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How to Curate Library Content to Engage and Retain Web Magazine Readers

When walking in to a massive library or bookstore, it’s hard to decide what to look at without becoming instantly overwhelmed by all the possibilities. The same goes for an online web library for your magazine or newsletter, and if you aren’t effectively capturing subscribers’ attention regularly, renewal rates can slip. Reminding them of what they have access to on a regular basis can increase engagement, especially if you curate the content for them.

One of the ways our clients are effectively engaging their web library subscribers, as well as attracting new subscribers, is by creating “special collections” of curated content.

One such client is the Biblical Archaeology Society (BAS). They publish the BAS Library, which includes over 7,000 articles from 42 years of Biblical Archaeology Review (1975 to present), 20 years of Bible Review (1985 to 2005 complete) and 8 years of Archaeology Odyssey (1998 to 2006 complete).

Within the BAS Library are their special collections where they showcase an archive of articles around their best premium content. In addition to engaging existing subscribers, these pages can be used as marketing tools with preview copy doubling as email promotions.

For example, they have a special collection called “Women in the Bible.” The introduction to this collection reads:

Although the Bible is largely a product of the male-dominated societies of ancient Israel and the first-century C.E. Roman world, some of its most fascinating, evocative and inspiring characters are women. BAS editors have compiled a special collection of articles from Bible Review on various women in the Bible from Esther and Judith to Mary Magdalene, all of whom helped shape Biblical history and the message of the scriptures.

The BAS has over forty special collections currently, and that list is growing. It has collections specifically for Easter, for specific historical events, and for special authors like Victor Hurowitz, a now-deceased professor in the department of Bible, archaeology and ancient Near Eastern studies at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel. In commemoration of his illustrious career, the BAS put together a collection of his most popular articles.

Other benefits of creating these special collections include the following:

  • An added benefit you can add to your sales page that details the number of curated collections you have
  • Improved usability for subscribers who are interested in specific topics
  • Increased engagement from existing subscribers who may feel overwhelmed by the volume of content to which they have access
  • Converting special collection pages into email promotions for potential and existing subscribers

Subscription marketers must relearn and rethink how they promote content in the age of the Internet. Instead of promoting the next 12 issues, you can promote back issues, special collections, and categories of content that can span decades. This provides many, many options for launching a diverse marketing program. Such a marketing program empowers a content-marketing frequency that would be unthinkable if you were only promoting the next 12 issues.

For the web libraries we manage, promoting past content often produces results that are double or triple the new order volume we see when promoting current or future issues. Once you recognize this reality, the foundation is quite simple given the depth of evergreen content that most special interest magazines and newsletters can access in their archives.

If you’d like to explore how we could double or triple your online magazine, newsletter, and membership sales, please schedule a free consultation with a member of our executive team.

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