Mail’s Ability to Overcome Isolation Situations

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There are unfortunately some situations that require people to be isolated or removed from normal social settings, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In these situations, communication shifts away from interpersonal, and instead relies on content that can be delivered. Print communication is the most successful means to reach people during these times, as discussed in “Why Print Matters in A Crisis,” and that means mail is how that communication is delivered.

Now there are many that would say mail is successful during these times because print is that powerful. However, mail’s ability to overcome isolation situations and other crises is not limited to when it is delivering print publications. Many organizations thrive off print in normal times, such as Amazon. Others incorporate mail services, such as grocery stores, as a means of survival during times when people cannot come to their location. In general, while print is a powerful mailed form of communication, mail is equally as powerful for its own reasons.

Mail provides the personal connection that is lost when people are isolated from each other. In a digital age where so much interaction happens online or in a passive stance, human engagement is already a sought-after communication, and one much appreciated. Mailing something to someone hits that sentiment, and whatever is mailed often provides a sense of joy, curiosity, or excitement. This is why so many publishers have started incorporating the idea of subscription boxes for additional revenue.

Mail also comes at an affordable price, when done correctly. Due to the normalcy of delivered goods, people are accustomed to paying delivery fees and surcharges that allow businesses to mail and still turn a profit. In times of isolation, where mail is the only means of getting physical goods, the margins multiply as quantities go up, and most mailing organizations drop prices for mailing in bulk. This allows publishers to get their content or mailed goods out as they normally would, and maybe even at a discounted rate.

In times of isolation, people also engage more with their mail than usual. Due to less stimulus from other people and social settings, and over-stimulus from digital settings, people tend to spend more time with the content sent via mail. Adding the fact that 90% of financial and purchase decisions are made at home, results in a simple conclusion: during isolation situations, mail has an increased chance to reach decision makers and potentially generate a sale/subscription/action.

When it comes to content delivery, the combination of print and mail is a powerhouse, even when isolation is not in play. When it is though, there is no better way of reaching audiences or consumers, especially if you are a publisher.

Further Information

To learn more about how to incorporate subscription boxes into a publisher’s strategy, click here. For more information about crisis events being ideal for mail, click here. If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Are Your Subscribers Loyal to Your Brand?

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The concept of a “loyal reader” has always been an important metric for magazines and newspapers. However, what actually constitutes a loyal reader, and how many loyal readers are really normal for a publication?

There are several different definitions for a loyal reader, most of which focus around the idea of a reader that comes back for more content, and is presumably consuming content due to the consistent exposure. The issue with these types of definitions is that it relegates a publication’s readership to a statistic; the loyalty of the audience is based solely on web traffic events or purchase consistency.

In more recent years, a particular metric has become easier to track, and it is much more telling of loyalty: engagement. Engagement is still a complicated thing to measure, as it involves tracking a lot of different outlets and types of connection with content, but it is a more accurate measure of a reader’s loyalty.

With this new, more realistic definition of a loyal reader in mind, it brings up an important question for publishers: are your subscribers loyal to your brand? In order to measure that, it is important to understand more about engagement and what it means in regards to subscription.

First, exposure to content does not mean that content is being consumed, so a subscriber is not inherently a loyal reader. However, subscribers do have more exposure to content due to their higher grade of access, and they have opted in. That is why measuring who engages, whether they are a subscriber or not, is important.

Second, habitual engagement, where a reader engages with new content as it is released, shows consistent connection to the publisher, and actually confirms that their frequent exposure results in something. If that reader is a subscriber, then they would qualify as loyal. If they are not yet subscribed, then they are a representation of who that publisher should be targeting.

Tracking engagement is a process that takes time and effort, and sometimes additional support or costs to do properly. With that kind of spend, what does a publisher get in return for being able to measure the percentage of loyal readers amongst their subscriber base?

Content Insights, a professional organization specializing in data collection and analysis, recently aggregated data on readership loyalty based on engagement as part of a study, which was a first in the content analytics industry. Their research covered data from 10 different publications over the course of a month, and the data was quite surprising.

  • Only 3.8% of readers qualified as “loyal” based on the habitual engagement definition.
  • In comparison to “ordinary” readers, “loyal” readers consumed an average of 5x more content.
  • “Loyal” readers averaged 4x the web visits of “ordinary” readers, and in each visit consumed 29% more content in general, and read an average of 14% more text on singular articles.

The Content Insights study also elaborates on this data with some real-world scenarios that show the major impact that loyal readers have in comparison to ordinary readers. For example, the ratio of articles read per visit (loyal: ordinary readers) is approximately 5.5:1 and the ratio of visits per month is 3.5:1.

When you take all of this data into account, loyal readers are shown to consume and engage with up to 19 articles for every 1 article by an ordinary reader.

Take this back to a publisher’s subscriber base. If a publisher can find out what drives higher loyalty from their subscribers, that will translate into knowing what content has better engagement, what topics generate more interest, and what outlets garner the highest amount of engagement. In general, knowing what drives loyalty greatly impacts the ability to drive revenue.

Also, as a last note, literal revenue generation can come from better understanding loyalty. If a publisher can find unsubscribed readers who have the potential to become loyal, based on their engagement, there is a great opportunity to increase subscriptions and also increase the percentage of loyal readers amongst the subscriber base.

Further Information:

To learn more about the study on reader engagement by Content Insights, click here. For more information about Content Insights in general, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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Publishers and Subscription Video-On-Demand

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As the publishing industry continues to evolve, publishers are beginning to investigate and try new forms of content distribution to add to their mix. Currently, one of the most unique options is subscription video-on-demand.

What is Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD):

Cable and satellite are directly delivered program video, requiring the viewer to watch based on the pre-set schedule; if you want to watch 60 Minutes, you have to be on your couch at the right time on the right day. This is what is commonly known as traditional video, and while publishers can leverage it, it is not an ideal medium in most cases.

Youtube is the most common example of video on-demand (VOD), the opposite of traditional video. VOD is a service that provides internet-based video that can be watched anywhere at any time, hence the “cutting the cord” terminology that gets thrown around a lot. Most VOD content is user-generated and would not include content that is normally accessible through cable or satellite.

That is where options like Hulu and Netflix come in. These are subscription video on-demand, or SVOD services. The “anywhere, any time” concept is maintained, and content that would normally be found on cable or satellite is also included. It comes with a small subscription fee, but it is more affordable than traditional video options, and more and more video content producers are starting to include SVOD in their content distribution strategies, if not shifting to this form of distribution only.

How Can Publishers Use SVOD:

Publications are the owners of the subscription market. Sure, not every publication uses a subscription model, but the system was built for and by publications. It is about time it took authority in that realm once again. Subscription video-on-demand is a great place to start!

Video in general is a highly-consumed form of content, which means professional content producers like publishers should be leveraging it. It can provide a unique angle that complements editorial, or can cover content that might be hard to express in editorial. Using video just makes sense for publishers, especially when you consider that with SVOD, your content itself can be monetized.

Second, video does not have to be a massive, terribly expensive undertaking. The attention span for video is much shorter than that for written content, so you only need each video to be a few minutes to generate results. Also, with smart phones that wield incredibly high-tech cameras and numerous, affordable editing softwares, it is easy to shoot and produce quality video content on a budget. Considering that SVOD generates revenue, developing a strategy that balances video content costs can ensure profits from SVOD.

Third, subscription video is easy content to distribute. Publications today already have a social media presence and websites, and both those options have numerous ways to set up subscription-based video content distribution. A publisher can also sell their video content to larger subscription video services, like Amazon Prime, who already have a massive audience and subscription setup, and distribute the content on the publisher’s behalf for a fee.

The SVOD Decisions Publishers Face:

The most important thing for publishers to know is that VIDEO IS NOT FOR EVERYONE! While publishers as a whole benefit from SVOD and video in general, each case is unique; there are audiences who are not a right fit for video content, and visa versa. Publishers should investigate their audience and test before jumping on the video bandwagon.

If video is right for the audience and publication, the next hurdle is picking the content. It is not simply a question of what content the audience prefers, because some topics or content cannot be made into video format easily or in a short-form fashion. The publisher will need to develop a strategy to determine when editorial content can be expanded with video, or when topics can be made into standalone video.

SVOD also brings up the lifetime value issue. Many publications make their money with time-sensitive or time-contextual content. For video, this is a great option, but from a subscription standpoint, the content should be developed to provide value long-term. Of course, if a publisher develops enough video content consistently, this becomes mute, but for the publishers that prefer to do only a few videos a month, long-term value is how you ensure subscribers stick around, and new subscribers buy in.

The biggest challenge for publishers looking to leverage SVOD relates to distribution. SVOD may be easy to deliver, but it does take skill and setup if a publisher wants to rely on their own channels, and not a service like Amazon Prime. The system to accept payments and manage the subscriptions needs to be built or integrated into the existing subscription system. The means to host all of the video content needs to be dealt with. Most importantly, a strategy to drive traffic and sell those subscriptions needs to be made (bundle with print subscription, offer exclusive content to increase the value, etc.).

In general, video and SVOD provide value when executed well and for the right reasons. These decisions all help determine the worth to invest in SVOD, as well as how to ensure it has positive ROI if implemented.

Further Information

To read more on how publishers can leverage subscription video on-demand, click here. For information on how publishers can make use of video in general, click here.

If you would like more great content from Publication Printers and the Publication Printers Marketing Group, click here.

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