Digital Content Publishing News: Regional Magazines, Event Production, Online Advertising

Understanding the new model for digital content publishing via niche and multiplatform principles 

Digital content publishing is greater than the sum of its parts; grasping this concept makes a successful multiplatform strategy possible.

While you’ll definitely have strengths and weaknesses as an online magazine, on balance, you must gain some traction on at least a few tracks in order to compete in the current marketplace. A print product alone certainly no longer cuts it. Just a portal? Forget it. App-only? Nice knowing you.

Ads, subscriptions, social media, niche audiences, events … the list goes on and on. And, yes, you need to have some working knowledge in each area to truly consider yourself a master of digital content publishing. tackles several of these topics in recent articles. Let’s start the week with them!

How Regional Magazines Can Make the Most of Opportunities

There is room to innovate for regional magazines when it comes to digital content publishing and print strategies, as well as with advertising tactics, according to a recent column, and we couldn’t agree more.

“Essentially advertisers buy into a formatted section of the publication exclusively owning a category such as “real estate, fine dining or spa works.” The advertiser gets a profile photo provided by the publication—more than a headshot—usually in the place of business (a florist with flowers, a chef in the kitchen) with a few hundred word description of why they are THE place on the market for that service. The categories vary by market and opportunity. I have seen the face of cosmetic surgery and auto body repair and the face of workmen’s compensation law and bankruptcy law,” Rhode Island Monthly Communications Owner John Palumbo writes.

“Usually, folks in the regional business do not simply lift concepts or strategies because, like the diverse markets we serve, nuances and local audience sanity checks are often required. I am sure the concept is not unique to regional titles alone, given the latest efforts of the AAM to expand influence and communication, but I know in this fast paced world of, ‘What have you done for me yesterday?’ it sure helps.”

Event Production: What Attendees Want From Conferences

If you know much about Mequoda, you’ll know that event production is a huge part of what we do here, but spending all of that time and money on publisher events hoping to turn a profit is pointless if you don’t know what your attendees are looking for from the experience. You might do well on your first conference, but you won’t keep executives coming back.

A recent Center for Exhibition Industry Research survey, with its results relayed by, is helpful in bridging any gaps.

“Free WiFi tops the list, with 81 percent of attendees surveyed reporting that it matters to them, followed by power-up stations to recharge mobile devices (71 percent) and the ability to download speaker presentations (64 percent). Those same three top the list of those offerings exhibition organizers believe are essential to their attendees, reflecting a good correlation between event producers and the professionals they aim to attract. As you move down the list, however, a disconnect begins to materialize,” Greg Dool writes.

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“Sixty-percent of attendees value the ability to request product info via a scanning badge or providing an email address, but only 44 percent of exhibition organizers think attendees feel that way. Likewise, 55 percent of attendees say it’s important to them that new product showcases or demo areas contain interactive screens or tablets with product information, a sentiment shared by only 34 percent of exhibition organizers. Interestingly, a full 34 percent of attendees report that they’d like access to a room with multiple screens in which they could watch more than one session from a single location, but only 14 percent of organizers believe attendees consider such an offering to be important.”

Digital Content Publishing Strategy: The Economist Approach

You might think of The Economist as a major publisher, but it’s closer to a lot of midsize and niche magazines than it is to the Hearsts and Conde Nasts of the world. In a recent column, one of its executives explains how multiplatform publishing is fueling recent digital content publishing strategy.

“To broaden The Economist’s reach, we looked to the top distribution platforms – not just for help, but also to set an example. It became evident really quickly that everyone from Apple to Facebook was thinking about the same thing –really great content. Yet, the question that has come to many publishers’ minds lately is: Do we make all of this really great content free, dump it everywhere, and just hope that people will then convert to paid subscribers? Do we make money by maximizing revenue per user or by maximizing the number of users we reach, understanding that advertisers are looking for scale?” Economist Senior Vice President, Strategy and Channel Relationships, Lydia Kaldas writes.

“Because the scale for much larger publishers is very different than the scale for The Economist, we have chosen to approach the question a bit differently, putting a great deal of focus on content that makes sense for our audience here. Today, this is as much about the content itself as how it’s presented. We want the audience to consume our content in whichever manner they want to and to grow our reach naturally – this led to the creation of our “read, watch, listen” (RWL) content strategy. Thanks to this approach, whether people want to read our content, watch our content, or listen to our content, we’ve got them covered.”

Digital Advertising: Can You Drive Revenue Without Slumming?

Digital advertising revenue is a double-edged sword (if not a triple- or quadruple-edged sword). It can get pretty dirty in the trenches, but that’s where magazines feel they need to be to make a buck. If you rely solely on ads, then the urgency is even more pronounced. But as reports, making a business out of “shady practices” can make for dubious decision-making.

“I read this week where Zenith Optimedia predicted that global spending on Internet advertising would be more than spending on television commercials for the first time ever in 2017. In fact, Internet advertising was expected to grow three times faster than the rest of the advertising industry, driven by spending on social media video and search, according to the report. Throw in native advertising, programmatic, and content marketing, plus the massive migration of consumers to mobile media, and there’s clearly enough energy there to explain the incredible excitement and growth,” Folio: Vice President Tony Silber writes.

“But I also read this week how Vice Media’s traffic plunged in February by 17 percent from the prior month, almost exclusively because Vice practices a controversial method of boosting traffic—mixing traffic to its own site with traffic that it compiles from other sites and then offering the combined package to media buyers. … That all may produce incremental revenue, but only at a high cost in UX and the publisher’s reputation.”

Looking to refine your digital content publishing strategy? Start with a free download of our Multiplatform Publishing Strategy Handbook!

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