Are you paying attention to the three “Ds” with your online magazine?
If you’re like most marketers you are probably focused on first two: Development and Discoverability. This, of course, makes sense. Without development—actually creating the magazine—there is no product. Similarly, without discoverability—i.e., building awareness for it—there is no audience.
Each of these undertakings is important and difficult (especially discoverability, which we covered in this earlier post). However, they take up so much bandwidth that marketers often fail to grapple with the third key element of success: Delivery.
In the heyday of physical magazines, the importance of delivery was rarely overlooked. After all, it was clearly challenging (and expensive) to quickly get the latest print magazine or catalog to newsstands or post it via mail, so there was plenty of attention paid to infrastructure and efficiency.
These days, however, digital platforms have made the issue seem less important. After all, if a magazine is now just pixels on a screen, isn’t it easy to deliver?
That, unfortunately, is not the case. In fact, in many ways, digital delivery of online magazines has somehow become almost as challenging as physical delivery.
In particular, getting people to consume your online magazine when it is delivered via Apple’s Newsstand (or offerings from competitors like Google) is deeply difficult, especially when it comes to mobile users.
This is true for all marketers, both large and small. Let’s take, for example, the difficulties luxury watchmaker Tag Heuer has with digitally delivering it’s WATCH Journal offering.
Difficulty #1: Downloads
Perhaps the single most frustrating thing about the currently delivery process via Newsstand is that online magazines must be downloaded (“Installed”) to the device. On a fast connection this hopefully isn’t a big deal (unless the magazine comes in at 400Mb), but on a slow one it can be a major barrier to reading.
Of course, this problem isn’t confined to the Newsstand. Even online magazines that bypass the store and deliver directly via PDFs still force users to experience longish downloads.
Difficulty #2: Re-Discovery
Once the consumer downloads the magazine they still can’t just start reading. One of the profoundly strange things about the digital Newsstand experience is that it segregates online magazines to their own little world.
This means that even after someone has taken the steps necessary to find a magazine in the iTunes store and download it they must still take additional actions to access it (i.e., they must navigate from the home screen to the Newsstand, and from the Newsstand to their title).
Difficulty #3: Platform-Sharing
Now the consumer can finally read their online magazine, right? Well, sort of. They can read the magazine on the device they downloaded it to, but if they switch devices they must go through the entire process again.
Clearly, these difficulties combine to make it extremely frustrating for consumers to access online magazines. For publishers with long-time subscribers the issues may merely be nuisances, but for content marketers looking to reach first-time readers, they are often insurmountable.
However, things don’t have to be this way. There’s an easy solution to all these delivery problems: Make online magazines truly “online.” Put another way, instead of relying on apps (Newsstand) and files (PDFs), simply have your magazine live on a URL.
Instantly, the major delivery pain points will disappear. Marketing pushes can link directly to the content (rather than to the Newsstand), consumers don’t have to wait for long downloads, and multi-platform accessibility becomes much easier.
Basically, by taking one simple step (putting your online magazine on an easily-accessible URL), you can make delivery a non-issue, freeing up time to focus on the truly important things: Developing excellent content and growing your audience.
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Retweet this: One of the profoundly strange things about the digital Newsstand experience is that it segregates online magazines to their own little world.