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The Question: What Makes A Good Digital Magazine? WoodWing's answer...

InPublishing sets the question – suppliers provide the answer. John Cunningham, WoodWing’s Country Manager for UK and Ireland, writes:

By John Cunningham

 As for print, the principle "attract the reader" also applies to digital publications. Having a successful print title, it may be tempting to migrate that onto tablets, phablets and smartphones as a simple PDF replica – many publishers go that way and some are successful.

Of course, PDF is the option of choice when it comes to repurposing and further monetising back issues of a publication on tablets – but it is not the way to fully exploit the journalistic and commercial opportunities of tablet and mobile devices.

Digital publications should give readers more of what they love about that publication in print. A digital publication is like a combination of print, TV and online – publishers must understand these dynamics and find the right mix in their story telling techniques for digital publications.

A balanced reader-friendly structure, perfect navigation and optimum degree of interaction – this is the DNA of a good digital publication. Publishers need to think about the added value their digital publication should deliver above the print offer. With more photos and interactive graphics, the articles can be more informative and attractive; videos can add an additional journalistic dimension. Options to share and comment via social media allow publishers to establish a community which promotes their media brand, helping them to learn more about their audience.

But an even more important mission is to develop a thoughtful digital strategy. Publishers should avoid the mistakes that were made in the online sector. It’s not about a mere presence on digital devices – to put it a little boldly: the only good digital publication is an economically successful digital publication.

There are many factors that help to make a digital publication an economic success – knowing the audience and their consumption behaviour is the most important. As an example, mobile consumption maybe short and more frequent but tablet consumption is longer per session and it's in the evening and on weekends. This will drive the content – and the ads – more effectively to the audience.

In addition, the content-and-commerce model can help to exploit new revenue sources. Why not offer the DVD and the soundtrack along with any movie review? Why not sell vacation trips for the destinations introduced in the travel section? Many brands convert into publishers, why should publishers not convert into brands, selling a lifestyle?

We often see that publishers are hesitant when it comes to the creation of a true digital strategy. Sure, it's an effort to develop an ambitious digital publication – just think of the various screen sizes and their specific requirements as well as the exploding number of media files such as photos, illustrations, video and audio. The good news is that there are suppliers out there, ready to help with solutions and services for both multi-channel publishing and digital asset management!

About WoodWing: WoodWing Software, a thought leader in the field of software solutions for publishing and communications, develops and markets a premier, cost-efficient multi-channel publishing system, Enterprise, and the next-generation digital asset management system, Elvis DAM. WoodWing’s solutions enable magazine and newspaper publishers, corporate publishers, agencies and marketing departments to reach their goals for quality, economy and time-to-market.

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The Question: What Makes A Good Digital Magazine? was also answered by:

Mark McCormick of Mirabel Technologies

John Rahim of Rhapsody Media

Nicholas Kleanthous of YUDU