Online magazines have become an inseparable element of the publishing world and their growth is particularly noticeable today. The reason for this situation is technological development, the increasing popularity of reading on mobile devices, and especially the pandemic situation which has changed people’s needs. However, even in such favorable circumstances, digital magazines need a promotion strategy.
The goal is to continue content delivery in a form attractive to the readers, and monetize even in the difficult times.Regardless of whether you publish a digital magazine separately or as a supplement to the print publication, if you want to make it part of the successful monetization strategy, there’s a necessity to introduce marketing activities. Having great content is just the beginning.
In this article, you’ll find practical pieces of advice on how to promote your digital magazine to achieve an increasing number of readers, subscribers, and sold issues.
Online magazine – does it pay off?
When I’m writing this article, we are all inside the pandemic situation which has affected almost the whole world. Probably, many of you are wondering now if it is a good moment to start, continue, or invest in a digital magazine. Some companies specializing in online publishing solutions started a special service to support magazine publishers affected by Covid-19.
The present situation has had a considerable influence on publishing. Print distribution and, therefore, profits from it are melting while costs remain the same. Advertisers are losing trust in traditional publications. Simultaneously, readers are stuck in their homes, buying goods online. And they need access to the current news as never before.
Digital publishing isn’t actually replacing print but becomes a way to ensure people that they will always have secure access to information. For publishers, opening to the new distribution channels can be an additional source of new types of readers and another channel for earning.
Digital magazine promotion is the first step to start with.
How to promote a digital magazine?
1. Give people content for free to show its value
I don’t mean free magazine distribution, but rather distinguishing between the paid content and the free content. The goal of sharing free articles or fragments of issues is drawing attention to your brand and attracting readers. This activity shows people what you really offer, allows them to get to know you, your magazine, and the quality it represents. Only then will people want more and be ready to pay for it.
What content can you distribute for free?
- Old magazine issues. Here digital publishing has an advantage over the print. Online libraries contain a lot of content which was published years ago, while buying past print releases in traditional kiosks is almost impossible.
- Articles that were published a long time ago. In a word, publish evergreen content, something that doesn’t lose its value. The articles can be refreshed periodically to attract readers again and again.
- Magazine samples or previews. This is the best way to show people what’s inside before they decide to subscribe. No one wants to buy a pig in a poke. This is a strategy used by Magasinet Norske Hjem, a Norwegian interior magazine, both on their website and in the mobile app.
Magasinet Norske Hjem offers preview option on their website
- Covers of issues which are not published yet. They should be designed in such a way as to catch people’s eyes regardless of the screen size, to generate clicks and downloads and as a result, trigger sales. The digital covers have the potential to become viral, too. Personally, I love New Yorker’s digital covers most of which are actually… gifs.
How does the distribution of free content compare with the paywall monetization strategy?
If you want to monetize thanks to paywall without resignation from giving free content, choose the model called “the soft” or “metered”. It’s based on offering a specific number of free access articles – to read more a paid subscription is required a paid subscription. It is the most popular model in the United States – 63% of the media have put it in place. This paywall strategy is successfully used by the New York Times.
2. Diversify distribution channels to make content more visible
Digital magazine readers can come from the community gathered around you and your brand – they are subscribers to your newsletter, social media followers and friends, podcasts listeners, blog readers, fans of your public appearances, or print issues buyers. That’s why it’s important to share all of the above mentioned free pieces of the content in different places.
Where can you publish free content to expand your magazine visibility?
- LinkedIn. This is a great place for publishers and authors to increase their publications readership. Conscious and systematic building of a personal brand on LinkedIn will naturally result in an increase of interest in a magazine you publish or a book you wrote.
- Other social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. They allow people to share content easily. You can publish article teasers, fragments of texts, covers, updates, etc. Remember to add to the post a link to your blog, website or the digital kiosk. It’ll direct readers to your own sources. Look how Essentials Magazine Australia does it on Facebook.
Essentials Magazine Australia puts a link to their own sources in Facebook posts
- Your blog or website. They should include information about where/how to buy your magazine. Create a bold “subscribe” button on your website, so that users can easily take action. If you publish print and digital issues simultaneously, place them side by side in the subscription form. You can also be inspired by Seth Godin who sells hundreds and thousands of his self-published books by content distribution diversification tactic.
- Newsletter. Put a simple, non-aggressive, non-invasive pop-up on the bottom of the website, informing about getting a free bonus or announcing a newsletter including free tips and articles (in exchange for an email address). In one word, prepare the value that will be of interest to your website visitors. Get inspired by the varied Guardian newsletter offer. They are masters in preparing offers tailored to the individual needs of their readers. To create and send the bulletins you can use a tool called Mailchimp.
Guardian offers a wide range of newsletters
by Paulina Kubala-Chuchnowska, State of Digital Publishing
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash