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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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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Ideal Ways Publishers Can Monetize Video

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In today’s multimedia world, there is an argument that content should be moving towards digital platforms. This includes, podcasts, blogs, and video. This really is not the case. The reality for most publishers is that the money is in the print. Thus, print is here to stay so long as that is the case. That said, it does not mean digital cannot provide further profits and additional touchpoints.

Video is the ideal example of this. The medium is the antithesis of print, which is why they are a perfect pairing for publishers. Content that print can cover video can, and visa versa. The same content covered in both forms has different feels and reaches audiences in different ways. Most important of all: they are the most versatile forms of content. They can both be distributed in numerous digital formats. Both can also be transformed into other formats, including having the audio stripped for podcasts and radio or text for blurbs and blogs.

Now print is already in a publisher’s wheelhouse, but video is not, especially when it comes to magazines. That means using video, let alone monetizing it, takes a lot of research and energy and trial-and-error. That said, there are some general ways to monetize video that publishers can take from other industries.

Creating subscriber-only videos

Many publications already use a subscription model to help increase revenue. Those that do not still understand the concept. Create unique editorial content, then tell audiences that if they want it, pay for it. Video is simply another form of content, so creating a gateway on a website or using private, subscriber groups on social media to make that content exclusive to subscribers is an easy jump for a publisher to make.

There are two ways to approach subscription-only videos. The first way is to tether the video into your existing subscription setup, meaning the videos would complement the editorial and be a part of your standard offerings to any subscriber. The other way is to make the videos under their own subscription, which is ideal if the publication is free or if the video content is 100% original and distinct from the editorial.

Bring editorial to life with live-stream

Video is not limited to the pre-record, edit, and distribute method. News coverage has done live coverage for decades, but it is now available to the average persona and organization, including publishers. Live-stream allows for instant coverage of a story, which can be great for timely pieces, as well as a round-up session where a publisher talks about the newest issue and top stories and so forth. It can also be used to add uniqueness to editorial and keep it active, even after the piece is publishers. Simply keep hosting new live-streams on that story’s page, and traffic will keep coming.

Publishers can also leverage live-stream on a subscription-boosting basis by putting access to the live coverage behind the subscription paywall. For example, you create this great editorial on an athlete, but you are doing a live interview with them too. The story goes up for free, but to access the interview live, or even the recordings afterward, you have to be a subscriber.

Educate the audience with video

Video courses are one of the most consumed things on the internet, and publishers have the opportunity to take control of that market. Publishers are constantly generating useful content that has an educational or recreational value to audiences. Changing that format slightly, or reformatting after publishing, to provide even more insight and education is easy with video. Better yet, let your advertisers do it. Then you get the benefits of video content related to your editorial, you didn’t have to create it, and you got paid for it.

Digital offers or partially-gated videos that offer educational value also help drive subscriptions. If the video is captivating and useful, and the audience can only access the first 3 minutes without a subscription, you’re likely to get people subscribing.

Further Information

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

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

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