Creating Multiplatform Products: What to Sell, What to Give Away

When creating multiplatform products, there’s plenty to recycle for content marketing, but you have to draw a line somewhere.

Online content marketing is antithetical to anything we knew prior to 20 years ago — something Seth Godin terms interruption marketing. Everything I learned in college and during my early career, whether space ads, TV commercials or direct response, employed hardcore, confrontational marketing messages.

These ads were always pushed on the user, with little or no relationship to the environment in which they appeared. Whether a space ad in a magazine, a TV commercial in a news hour, or a direct mail package in a mailbox, they were not contextual, either in terms of media or audience.


While many organizations have discovered the power of digital content marketing to sell multiplatform products and services, perhaps no organizations are being impacted like the publishers of books, magazines, newsletters and videos.

For publishers, content marketing has a double meaning. Publishers would tell you they’ve always been content marketers or marketers of content. Today, content marketing has taken on the additional meaning of using content to sell products and services of all types. Savvy publishers have been quick to figure out that, as producers of premium content, they have a ready source of free content to use for content marketing.

For publishers, this brings increased pressure to make sure that our free content is better than most. In our experience, being a producer of premium content is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it provides an amazing source of original content from which we can spin free content. On the other hand, it’s often difficult to decide what to charge for and what to give away for free.

What multiplatform products to give away for free

  • New original content that is evergreen and developed to attract new visitors to your site
  • Excerpts of content from your magazine that is six months or older
  • Email newsletters
  • Content from your magazine that has been recycled into a freebie and requires email submission to access it
  • Access to live webinars that are sponsored
  • Access to live webinars that are used as lead generation for live events

What to sell as premium multiplatform products 

  • Your print magazine
  • Your digital magazine
  • Access to an online archive of past issues
  • New original content from your magazine behind a paywall
  • Print and downloadable eBooks (may include recycled content)
  • Memberships
  • Access to live in-person events
  • Access to live webinars that are not sponsored

You might notice the trend here that for the most part, someone is always paying for content. If you’re publishing free content, it’s because it was paid for at least six months ago and rather than let it go to waste, you recycle it on your Portal subscription website to attract new visitors to the site. Live webinars can be free, as long as they’re sponsored, or you are trying to build up paid event registrations and using it as a teaser to drive sales.

One mistake many publishers make is giving away their premium content too soon, or recycling it right away. This doesn’t give readers any incentive to subscribe and is one of the reasons to blame for many publications failing after the digital revolution where pubs first brought their magazines online.

If you’re struggling with how to sell and recycle your existing archive of magazine content, I’d love to talk with you about your business goals. Please schedule a time with me to chat.


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