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Let’s Clarify: What Is a Digital Magazine?

What is a digital magazine really? Is it clickable, scrollable, web-accessible, or all the above?

What Is a Digital Magazine? What are Digital Magazines?

Magazines are designed to be read from front to back. They have covers and a table of contents. Magazines are arranged in a series of articles. Portals are not meant to be read from front to back, and are in no way linear. Users may begin on an article they found through search and hyperlink their way across the site in a matter of seconds. There is no true table of contents, although there is arrangement in the form of categories, topic pages, and related articles.

So what is a digital magazine? It’s a bit of a hybrid, and it’s not necessarily just an online magazine, although it could be!

Consumers are telling us loud and clear what they want—are you listening? How much would you pay for that information? Download a copy of our 2018 Mequoda Magazine Consumer Study for FREE instead, to find out how you can improve your digital magazine rapport with subscribers.

Digital magazines and their many mobile formats

The Alliance for Audited Media (formerly ABC) defines a digital edition as distribution of a magazine’s content via electronic means. The digital edition must maintain the same identity of the host publication by maintaining the same brand characteristics.
 Mequoda agrees with this definition.

When a magazine goes digital and becomes an app, it becomes alive. And that’s scary for some publishers. Suddenly, ads become more valuable to advertisers because they can be clicked. Content becomes more rich because it can also be hyperlinked to references and authors on the web. Live content can be embedded into a magazine so the editorial content doesn’t stop at the final publish date.

And if you’re not ready for that kind of transition or development project, then your magazine has suddenly become ancient.

Many publishers in this situation, hurrying to keep up, launch digital replica editions. These editions are simple digital mockups that subscribers can read and download onto their mobile devices, in many cases they are PDFs. In our last survey of digital magazine readers, this was the least desired format to read a digital magazine because their most desired feature is scrollable text, whereas most replica editions require readers to pinch and zoom in order to read the text.

The more desired digital magazine formats include a replica plus and reflow plus.

Digital magazine subscription websites

A digital magazine may also come in another shape and size: a web magazine library.

A web magazine library is sold as a subscription for a related print or digital magazine and provides access to issues of the magazine online, often in an HTML format. I Like Crochet is a magazine subscription website, and we have also written about other impressive web magazine libraries we like, which includes TIME, Scientific American, and Harvard Business Review. All require registration for full access to the site; all offer their magazine content online; and are organized by issue.

Many people refer to any website that carries a legacy magazine brand and magazine content as a web magazine library; however, if the content is not organized in a magazine format and issues cannot be viewed or downloaded, it doesn’t meet our basic criteria of being a best-practice web magazine library or subscription website.

As you may read in our description of the perfect digital magazine website, we think every publisher should offer their magazine in print, mobile, web, and library formats.

What is a digital magazine to you?

The combination of a magazine’s attributes make it desirable and “survivable” for some part of the reading population and that, paper or tablet, the essential attributes of a magazine will not change.

Consumers who love magazines are not going to let publishers change the characteristics of a magazine that have made the medium so successful over the years. However, there’s always room for improvement in format and accessibility.

Over the past two decades, we’ve guided more than 300 niche publishers through the process of transforming themselves from legacy print publishers into multiplatform operations that often dominate their industry niche and generate operating margins that surpass those created by their legacy print business. Learn more about how we can help you apply these strategies to your publishing business by scheduling a FREE consultation today.

Meet Us in Plymouth and Learn
How to Double Your Publishing Revenue

Join other senior publishing executives at the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop—where you’ll learn how to plan, execute, and optimize a profitable magazine-driven membership marketing system. And how to double your publishing revenue!

Secure your registration now, while seats are available and Early-Bird Registration is open.

Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

May 20-21, 2020
Mirbeau Inn & Spa
Plymouth, Massachusetts

This two-day membership marketing secrets workshop is intense—it’s not for the faint-of-heart, and it’s only for magazine publishing senior executives who have the vision and resources to grow their businesses.

This event is also for curious publishing executives who want the membership marketing secrets for publishers revealed—so that profits, growth, efficiency, and total transformation will power a magazine business that leads the industry and is the envy of competitors and collaborators alike.

You’re familiar with the growth and prominence of the emerging membership economy—you can see it daily as you interact with Amazon, Netflix, or even your local gym. And luckily, magazine publishers can learn a lot from others who have “paved the way” to condition consumers to buy memberships.

This is no fad, it’s a bona-fide trend that you should know about, understand, and latch on to membership marketing secrets for your own business’ purposes.

You should first know what isn’t a secret—having a metered paywall at your website. Yes, thanks to many news-oriented publishers, metered paywalls have become commonplace and are a powerful way to showcase your premium content and convert website visitors into buyers.

But having a metered paywall is not a secret. Who doesn’t know about metered paywalls or already have one for their content?

And simply having a website where you publish content is not the answer to staying competitive these days … let alone blowing your competition out of the water.

For that, you need to attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop! You’ll not only learn about the membership marketing secrets, but you’ll also discover all the online publishing myths that often distract or derail many publishers from keeping their eyes on the prize—growth and profits!

When you attend the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll be among the publishing industry’s elite—those who are ahead of the trends and will know exactly how to optimize your publishing efforts, based on the latest business intelligence. There will be plenty of time for networking, too, so you can get to know your fellow publishing professionals!

The 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Magazine Publishers

So that you don’t have to wait until our event, here’s a list of 7 membership marketing secrets:

  1. Web Magazine
  2. Web Magazine Library
  3. Curated Special Collections
  4. Leveraging Existing Content Platforms
  5. Content Previews
  6. Email Marketing Frameworks
  7. Landing and Offer Page Frameworks

And of course, much of the “secret” is not just having a list, but fully understanding what’s behind these secrets and learning what to do about them, so that your own publishing system is in alignment with all these secrets.

When you come to the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop, you’ll learn about all of these in detail—and you’ll learn how to plan, execute, measure, and optimize your very own magazine-driven membership marketing system.

I promise you this now, too—when you register and attend our event, you’ll get 3 bonus membership marketing secrets. And while my colleagues prefer me to hold these bonus secrets back until you register, I can tell you they involve growing your audience, growing customer engagement, and growing revenue.

You’re probably wondering how I can make the claim that you’ll double your revenue when you register for our Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop. Well, Mequoda has been around for more than 15 years—and we’ve helped many magazine publishers over that time, including Prime Publishing, Yankee Magazine and Hearst Magazines … and we’ve counted AAA Northeast and the Biblical Archaeology Society as clients (non-profit membership organizations that both have magazines!).

The Agenda for Discovering the 7 Membership Marketing Secrets for Publishers

You’ll leave this event with a clearer vision and plan for transforming your magazine publishing business. Here is the agenda for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

Wednesday, May 20

  • Creating a New, Successful Membership Product
  • 3 Ways to Build Your Audience Marketing Database
  • Offer- & Price-Testing Strategies for Maximizing Revenue
  • How to Organize and Outsource Your Business Processes

Thursday, May 21

  • Building an Integrated Membership Marketing System
  • 4 Key Metrics for Measuring Your Success
  • Modeling and Budgeting Your Five-Year Plan
  • 3 Bonus Membership Marketing Secrets Revealed

For a full description of all the sessions, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

This entire membership marketing secrets event will be led by me, Kim Mateus, as Chief Strategy Officer at Mequoda Systems. In 2004, I started with Mequoda as employee #2, and have since overseen strategic planning for many of Mequoda’s publishing partners. Having guided the development of more than 20 subscription and membership marketing systems, my team and I monitor and maintain a robust best-practices database of marketing techniques and business processes that helps power all Mequoda partner marketing programs. My focus on client content strategies is a natural extension of my journalism education and background.

And here is a high-level summary of the entire Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop:

WHO: Besides senior executives like you from magazine publishing companies, the Mequoda Systems team who will join me at this membership marketing secrets event are veteran publishing professionals themselves—you’ll have plenty of time for networking with your fellow publishing executives and with the Mequoda Systems team:

  • Don Nicholas, Chief Executive Officer
  • Bill Dugan, Chief Copywriter
  • Nancy Horan, Chief Systems Officer
  • Eileen Shea, Content Marketing Director
  • Norann Oleson, Analytics Director

WHEN: May 20-21 (it’s NEVER too early to sign up!)

WHERE: Mirbeau Inn & Spa in Plymouth, Massachusetts

For inn room reservations at preferential rates for our attendees, click here or call 833-MIRBEAU (833-647-2328) for room reservations.

WHY: Because the magazine publishing world is fast-changing and keeping up with trends can be a full-time job—this membership marketing secrets event will help you focus on only the key initiatives that will help drive growth for your business.

For a full description of all the sessions, speakers, and the venue for this event, click here to download your FREE Program Guide.

I’d tell you to “mark your calendar” for this event, but if you only do that you might miss out—we only have a limited number of seats for this exclusive event, so sign up right now.

I hope to see you in historic Plymouth, Massachusetts, in May 2020!

Sincerely,

Kim Mateus
Chief Strategy Officer, Mequoda Systems
Program Leader, Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop

P.S. If you already know that this event is for you, sign up right now while seats are still available (this is a small event—we really only have space for a few dozen people). Register now for the Membership Marketing Secrets: 2020 Workshop!

P.P.S. Prefer not to wait until 2020 to benefit from all these membership marketing secrets? If you have a sizable team at your organization who should hear all about this, email me at kim@mequoda.com and let’s chat about accelerating the process for you and bringing this membership marketing secrets workshop on-site at your company.

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2 thoughts on “Let’s Clarify: What Is a Digital Magazine?

  1. Bentley Nelson says:

    One should not forget that it’s possible to format a PDF magazine specifically for a particular device, just as a printed page is formatted to be read in either a portrait or landscape format depending on the shape of a book. Scrollable text is one answer to the replica problem, but good design should always follow function.

  2. Ed says:

    Thank you Bentley.

    This is yet another area where self-fulfilling prophecies are holding digital magazines back. Publishers have to count a subscription only once and print advertising is still the biggest slice of their revenue so they count the sub there and the digital count languishes, ensuring the print revenues stay larger. Similar to how many publishers create cheap replica PDFs, find the reader engagement is low, and decide readers don’t like digital replicas so they never invest in what would actually create an engaging experience for readers.

    It doesn’t need to be this way and getting recognition of this vicious circle is one piece of helping the industry move forward.

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