How to Improve Engagement with Your Digital Magazine Editions

Magazines and digital magazines are a luxury for most people who are used to digesting content for free — so when you attract them, remember to engage, engage, engage.

The one advantage content in magazines and digital magazines have over the majority of information on the internet is legitimacy due to credentials and facts. Let us not forget that nobody trusts what they read on the internet, especially not in the current blight of “fake news,” but they do more often trust established publications like magazines.

For example, recently someone shared with me an Instagram “Story”. If you’re not familiar, Instagram stories are basically the main feature of Snapchat, built into Instagram. You can record live video on the go and share it with all your followers, and after 24 hours it disappears.


The “Story” that was shared with me was from a young lifestyle blogger Lauren Kay Sims, who has a whopping 124,000 Instagram followers. She starts her Story by saying that normally she’s “never really been a magazine person” and that she’s “just never gotten into them.” She notes some big ones like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar and says she thinks they’re pretty, but they’re just not her thing.

But recently she subscribed to Women’s Health and she wanted to share.

Why did she subscribe? After having followed them on Pinterest and liking what they were pinning, she went for their $12/year subscription offer. She says, gushing to the camera, “I’m obsessed with it now. Completely hooked. I’ve read every magazine so far, cover to cover. I’ve taken pictures of their workouts and done them at the gym.” 

Another reason she notes is that she’s learned more about healthy foods like chia seeds, and when she’s at the grocery store now she’ll opt for the full-fat Greek yogurt after learning it has good fats in it. Despite an abundance of blogs shouting about chia and healthy fats, it took an issue of Women’s Health to qualify that information for this young blogger. 

And how is this information sinking in deeper than what could be found online for free? She says, “[The articles are] written by nutritionists, or registered dieticians or doctors or personal trainers, so it’s been super interesting.”

I think it’s worth taking a moment to let all of that sink in. Because we spend a lot of time as publishers competing with lifestyle bloggers like Sims for search visibility and are pumping out content on our free Portals to accomplish that goal. 

At the end of the day, Women’s Health was a brand Sims trusted, but it was the content, relevant to her interests and qualified by experts that, has her, as she puts it, “obsessed.”

How could a magazine like Women’s Health turn new print subscribers like Sims into a digital subscriber?

The biggest profits in magazine marketing are in digital sales because digital editions often cost less to distribute and produce, especially because much of it can be recycled and made profitable in a digital archive later on. While most users will opt for a print edition bundle because they like to collect beautiful magazines that they can hold and display, you’ll gain a lot by getting them more engaged with your digital edition in case the day comes when print isn’t profitable enough platform to print on anymore and your brand goes digital.

To do this, find ways to tie in print pages to the digital edition. For example, Sims notes that she’s been taking photos of workouts and doing them at the gym. A bit archaic if you ask me. If you create videos for your workouts and include them in the digital edition, make note of it and point them from the print page, to the same page in the app. Tell them to watch and save the workshop in the digital app, or web magazine. 

Additionally, when you promote a new issue to your subscriber list, perhaps don’t segment print and digital subscribers. Show print subscribers all the features they’d be getting if they were subscribed digitally. While people will always love print, and displaying print issues on their coffee tables, there are some niches that really lend better to digital, like fitness, recipes, crafts, gardening, and others that can benefit from video and engagement.

And for those that are both print and digital subscribers, if you keep giving them reasons to visit the magazine app, they may naturally go to it first in the future, especially if they get access before print hits their mailbox, as it often does. 

Are you a legacy print magazine looking for help developing a digital magazine strategy for your brand? Let us guide you. Schedule a time with us to chat about your long-term subscription goals.


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