focus on digital

As your team grapples to respond to COVID-19, you will probably take a hard look at your digital publishing strategy. For some, this will be a mostly new endeavor. For others, this will be an important time to re-evaluate current offerings. No matter the situation, getting digital right matters both now and in the long term. According to a recent consumer survey we conducted, 75% of magazine readers were already viewing magazines digitally before COVID-19 (most on their phones), and now 54% say they are even more likely to consume digital content from the brands they trust.

With social distancing curtailing physical interaction, “digital distance” may turn out to be the closest connection between content creators and their customers. Here are four tips to help make your digital efforts a success during this unprecedented time.

1. Do Your Brand Justice

You’ve spent a lot of time and money developing your brand over the years, and now is not the time to settle when it comes to digital. Don’t just start pushing content out through your website and call it a day. Your readers want a curated, packaged, and delivered content experience like your print. That’s what your brand is all about. But you can’t just settle for a basic digital replica edition of your print either. Instead, your readers want an engaging content experience that works on both desktops and phones. It should also reflect your fonts, colors, and logos, and effortlessly incorporate your other content initiatives.

2. Plan for Maximum Flexibility

Who knows what’s exactly in store for us over the next six months, so your digital content strategy needs to be flexible. While you might be able to continue designing traditionally laid out content in PDF form, you need to be ready to quickly deploy content in a responsive web form while staying true to your curated and packaged brand experience. According to our survey, 52% of readers now want to hear more from the content brands they trust as a result of COVID-19. Your content distribution platform should allow you to provide a single digital content experience to your readers that allows you to deliver content in the form and frequency you need in any given moment. You should also give thought now to responsive web design, so you are ready to go.

3. Don’t Forget About Compliance

As you focus on getting digital content out the door quickly and affordably, don’t forget to address any applicable compliance requirements. For example, if you have a physical presence already subject to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), your digital content more than likely needs to be compliant with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Similarly, privacy regulation is now a global consideration. Make sure you are hitting the necessary standards with your digital efforts, like compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe or the California Consumer Privacy Act in the United States.

4. Tell Your Readers About Your New Strategy

Now more than ever you need to make sure you tell your readers why they need to stay digitally connected to your brand. Your readers have a lot on their minds, so they won’t just know what you have to offer. Will you be offering important COVID-19 information, or alternatively a good dose of content normalcy? Perhaps you have unique and important community tips or resources to share. Also, what can readers expect from your digital? A rich archive to explore during extended home-time? A mobile-friendly reading experience? Special video or audio content? The point is simply that you need to make a list of four or five values you can offer and start promoting those to your readers.

Now is the time to get your digital content strategy right, as it’s never been more important.

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by Blue Toad

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Magazine Training International’s mission is to encourage, strengthen, and provide training and resources to Christian magazine publishers as they seek to build the church and reach their societies for Christ.