4 Scary-Good Ways Digital Publishing Powers Print

Oct 28, 2015

For years there has been a raging debate between staying with print or opting for more of a digital-only publishing platform. Digital does have staying power, but while we’ve seen e-readers, apps, and other devices come and go, print still stands the test of time. In a world that changes so rapidly, you have to wonder why this particular medium is still being utilized. For companies, print is a tangible medium that adds an element of credibility, reinforces organizational branding, and can strengthen your overall communications strategy. The reality of the situation is that everyone reading this has a different audience to cater to, and the only way to capture everyone is to integrate.

There are several reasons people wonder about going all digital and oftentimes the person in the hot seat thinks it’s all one or the other when the truth is: it’s not. Digital publications, print, social media, email and websites… they’re all channels and savvy marketers are using all of them.  Instead of keeping your eyes on the bottom line, think of how you can use one platform to fuel your communications as a whole.

Here are a few reasons to try digital publishing and how it can power your next printed publication:
Improved accessibility

This is a big one. When we talk about making publications more accessible, we’re speaking in terms of both reach and readability. Digital publications have the ability to reach a wider audience. Since they can be shared on social media, through email, and embedded onto websites, organic traffic to those locations can easily be driven to the publication once a visitor lands on the page. Once a reader is in, captivating content will keep them engaged and can lead to subscriptions or requests for printed versions.

In the case of nonprofit publishing, handicap accessibility is a big concern and finding ways to be ADA compliant can be a struggle. Not only do nonprofit publishers want to get their publications into the right hands, they often have a mission driven or grant-mandated responsibility to ensure everyone in their audience is able to experience that magazine or annual report. Some digital publishing platforms, like our own ActionEditions, are 508 compliant and allow publishers to comply with the Americans with Disabilities act. Text can be enlarged, passages can be read aloud, and the platform as a whole can be accessed by various assistive technologies so that publications are perceivable, operable, and understandable for those with impairments.

Supplement print and optimize revenue streams

Once a publication is printed it can’t be changed or modified and deadlines are firm. Oftentimes, publishers are up to the wire trying to finalize a publication so developing stories get cut short. But when you have a digital accompaniment, you can supplement that story or make an update about a past feature or event with ease. ActionEditions features specialty pages that can be utilized to supplement articles or recognize last-minute sponsors (for you nonprofits) without disrupting the existing pagination and to create unique ad space. Two versions of a publication means double the ad space, which also means additional revenue streams. With availability in both print and digital, space can be offered to advertisers tailored to their markets’ specific needs. Most platforms offer some form of analytics reporting, providing valuable insights into your readership. This information is extremely useful when it comes to soliciting advertisements. Publishers can get really creative depending on the platform they’re using. Following the release of the publication, analytics can also be used to measure the return on investment for your advertisers.

Shape future publications

Since we’re already talking about analytics, let’s keep going. Measurement is crucial for any marketing effort, especially if you’re making the case for going digital or keeping print. By creating a digital version of a printed publication, you gain access to powerful, actionable insights that you wouldn’t otherwise get with print only. In addition to measuring the performance of your publication as a whole, some platforms allow you to see how specific pages are performing. Information like how many views per page and how long a reader stays on a particular page (and more) can be used to help content creators optimize future publications. For instance, if content toward the end of your publication outperforms the rest, maybe that should be moved up toward the beginning. These metrics can be valuable when it comes to the design and layout of your digital edition’s printed counterpart. If you can optimize print based on these measurements, you’re able to save money and publish more content that is relevant to your audience.

Enliven with rich media

A lot of publishers that print use the static PDF version of their publication as a “digital edition.” With true digital publishing platforms, the ability to embed rich media means content is dynamic. When printing, the amount of available space is set. When it comes to still images, you can only choose however many the page allows. Some digital platforms have slideshow features, which means you can upload as many images as you’d like. Stories can be brought to life with videos, audio clips, or animations and link readers to your website, donation page, or anywhere else you’d like. Creativity becomes limitless as publishers learn to build spatial experiences for their readers that are personal and relevant.

The Wrap Up

As we’ve said time and again, engaging communications begin with more personalized and relevant content. When it comes to distribution, a multi-channel approach ensures that everyone in your audience is receiving that content in the best way for them. With so many new technologies and means of communicating globally, the need to put all of your eggs in one basket no longer exists. A well-rounded marketing plan means using various channels to support the others and guiding the right traffic back to your home base. Hopefully this article helped ease some fears about stepping into digital publishing. Happy Halloween!

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