With more companies and membership associations looking to reduce the cost of communicating with their clients and members, digital newsletters and magazines are a solution that many organisations are now turning to.
Increasingly we get asked to suggest which platform is best? The fact that there are a myriad of providers out there from completely free use options through to complicated subscriber only versions with full rights management suggests that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
The best answer is actually the question – ‘what do you need a digital edition to do for your intended readership?’ Every organisation will have a different answer, so you really need to focus on what job you need your digital magazine or newsletter to do.
Is it content you want to share with as many people as possible for free?
If this is the main driver then save your money on fancy digital editions and retain traffic to your own domain by embedding a PDF on your own servers, then promote the link as widely as possible.
Do you have premium members only content to distribute to paid subscribers?
In the case of membership associations or magazine subscribers, asking them to login onto a browser edition does not cut the mustard anymore. Why when I have paid for a subscription/membership should I have to go online to read it? I might want to read it on my tablet on the train and how do I know when the new issue is out? Most membership managers say that they need to actively send their members each edition as a download straight to their inbox as a service their clients expect – otherwise you are just competing for attention from all the other direct mail bumpf that we receive these days.
Is your content so exclusive that you don’t wish readers to pass it on freely to other users?
In this specialist area of premium, paid for content you need to ensure your chosen platform has effective rights management software that only allows the subscriber to access the information they have paid for. However, having to download it via a specialist reader can be a pain, especially when many corporate networks block such readers, so this choice can be counter productive to B2B information providers.
Are you looking to switch existing print readers to a digital only edition?
If you are in this situation you need to find a really simple procedure to persuade clients to register for a digital edition. No one wants to lose readership and without an email address and a client opt-in this is the reality if you just stop the printed version. How to mange this migration needs careful planning and finding the right, easily useable platforms that all your existing readers can access will add to the user experience.
It can be a challenging minefield if you don’t start by asking the important questions of what job you need the digital edition to do and how your market will want to read it. If you speak to a number of providers they will all have slightly different options and features others don’t – all adding to the confusion! The answer is to seek out the advice of an independent agency with expertise in the this field, such as Legacy Sport Media, who have experience from the very beginnings of digital magazines and understand the needs and concerns of organisations making this big step. Legacy Sport Media do not have the ‘one size fits all’ approach and seek to thoroughly understand their clients requirements before either building a bespoke system or advising the neatest off the peg solution to fit the specific project requirements.
John Heyes is Publishing Director at Legacy Sport Media.