easy to encounter low reader numbers once it has been published. Besides, those who have turned the pages within only read a fraction of the overall content. Okay, this doesn’t apply to all publications as other factors need to be considered such as audience, the effectiveness of content delivery and the type of content on offer.

Appreciating that some do read magazines on their tablets and smartphones, our figures show attention span is a lot less. Therefore, we would need to consider product optimisation. How do we maximise the number of pages to entertain the shorter attention time span yet, balance the content to encourage the readers back wanting to read more issues?

Many would have previously considered turning off after 20 pages, but when they see that there are only another ten or so pages can certainly encourage readers to the end. It appears that a 32- to 40-page online magazine seems to be a sweet spot.

It’s natural human behaviour to expect to see a start, a middle and an end so, if you have a wealth of unique content purely to publish online, then why not consider posting lesser pages on a more frequent basis? Or break up a publication to focus on smaller but more digestible variants?

As an example; we produce an airline maintenance magazine, but with a lot of content to broadcast, it’s split into two: MRO; and Operations — this also allowed for greater marketing opportunities. Primarily through, with readers being airline engineers based all over the globe, they are continually on the move. It was important to limit pagination length to work alongside the attention span but also optimise the size of the publication for device viewing to minimise navigation. Combined with online marketing and identifying routes to the reader, the publisher would then have the ingredients to attract a good readership. In four years, Aircraft IT MRO regularly attracts very respectable numbers with an average readership time of nine minutes.

If you already publish a print title, why not think about releasing a light-weight digital derivative? The lesser-paginated digital-only magazine would contain additional unique content not found in your print title. Allowing to broadcast the little digital brother to explore digital channels would add brand value, online social interaction and encourage reader involvement to create a stronger community. Allowing certain content to become available to all, may just attract new readers you were previously unable to reach. As a result, they may just end up parting with their money to subscribe to your premium printed title naturally carrying a variety of more in-depth articles and features.

Tablets have been available for a few years now. The ‘Print versus Digital’ is an old argument. Quite simply, digital will never replace print and vice versa. Both operate in completely different environments, each possessing its own merits and benefits. Instead, it’s about complementing each other to maximise the broadcast ability of your magazine title and adding value to your brand.

We can look at options and assess which would be the most efficient route for you, your magazine, your advertisers and, more importantly, your readers. Just contact us for a free initial consultation.

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