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Creating an Online Magazine Team That Turns Dusty Archives into Dollars

The four key roles you need when creating an online magazine team that’s effective

If you’re a frequent reader of Mequoda Daily, you’ve probably noticed we are big on helping print publications adapt to today’s digital environment. There are quite a few ways to bring your brand online these days, but the future of publishing is creating an online magazine. You might be thinking, “Well, yeah, everyone knows that.”

What you might not know is how we differentiate “online magazines” from other forms of digital publishing. To make a long story short, online magazines are available through a subscription website. They are linear and periodic, have pages, forward and backward navigation, regular frequency, and because it’s built in a fully responsive system, it can be viewed in HTML on any platform from desktop to mobile devices so there are no apps to download.

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Sounds like a way to keep your revenues to yourselves, instead of sharing 30% or more with the digital newsstands, doesn’t it?

Many print publications today have a simple PDF version of their magazines online, or an app that users can download to view content on their tablets. At Mequoda, we refer to these as digital editions of a magazine, offering varying degrees of functionality.

Creating an online magazine (one type of digital magazine) gives publications more advantages. Some of the highlights: a platform to recycle content and a back issue library, more opportunities for native advertising, and interactive features (which users feel a time-worthy experience).

If a print publication truly wants to harness the full potential of digital publishing, online magazines are the creme de la creme. But it takes work–you have to put together a specific team to run it successfully. This team works directly with the print team, not as a neglected side project.

Putting together your online magazine’s A-team

Here we’ve outlined the positions needed to create an online magazine. Some print publishers may scoff at the expense of creating new jobs, but the details of how it will work are different for everyone. The bottom line is if you want to take advantage of digital publishing, it takes a team to get the job done.

Managing Editor: At the very least, an editor is needed to run the online content. He or she creates the editorial, oversees what content is recycled into multiple platforms, and keeps the daily operations running smoothly. He or she also manages the editorial calendar and works directly with the print editorial team. Social media, email newsletters, and maybe even writing/managing native advertising content (more on this later) also falls under their responsibility. Unless you’re Conde Nast and have launched a whole native advertising department.

Assistant Editor: In a perfect world, one or two assistant editors handle transcribing and recycling all those dusty back issues into online content. They compile every issue into an online archive, assist with planning the editorial calendar, and work with freelance writers for new online content. The quantity of back issues you have will dictate the number of assistant editors you will need. They will also need to be SEO savvy so they can optimize recycled content for blog posts.

Web Developer: Of course, creating an online magazine requires a top-notch tech professional to make the online magazine simulate an actual magazine. HTML coding, SEO web structure, creating a paywall, setting up a CMS–these are just the basics. He or she also uploads the print content into digital form and puts ads in the right places.  This is a role that can often be more efficiently outsourced, to a company like Mequoda, particularly for smaller and medium-sized publishers.

Sales Reps: Creating an online magazine means creating new avenues for advertising or sponsorship. Web and email ads (preferably text ads rather than display ads), sponsored downloads and webinars, sponsored directories and job boards, native advertisements–the possibilities go on. You’ll need sales reps specifically tailored to marketing your new ad space while also working with current sponsors for additional packages.

Don’t neglect the future of multi-platform publishing

Too many publishers tend to kick online (and digital) magazines to the curb. Instead of creating new positions responsible for bringing this opportunity to life, they tack on more tasks to their already swamped editorial and sales teams. This leads to minimal efforts at best, and a wealth of new business growth lost in translation. Take the endeavor of adapting to an online audience seriously. Think about it as an investment for the future.

Do you need help building your online magazine team? Give us a call.

Also, let us know how you’ve organized your online magazine publishing efforts in the comments!

Posted in Digital Magazine Publishing

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