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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Podcasts & Publications: Take Your Content to a New Level

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The word “publisher” has evolved drastically in the past 25 years. Once a term reserved for printed works, the advent of the internet has now taken publishers into entirely new media. One particular medium that has garnered extreme success for publishers is the podcast. A hybrid between radio and blogging, podcasts focus on educational or entertaining content, often featuring guests to provide validity and expertise.

In terms of success, iTunes alone recorded it 50 millionth podcast stream earlier this year. Podcasts average an 80% complete listen rate (80% of people that start a podcast finish or almost finish it), according to the 2018 Infinite Dial report. Also, the Interactive Advertising Bureau stated that in 2017, the U.S. podcasting industry reached $314 million in revenue, an 86% increase over the $ 169 million in 2016.

Now, what does this have to do with print publications, like magazines?

Use podcasts to make the most of your existing content

Magazines and timely print publications crank out more content than any other publishers. This means on top of the constant flow of new stories, there are ever-growing archives.

Archives are full of great content that should be leveraged, but taking dated content and make it relevant again is not a simple task.
Many opt for the “throw it up on social media” plan or add a boilerplate to every new story that links to the archives. These do make your archives easier to discover, but they don’t make your archives more relevant.

A more successful solution is to switch up the format of the content. This is where podcasts can come in. Look through your archives for stories that follow a theme, and curate a podcast series of your old stories. With a few minor adjustments and improvements to the content, it is easy to turn an existing editorial piece into a podcast story. Reaching out to the original sources for quotes or soundbites is great too.

These podcasts are entirely new content and will reach your existing audience and new audiences. They can also increase site traffic in two ways: publishing the podcast on the front page, and publish each podcast stories on the web pages of the original story.

Generate new content that print can’t cover with podcasts

Two of the most powerful forms of communication are the written word and imagery, but there is some content better suited for other types of media. Video and radio are long-standing options to cover the other content, but podcasts have become just as viable an option, possibly an even better one due to one thing: money.

To do video and radio right, a high-end studio and off-site equipment can be tens of thousands of dollars upfront. Even if doing the bare basics, both involve decent spend to produce, and then there are distribution costs on top of that.

Podcasts serve as a much more affordable solution. For a publisher looking to do it on a budget, a podcast can be produced for a few hundred up front and less than $100 a month (outside of time spent). To do the high-end podcast, $1000 upfront and a little over $300 a month after that.

Best of all, podcasts are extremely versatile content. They can live on a website, be on a radio, be used in video, and be downloadable or streamable. Also, audio is the easiest format content to consume, as it requires little to no effort, and can reach people on the go, like drivers.
Building a brand and audience takes an immense amount of effort. Publishers know that best, as they dedicate a lot of time and money building a sizable circulation.

Podcasts provide an instantaneous audience and distribution

Fear of having to start building an audience from scratch often keeps publishers from delving into other media platforms. It’s logical; if the existing print or online audience is not there, it is hard to justify the effort of making unique content to dedicating energy deliver it on those other platforms.

Podcasts escape both the issue of building a new audience and delivering the content. Actually, both issues are resolved by the same solution: where podcasts live. Almost all podcasts are hosted and delivered on high-profile applications, like iTunes, Stitcher, and Google’s podcast app.

A massive pool of people utilize these applications, and that pool covers almost every demographic and geographic group. The likelihood that a publisher’s audience already has a presence in that pool is very high. Not to mention, these people are already seeking content via podcast, and all congregated in one place.

Newer, more creative advertising options thanks to podcasts

Almost every publication makes its margins off advertisement, so more advertising options is a fast way to a publisher’s heart.

On top of the traditional commercial spots, podcasts provide prime placement for sponsored content. Interview an advertiser as a podcast story. Review a product. You can even run a print story with it to upsell the opportunity. Best of all, because it is recorded, you have full control of the script, even in an interview. You also have the ability to sell sponsorship for the podcast, offsetting the costs of the podcast and generates even more profits.

Further Information

For more information regarding podcast opportunities for publishers, click here. To learn more about podcast industry statistics, click here. Further details on why podcasts should fit into your content strategy are available if you click here.

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

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