Pantone Color Calls for Environmental Preservation

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Pantone has become a corporate icon thanks to its Color of the Year. For 2019, they decided to leverage that influence by using their color choice to discuss a greater topic than color: environmental preservation.

The VP of Pantone’s color consulting unit, Laurie Pressman, expressed that preserving nature was a hot topic, both in the sense that it is avoided heavily while also needing to be addressed. Pressman went on to explain that a coral-natured color was also a natural choice to represent this. Coral provides shelter and sustenance for marine life and also helps purify water. So they chose the color “Living Coral”.

This is not the first time that Pantone has dove into these waters. The Color of the Year for 2017 was “Greenery.” It represented a similar notion of environmental preservation and “going green.”

How this impacts the magazine industry:

Retail is the largest industry influences by the Pantone colors. Retail also makes up a significant amount of advertisements in the magazine industry. By proxy, that means a lot of Pantone colors in magazines. With Living Coral, that also means the message and general idea of environmental preservation will also pervade magazines.

Luckily, environmental preservation is huge in the magazine industry. From FSC paper to Print Releaf, there are numerous ways publishers can make their titles “green.” However, those efforts rarely have anything to do with editorial content or the ads within.

Having the ability to connect a publisher’s efforts with something as well known as a Pantone color provides branding opportunities. Leverage social media, editorial content, and other avenues of content distribution to piggyback on the topic and reap benefits that are normally much harder to achieve.

Details on “Living Coral:”

The Pantone Color Institute chooses a new color every year and has done so for over two decades. That color has become the color most likely to impact “product development and purchasing decisions” for the upcoming year. The 2019 Color of the Year is “Living Coral.”

Living Coral won, according to Pantone, because it “appears in our natural surroundings and at the same time, displays a lively presence within social media. Color is an equalizing lens through which we experience our natural and digital realities …”

Further Information

To learn more about the 2019 Pantone Color of the Year, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Facebook Instant Articles Further Improved to Help Publishers

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Facebook has had a lot of ups and downs when it comes to working with publishers. In the past year, everything from “fake news” catching algorithms to video metric misinformation has plagued the media giant. However, there have been some beneficial strides as well, and Instant Articles is the greatest of these.

Instant Articles are a way to directly connect professional editorial content to the Facebook newsfeed. The idea is to simplify the ease of access for readers to high-quality content. Content providers include magazines, newspapers, and other professional content producers. Instant Articles provide another means to monetize Facebook by providing subscription models and advertising capabilities as well.

The idea behind Instant Articles was always to help content producers reach readers where they actually consume content, social media. For that reason, each time Instant Articles are optimized, it is either for the improvement of access to content or to make providing content easier.

The most recent improvements to Instant Articles include cutting down development time for publishers, making it easier to integrate with the subscription/paywall system, and a call-to-action screen to urge readers to follow a publisher on Facebook. Future improvements include the ability to target posts specifically to subscribers, integrate existing website subscriber lists, and to adjust the content distribution algorithm for continued improvement of reach to ideal readerships.

It is important to remember that social media channels exist for the benefit of the end user, the readership. That means Facebook will implement changes to improve the user experience at the expense of helping publishers and other organizations. Therefore, publishers need to be wary and protect their brands. It is best to consult with a social media professional who specializes in working with publishers.

Further Information

To learn more about what Instant Articles are, click hereTo see more information on the recent updates to Facebook Instant Articles, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

Image courtesy of Facebook Instant Articles
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Add the Ad that Counts: Cover Wraps

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The decline of ad revenue is one of the magazine industry’s greatest concerns. It is also one of the reasons that the whole “print is dead” concept came about; if you are not making ad dollars, and subscriptions are harder to come by, how does a magazine make money?

The answer to the question lies in resolving a huge industry assumption. Traditional ad dollars, meaning the sale of ad spaces in a magazine, are lower. They are not gone. Further, internal ads are not the only ads available for a print magazine. Cover wraps, for example, are a great alternative, and also one of the few sources of print advertising revenue that has increased in recent years.

What is a cover wrap?

Cover wraps differ from traditional magazine ads, so not everyone knows what a cover wrap is. Think of it as a 4-page cover, completely composed of ads, that runs over the actual cover. For saddle-stitch magazines, this means a 4-page signature placed on top of the regular cover. For perfect bound magazines, the cover would be the cover and spine, and the “real” cover would be two inserts placed inside of the cover wrap.

In most cases, a single advertiser purchases the whole 4-page wrap, or two advertisers split the wrap. In the case of two buyers, one usually buys the front and cover, the other buys the back cover.

There is also the option for a front-only cover wrap, where an additional sheet, sometimes made from a different paper, is placed on top of the front cover. This is more complicated to produce, but still a viable option.

Why are cover wraps working when other ads are not?

The first thing to address is that print ads are working, just not as well as they used to. Cover wraps happen to be performing well at this time, more so than other print ads. With that said, why are they working when other print ads are not?

  1. Not every print for an issue needs a cover wrap. A publisher can sell a cover to a specific segment of the readership. Publishers can sell multiple cover wraps for the same print issue. If an advertiser wants to target a specific list within a readership, that is a premium opportunity. Sell it as such.
  2. A magazine’s value to the reader is not its ads, but its content. So rather than disrupting the reader, cover wraps immediately affiliate the ad with the content, and give the reader the chance to experience the ad prior to consuming the content. This also affiliates the ad with the brand more than an internal ad, because of the magazine branding and cover page elements, and almost hides the ad in the form of editorial content.
  3. They can be used for self-promotion. By directly affiliating with the content and brand of the magazine, the chance of engagement is much higher. Using cover wraps for subscription renewals, corporate updates, or to promote the release of new titles through existing titles are all functional options.
  4. Cover wraps can be an alternative to an internal ad, or an upsell opportunity. If an advertiser is already buying a cover ad, it is easier to sell a discounted internal ad to them as well. It may not be as large of margins, but selling two ads helps offset that.
  5. An advertiser can run a campaign across multiple publications at once using cover wraps. Advertisers want the most bang for their buck, so being able to generate one main campaign cover wrap, and work with multiple titles would allow them to run the same ad to multiple markets and readerships at the same time.

What are the limitations of cover wraps?

Cover wraps are additional pages being added to a publication. Regardless of how many issues include a cover wrap, there are additional print costs associated with cover wraps. The weight of each print with a cover wrap also increases, thus increasing shipping costs. The ads sold in a cover wraps often offset these costs, but the publisher needs to do research and price the ads appropriately to ensure an ROI.

Branding also comes into play. Even though there is still a real cover underneath the cover wrap, what readers see first is the wrap. A magazine’s brand must be strong enough to ensure the reader knows, even with the ad on the cover, what magazine it is. The wrap is unsuccessful otherwise, and hurt the magazine’s brand in general.

Lastly, cover wraps, when used for targeted segments of a readership, reach only general groups. Digital advertising gives advertisers the means to define incredibly specific audiences, like “farm owners in Indiana with a preference for comic books.” In comparison to those digital audiences, print audiences target generic groups. That applies to the struggles of print versus digital advertising in general though, not just cover wraps.

Further Information

To learn more about cover wraps, click hereTo see more information on functions and examples of cover wraps, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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ColoradoBiz names PPC 26th Top Private Business in Colorado

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PPC named 26th in ColoradoBiz top 250 private companies

PPC named 26th in ColoradoBiz top 250 private companies

ColoradoBiz has been Colorado’s premier business magazine for over 33 years, featuring new and information relevant to the entire state’s business community. Their goal is to highlight people, products, and companies that impact today’s and tomorrow’s economy for Colorado. As a part of this, they publish an annual list of the top 250 private businesses in the state. They just released their 2018 list earlier in November.

 

This year, Publication Printers Corp. ranked 26th on the list, a fantastic feat representing our influence on our local community. It also greatly represents our growth as a company. Last year (2017), we ranked 35th. The approximately 22% growth rate between then and now led to that 9-spot leap. Publication Printers is also the highest ranked printer in the state of Colorado, based on the list.

Further Information

To learn more about ColoradoBiz, click hereTo see the full list of the ColoradoBiz top 250 private businesses in Colorado, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Freight’s Impact on Delivery

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The United States relies heavily on trucking and freight to deliver any number of goods across the country, including magazines and other print publications. For this reason, the current shortage of drivers – exceeding 50,000 – is heavily impacting the delivery timelines and costs of publishers nationwide.

According to the American Trucking Association, truck companies are working to increase driver pay to make the job more appealing, but increasing pay will likely result in further increases in shipping costs.

Can Electric Cars Save the Freight Industry?

Electric car companies like Tesla see an opportunity and are developing driverless trucks. This would resolve two longstanding issues with trucking: costs and timelines.

First, without the need for drivers, the costs of trucking would decrease substantially, as around 43% of trucking operational costs is driver compensation, according to the American Transportation Research Institute.

Second, no drivers means no time limitations on driving. Trucking would no longer be bound by 8 hour driving days, so delivery times could be hastened significantly. All this said, driverless trucks are years away from implementation, and the shortage of drivers is only set to increase.

Ways to Help Offset Costs

Due to this, publishers are looking for ways to cut costs. The best way to do this: talk to the printer of your publication. Altering page counts, paper, and adjusting print schedules can be options to save money. Each printer has specific preferences, so talk to them about what fits them best.

Further Information

To learn more about the current lack of truck drivers, click here. For more information on the impact of freight on the magazine industry, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Why Online Editions Matter!

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Online editions are not just a virtual version of your print publication. They are a major opportunity for advertising dollars and subscription profits, and they also provide your audience with the access they expect. Print is and should be the focus for niche publishers, but not making use of online editions is the same as leaving blank ad spaces in the print; it is losing money you should make.

Sidenote about online editions and publishing content online

Before going into more, there is a huge point that needs to be made clear. Online editions and posting your content as unique articles on a website are not mutually exclusive. In fact, doing both is highly recommended. This is because online editions are their own entity, in the same way the printed publication is a standalone entity. All the contents, the advertising, and everything related to monetizing it is inside the online edition. When you take individual content out of the print or online edition and publish it on a website, that too becomes its own entity, which can have completely different advertisements and audiences. The more forms of distribution you have of the same information, the more audiences you can develop and the more ad spaces you have to leverage.

Now to online editions!

It is like having two publications instead of one

Your print publication has a specific circulation and distribution. You print it, organize it by who it goes to or where it needs to go, it gets shipped, and then it arrives. At that point, people read it and enjoy it and you have done your job. The online edition offers the same. The only difference is that the “who” the circulation goes to and the “distribution” to that circulation are different.

The who for an online edition can have the same demographic and geographic audience as the print, but the difference is where they are looking for content. Print readers want print. Some may also enjoy the digital option, but most seek the print for a reason; they prefer it. That means that, if you are only doing a print publication, you are missing half of your ideal audience. Having an online edition, even if it is 100% identical to the print, will immediately increase your circulation and help you reach even more of your ideal audience.

Also, online editions do not have to be carbon -copies of their printed counterparts. Sure, they will likely share a lot of editorials. They will likely share a cover. Even the non-editorial content, like an editor’s note or house ad, will likely be the same. However, you can run different covers (which you can charge for), different internal ads, and even unique content specific to either the online edition or the print. Essentially, if you want, you can have two publications, each distributed on a different medium, that share enough to make it easy on the publisher, but differ enough that you can sell them as unique from one another.

Start selling subscriptions without changing the “free print” concept

At the end of the day, publishers are publishing for two reasons: to inform the audience, and to make money. The content takes care of the informing part, so that just leaves the making money part. Advertisements are the most functional and lucrative option, but subscriptions are equally as viable. Now that does not mean they will replace ads as the means to keep a publication afloat, but it does mean they can pad the bottom line. The problem is that with the internet and the demand for content by all audiences, many publishers decided to rely on ads alone, and give away the publication for free.

Problem is not entirely the right word. There is nothing wrong with a publication that does not charge a circulation. However, it does mean not making money when you could be. Also, once you give it away for free, it becomes very difficult to shift to charging for it down the road … at least on the same medium. As stated earlier, print and online editions of a publication are separate entities. One is a physical commodity with content “X.” The other is a virtual commodity with content “Y.” If you make them differ just enough, or you provide uniqueness in the form of medium-specific content or covers or ads, they can be “sold” as different publications.

If the print is free to receive, keep it that way. For the luxury of accessing the content through an online edition, charge a subscription or membership registration fee. Or create an online edition application for mobile use and charge for it. Either option allows you to monetize the publication without jeopardizing a current situation where a publication is free.

Creating an online edition is incredibly easy

Two of the biggest concerns for a publisher are time and money. With all the time and money focused on the print, how can you dedicate more towards an online edition? The first reason to do so is profits. You spend money to make money, and investing in an online edition can bring in profits. You just need to make sure you approach it correctly. That is where time is a factor. Even with a majority, if not all of the online edition, being shared with the print publication, it takes time to upload and edit and moderate and all the other factors.

So take it out-of-house. There are any number of softwares that make creating an online edition easy. Most offer a hands-on package where you provide the final file, and they handle the rest. In fact, almost all commercial magazine printers have partnerships with an online editing software. This means you can get your print and online editions from the same people, and often get a discount on one by also doing the other. Publication Printers Corp. has an entire team that handles digital editions and handles the labor for you.

If you don’t have online editions yet, ask yourself these questions. Why am I passing up the opportunity for easy profits? Do I want to reach my entire niche audience, not just the print-readers? Who do I already work with that can do it for me?

Further Information

To learn more about getting value out of your online editions, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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Combatting The Top Assumption about Digital

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Digital is one of the biggest topics for publishers and has been for the better part of two decades. It makes sense, with the advent of the internet, the smartphone, and mobile devices all moving a majority of content consumption away from print and towards digital platforms. That said, the idea that print will “die” anytime soon is out of place. Digital is valuable to publishers, absolutely, but a lot of assumptions have been made as to what that value is.

Assumptions: Digital will be the end of print

First and foremost, there is an impression that digital is a “silver bullet” that can slay the print publication industry, and that digital and online titles are the only ones that will survive. If this were the case, there would be fewer print titles today than there were 25 years ago. The opposite is actually the case. Niche publications are storming the market, providing more printed content than ever.

Now there is definitely a lot of digital influence with these new titles, like websites and social media, but the money and effort are still in the print. Digital did not break the print publication industry; it actually helped it evolve towards more topic-focused and localized titles.

Assumptions: Digital means giving away content for free

Second on the assumptions list is that digital for publishers means “giving away your content for free.” For some reason, publishers have come to the conclusion that digital is the enemy of print because it involves putting all of the print content onto websites and social media in a manner that provides no return. Digital platforms provide all sorts of return if they used well. Publishers that do nothing but repost their stories online miss all the actual opportunity digital provides.

There are ad spaces to sell, new formats of content available to leverage, and entirely new audiences to discover. Digital does involve distributing your content, but there is nothing about digital that says you have to give it away with no return or not making money from it. In fact, if a publisher is “giving it away for free,” they are missing out on almost all of what digital is capable of providing.

Assumptions: Younger generations prefer digital to print

Lastly, there are assumptions that newer generations, due to the influence of digital, are reading less editorial content. This is because micro-content (like a Facebook post or Tweet) are a huge part of the digital platform culture. However, this assumption is incorrect.

Research shows that millennials are actually print’s largest and fastest-growing market. This is due to the fact that they are highly exposed to digital, and print provides them with a tactile component that is greatly missing from their normal lives. Also, print ads are native and a natural part of a print publication. This greatly differs from digital ads, which are disruptive. This backs up the fact that print that targets this generation also sees higher engagement with print advertisement.

To top this all off, while millennials are using print, baby boomers are really pushing into digital. Facebook’s largest age demographic is the 55+ group. Also, with age, ease of access is key, and digital solutions are far more versatile for people with poor vision, lack of motor skills, and other factors that come into consideration with age. Essentially, the market is moving towards print for the young and digital for the mature, further defending that print is not going anywhere.

Further Information

To see Printing Impressions‘ 10 things we got wrong about publishing in the digital age, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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AI for Publishers: Getting More by Doing Less

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Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has a novel sense of fear around it. Science fiction for decades has created this idea that AI leads to robots taking over the world, but the reality of AI is quite different. Rather than sentient machines, AI is actually a programmatic tool. You tell it what to do and set the parameters, and it does the work for you.

For most magazine publishers, this can be an incredibly useful tool to leverage and provide in-house improvements. Small staffs and limited time strap a lot of publications from thriving. Artificial intelligence has the means to take a lot of the remedial work out of the equation. It can be used to measure search engine optimization (SEO) and improve search rankings. It also can generate feeds of relevant articles or quotations from the internet to fact check and leverage for editorial. Further, AI allows a publisher to distribute digital content on the right channels at the audiences’ preferred times.

Artificial intelligence also provides publishers with another valuable result: improved engagement and ROI. A recent study by Blueshift, entitled “ROI of AI Marketing: 4 Levers for Cross-Channel Success,” showed that AI-driven marketing was leading to higher engagement rates and ROI. Some specific metrics from the study include:

  • Algorithms improvements from Artificial intelligence average a 28% lift in subscription upgrades and form fills.
  • Artificial intelligence content recommendations average a 200%+ lift for email engagement.
  • Artificial intelligence time optimizations average a 400%+ lift for mobile push engagement.

This study is one of many supporting the capabilities of artificial intelligence, not just for publishers, but across any number of industries. In fact, AI has become an entire industry in itself, focused on improving processes for online and offline work. As stated earlier, AI is something to be used to increase output, effectiveness, engagement, and return, not to be feared.

Further Information

To see the results of a recent AI study on marketing and engagement, click hereTo learn more about how AI is reshaping the pressrooms for digital publications, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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USPS proposes new prices for 2019

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The United States Postal Service (USPS) recently submitted new prices to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed price changes, should they be approved, would take effect on January 27, 2019. The proposed price changes will raise Mailing Services product prices by approximately 2.5%. There would also be changes to Shipping Services pricing, though this would vary by product.

Cause for the changes can be greatly attributed to the current market conditions. The Governors of the Postal Service feel that these new rates will help keep USPS competitive, while also providing needed revenue for the postal service.

One of the largest impacts to the American public, which includes publishers, would be a change in stamp prices. A 5-cent increase to First-Class Mail Forever stamp has been proposed, from 50 cents to 55 cents, but the “additional ounce” pricing would be reduced to 15 cents. This means stamped letters over 2 ounces will have a higher stamp cost but have reduced shipping rates.

Further Information

For more information on the proposed USPS postal prices for 2019, click here. To see the slides from the price change proposal webinar from USPS, click here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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9 Types of “Digital” Publishers Can Monetize

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Print is not going anywhere! Publishers have had advertisements in their titles long enough to prove that ad profits mostly come from print. In today’s market, where ads are how publishers make their margins, print needs to be the focus. That said, making additional revenue by incorporating digital is key in today’s blended media market.

Digital content is versatile. First, digital allows publishers to create more editorial and imagery. Second, publishers can use digital to help drive subscriptions and distribution. Lastly, publishers can incorporate new types of content. However, most publishers are still skeptical about digital because their focus is print. Publishers feel they have to sacrifice time, energy, and money from print to make digital feasible.

So how can publishers feel more comfortable dedicating time, energy, and money into a digital strategy? The best way is to look at how other publishers are monetizing digital successfully. Each publisher may be unique, but trends and concepts cross over the entire market, and there are plenty of publishers marrying print and digital well. These 9 types of digital are tried and true examples of this.

A. Website Related “Digital”

1. Digital Editions

Digital editions provide instantaneous access to the printed content through mobile and electronic devices. For that ease of access, publishers can easily apply a premium or upsell existing subscriptions. Also, the final print file and the file for a digital edition can be identical. Publishers upload their file, add additional links, pages, or other added media, and a digital edition is ready in as fast as 5 minutes.

Great example: 805 Living

2. Paywalls and Web Gates

Not every publication uses a paid content or subscription model for their print titles. That does not mean the digital content has to follow that same model. Websites provide ease of access and the opportunity to include additional content. That ease and extra content extend beyond the traditional offerings of a print publication, so charging for that luxury is normal. A publisher could use digital subscriptions or micro-transactions to monetize accessing exactly what the reader wants.

Great example: Albuquerque the Magazine

3. Applications

Applications combine the best of a website and digital edition, and are customized for a mobile device. It offers the ideal delivery of all content by a publisher to their audience. Apps deliver all formats of content, ads, and notifications in a controlled and branded environment. Apps also deliver in a free, freemium (it is free for some features but paid for others), or paid (costs money to download or has a monthly subscription) capacity, based on the publisher’s choice.

Great example: National Geographic

B. Connection-Related “Digital”

4. Social Media

Originally designed for recreational connection online, social media platforms have become the largest hubs of online traffic. They are the place with the largest amount of content consumption in the world. That means publishers should be using social media. Distribution of content is the obvious use, linking to the website and original editorial. The other option is to actually sell ad space on social. Creating posts for advertisers is very similar to selling sponsored content. Another option is selling ads on social media ad networks. These ads are not limited to social media, but can extend across the internet to find the relevant audience. Also, since these ads do not show up as a post, a publisher’s editorial posting is not muddled by ads.

Great example: BUILD Magazine – Big Sky

5. Email

Emails are still highly effective, and email platforms are easy to monetize and make profitable. Emails also are versatile (birthdays, holidays, events, special sales, etc.). If a publisher is doing subscriptions with email part of their required information, it is easy to build an initial mailing list. For monetization, it is easy to sell sponsorships of newsletters, put ads in a sidebar of an email, and use email to distribute offers and calls-to-action.

Great example: 5280 Magazine

C. Content-Related “Digital”

6. Video Content

As an alternative content format, video is one of the more-easily monetized forms of digital. Videos can supplement a print or web story. They can provide exclusive, additional content (upsold if done well). They can be used for education in the form of “how-to” videos. Also, they can be used as ads or promotional content. Publishers can even curate 3rd-party video related to their audience or stories, skipping the cost of making video content altogether.

Great example: Thrasher Magazine

7. Podcasts

Like video, podcasts are another type of content to leverage. On a podcast, everything is pre-recorded, giving publishers full editorial control. Podcasts are also streamable online or downloadable for offline consumption. They are affordable to produce, averaging $200 an episode. They are also easy to upsell to advertisers for two reasons. First, audio ads, like radio, get a lot of attention. Second, publishers can sell to an advertiser the option of being the podcast story; the publisher interviews the advertiser and lets them promote themselves.

Great example: Discover Magazine

8. Sponsored Content

Thought leaders, influencers, and other content generators are everywhere and seeking opportunities to be published. Externally-produced content can be tailored to any audience upon request. Also, publishers can sell sponsored content spaces for “advertorial” purposes. The sponsor would pay to have their promotional copy included amongst the editorial content. Publishers publish it for a profit.

Great example: GPS World and North Coast Media

9. Augmented Reality

Whoever said print itself does not have the power to be digital is wrong. Augmented reality provides the ability to turn any print publication into a multimedia powerhouse by overlaying other content formats (video, podcasts, imagery, etc.) over the print. It is invisible to the eye, but with a mobile device, all that additional content comes to life. The easiest way to monetize it is to sell it to an advertiser. Now the print ad can link to a website, direct straight to online products, or have virtual tours and examples. Publishers can also use it to provide additional content that could not fit in the print.

Great example: USA Today

Further Information

For more information on how publishers can monetize digital, click here and here.

If you want more great content from Publication Printers, click here.

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