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How to create a digital magazine
A complete guide

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You Don't Create Digital Magazines? Here Is Why You Should

Here are some solid reasons why you want to go for digital magazines!
1. Growing Interest and Audiences
We’ve previously reported statistics showing circulation in the millions and huge circulation boosts for some digital magazines, and the trend toward taking magazines digital is growing.

Every single year, the Alliance for Audited Media (AAM) shows that many more magazine publishers are now delivering content via either native or web apps to reach their users.

One of the great things about taking your magazine online is that it far extends its potential reach. People around the globe who may not want to pay postage costs for a print publication won’t hesitate to hand over their email address to receive a digital publication.

Online magazines can provide the entertainment that customers are looking for when they sit down in the evening with their mobile devices. It’s easy for them to page through your content and to share information they find useful.
2. Better Engagement
With huge numbers of people now using smartphones and tablets throughout the day and with reading being a core activity for many of them, you can take advantage of this by putting your magazines online to reach those readers.

Inform and entertain readers and you build better engagement, especially if readers have the convenience of consuming content the way they want.

Magazines tend to come out at regular intervals and customers enjoy knowing when they are going to arrive. Making an appointment with your audience is a great way to build engagement. It’s appointment marketing, helping your readers to form the habit of engaging with you.

Magazines are not only a way to engage and entertain but to build a relationship of trust. If you are providing great content that meets users’ needs on a regular basis they will trust you, enhancing your reputation and authority and making it easier for you to achieve conversions and sales.

With a digital magazine, it’s easy to mix long form content with shorter snippets to cater for every kind of reader. Even better than that, with the right
digital publishing software,
search engines will be able to easily index your content.
3. Speed of Distribution
If you’re comparing print vs digital magazines, here’s an important piece of information. A typical print publishing cycle – from planning to printing to the point where people can read the content – takes weeks. In a world of 24-hour news and instant information gratification, this is just too slow.

These days, people (especially mobile device users) expect to get the information they want quickly. Digital magazines enable brand publishers to meet this need. With digital magazines, you can get information to your core audience quickly – and it’s easy to make an update if you need to.
4. Interactivity
study on digital publishing
points out that one of the great things about digital magazines is that you can make digital magazines totally interactive.
New digital publishing tools
such as
, offer you many options to add interactivity and animations to your digital magazine.

Clickable links, interactive ads, video – brand publishers can embed all these elements to create a better experience for readers.

Surprisingly, the AAM shows that not many publishers have yet taken advantage of this trend, with 73% replicating their print editions precisely.

We’ve already told you why this is a bad idea so if you can use better digital magazine publishing software you will be ahead of most publishers.

Digital magazines are interactive, allowing you to support written content with a wide range of multimedia. This is especially important in an era where video consumption is growing and people are used to immersive online experiences.

The more you can include that is relevant the longer your readers are likely to stick around. That gives you more chances to connect with them and meet your marketing goals.
5. Being Mobile-Friendly
When you create a digital magazine, it is a necessity to invest in being mobile friendly.

If you have a tablet or smartphone, you already know how easy it is to get lost in reading beautiful content. The handy device size, sharp screen, and easy access via swiping and tapping make this an immersive reading experience that no print publication can match.

And reading digital magazines on mobile devices reveals another major advantage over their print version – the ability to adjust type size. No more squinting at tiny words!
6. Understanding Customers
One last thing to consider when thinking about print vs digital magazines is that digital magazines give you a more realistic picture of your customers.

You have to approach print circulation figures with a certain caution, since they sometimes rely on the numbers printed and distributed, without a real idea of who’s actually reading the publication.

If you really want to understand your customers, digital magazines can help you. When you have a print magazine all user can do is pass it along to someone else, which is great, but doesn’t tell you much about actual readership or what people like.

It’s different with digital magazines. Unlike print magazines, you can get analytics for individual pieces of content so that you can truly understand what appeals to them and tailor future magazines even better. You will know precisely how many you have sent out, how many people have opened them and how many clicked on your links.

You will also be able to tell what they have clicked on and what they have shared.

Digital magazine analytics tools give you an in-depth knowledge of what your customers really respond to, and that can help you in creating future editions.
7. SEO
The more information there is online, the more important the ability to find relevant content becomes.

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a huge factor in determining whether potential readers and customers discover your magazine.

The good news is that using the latest web technologies, such as HTML5, makes it easy for search engines to index the articles in your digital magazine, exposing your content to an even wider audience.

What Users Want From Your Digital Magazines

How can you make your digital magazines must read for your core audience?

There’s no real mystery. Just like other pieces of content marketing, creating readership is about figuring out what readers want and giving it to them.

Here are some of the key statistics: Research from Pew Internet shows that online
is a key activity for almost two thirds of smart phone and tablet owners.

by the Association of Magazine Media showed that 63% of the 1009 adults polled wanted more digital content and 55% enjoyed looking into digital archives in a magazine.

In the UK,
another survey
of 2000 consumers showed that 19% read magazines on tablets, with higher percentages in the 18 to 24 age group. Around 6% of consumers subscribed to an digital magazine.

So it’s clear that web users want to read digital publications, and often on mobile devices. Brands (and publishers for that matter) who create digital editions of print publications are already seeing increases in the number of subscribers to digital editions.

What else do users want from digital magazines?
They want them to be readable, interactive and shareable.
1. Readability
The trouble with many digital magazines is that they don’t work well on mobile devices. That might be because brands don’t choose the right magazine publishing software: Some brands use PDFs as a default without realizing that the inability to easily resize text and navigate the documents is a major disadvantage for readers.

Others use a flipbook platform which results in text that is either too small or too large, with nothing in between. Your customers need their digital magazine to be available in a format that works well with their devices.

A survey by ABM showed that business readers would be more engaged if online editions of magazines were available and if they were better optimized for mobile viewing, interactive (we’ll get to that in a minute), and had unique content. With the right
magazine publishing software
, content will look great and load quickly (another concern for mobile device users.)
2. Interactivity
The ‘wrong’ links may have got a bad rep in terms of Google’s SEO guidelines, but readers still want to be able to follow links from their digital magazines.

In fact, they want those magazines to be interactive – and that includes the ads. The UK survey cited earlier found that many people wanted interactivity in their advertisements so they could click on them and be taken straight to a sales page.

Research from GfK MRI supported the idea of clicking to buy within a magazine and found that 70% of tablet magazine readers wanted personalized ads.

As well as clickable links, digital magazines should also incorporate mobile video, as huge numbers of mobile device users watch online video. People want the same interactivity they get when using a PC; they just want content to be mobile optimized.
3. Shareability
Our own research shows that throughout the day, mobile device users share content on social media. And we’re not the only ones to discover this.

A study by
shows that among the 18 to 34 segment the ability to share magazine content is crucial. That’s why it’s essential to embed social sharing tools into your digital magazine. Sometimes readers just want to share a single article or excerpt, rather than the whole publication.

Enabling this functionality in your digital magazines will make them more popular. It’s a win for marketers, too, allowing them to track how readers engage with content.
4. What Else Do Magazine Readers Want?
Readers want it all. Just as a print magazine includes everything from letters and quizzes to in-depth interviews and features, a digital magazine has to cater to readers who want short snippets and long-form content, what Jay Baer calls feathers and bricks.

While you’re at it, make sure your digital magazine is easy to find and searchable – two more things that readers want, according to research from GTExcel. It is clear from all the research that digital magazine readers have become more sophisticated and know exactly what they want.

As marketers and publishers it is our job to give it to them. Digital magazines are a cost effective and eco-friendly marketing tool and the right magazine publishing software (like Readz) can help you meet your readers’ needs.

How Digital Magazines Can Help You Build Engaged Audiences

Over the past few years, digital magazines have emerged as an effective content marketing tool, with organizations of all sizes creating digital magazines to reach consumers. Why? There are many sound reasons to add magazines to your content marketing strategy, including: 1) Digital magazines have minimal distribution costs; and 2) they give publishers direct control of the content, allowing for brand messages to be conveyed consistently and clearly. However, even more importantly, digital magazines are taking off because they are an excellent way to emotionally connect with consumers. The lush and immersive nature of the medium inherently draws readers in, providing opportunities to build trust and affinity. This, of course, is the ultimate goal of content marketing. That said, not all digital magazines are successful, just as not all print magazines are successful. The reasons digital magazines fail are varied, but often they come down to a common set of content and distribution issues. To help avoid these pitfalls, here are some of our best practices to follow:
1) Quality Content Creation: Make It Beyond Interesting
Yes, digital magazines often feature products, but they are fundamentally different from brochures. Sounds obvious, but this is one is more difficult to do well than we would like. The best digital magazines devote serious effort to producing quality content, not just boosting sales, and provide content that engages their audiences. A great example of this is Red Bull, a content marketing magazine pioneer (both in print and digital). When you read it, you can clearly see that the company’s
Red Bulletin
is not all about the energy drink. Rather, it is focused on the things that interest Red Bull’s demographic—including high-quality coverage of sports, music, movies, and technology. As one writer for the magazine told
: “I’ve never been asked to crowbar Red Bull into any story I’ve done with them. The promotion of the brand comes through the activities I cover.” Need inspiration? You can get great content ideas by studying the editorial strategy of news- and lifestyle publications that are already addressing your audience.
2) Make It Beautiful
Henry Luce, the legendary magazine editor and publisher, initially wanted to call LIFE Magazine “
The Show-Book of the World.
” The name didn’t stick, but the sentiment captures something fundamental about magazines: The best ones usually excel at showing as well as telling. Put another way, magazines are often emotionally engaging because they are image-heavy and visually appealing. For content marketers, this means that looks are not superficial in this case—they are fundamentally part of the offering. Therefore, make sure to devote plenty of resources to the design of your digital magazine. An example of a brand that does this well is the jewelry maker
. The company’s digital magazine takes its look seriously, with clear attention to the color palette, graphics, cover photo, and background image.
3) Be Mobile-Friendly and Responsive
The increased readership of digital magazines (both content marketing ones and non) is very much linked to the rise in tablet ownership. This, of course, makes sense. In many ways, magazines on tablets are even better than “real” magazines—they provide the same big, bright feel, but with additional interactivity (and without the need for paper). Given this, it is absolutely essential that your digital offering be mobile friendly. The problem, of course, is that different consumers use different devices. Some may access your magazine on their phone, some on a tablet, and some on a computer. Moreover, even the same individual may read across multiple devices. Therefore, your magazine must not only be mobile-friendly but also responsive, i.e. it must be able to quickly adjust how it is displayed depending on the device that is being used.
4) Focus on Readability
As mentioned earlier, it is essential that digital magazines be visually appealing. However, it’s also important that they include readable text. Too often, content marketers force consumers to zoom, tilt, or squint in order to clearly see the text of their digital magazine. This is not good (to put it mildly). It is essential to focus on readability so that the consumer can engage with the content rather than struggle to merely see it. One example of these readability woes can be see in the
Vintages magazine
from the wine and liquor distributor of the same name. The offering itself is great, chock-full of information about wine and presented well. However, the inside pages cannot be read without clicking and zooming—again, far from the ideal experience.
5) Focus on Speed
Another usability issue that is often forgotten is speed. Because digital magazines are so visual, they often result in large files. While this may not seem like a huge deal on a fast connection, on a slow one (especially a mobile one) it can be a serious issue. Readers (and search engines!) often have a very low tolerance for long downloads, whether in the context of an app store, digital newsstand, or direct file transfer. Therefore, do everything possible to reduce load time, otherwise you will face a steadily dwindling audience.
6) Include Call to Actions
Digital magazines are, well, digital. Yes, that’s obvious, but it’s often overlooked by content marketers. When creating your digital magazine don’t forget that you are not bound by the constraints of print.
Specifically, this means that you should include interactive calls to action in your offerings. These can be links to products, conversion pages, or whatever else matches the goals of your business. Again, the core focus of the magazine should be on the content and not immediate conversion. However, well-integrated calls to action are fully accepted (and expected) by readers.
7) Make It Accessible
Finally, your digital magazine efforts are all for naught if consumers can’t access your offering.
Many digital magazines are distributed via walled-garden platforms, such as Apple’s Newsstand, that make accessibility extremely difficult. Basically, too often digital content marketing magazines languish because reading them requires the use of specific devices or software. Moreover, because many digital magazines are not accessible via simple web URLs, they cannot be shared easily via social media or even email. This too cuts down on the audience size. An example of a digital magazine that struggled with these issues is the
offering from Zappos.
The digital savvy retailer created an interactive, Apple iOS-based app that smartly combined fashion editorial with product information. Yet, despite being highly innovative, the offering was eventually shut down. Why? The reasons could include many of those covered above—including too much emphasis on sales or a lack of engaging editorial. However, it’s very likely that limited accessibly played a significant role (the magazine could only be found in the Apple iTunes Store). Fundamentally, accessibility is so important because it is the starting point for everything else. If a large number of readers cannot get to your digital magazine, it does not matter how beautiful, well-written, or fast-to-load it is.

Digital Magazine Examples: Make Your Digital Customer Magazines POP!

Here are 5 key principles of design to enhance your digital publication

Creating a digital magazine can be an intimidating process. While the limitless canvas of the digital world can be exciting, the idea of creating layers upon layers of interactivity can make all this creative freedom feel overwhelming.

Whether you are an experienced veteran or a rookie, below are 5 digital magazine examples and key principles that will help ease your design process and make your digital magazines “pop!”
1) Organize Your Content Properly
Think about your content and how you want readers to experience navigating through it. On the web, the act of scrolling comes naturally to readers. As they keep reading an article or looking through images, they can easily continue to scroll down to view more content.
This allows you, the creator, to embrace on the opportunity of adding more content per page, resulting in fewer pages over all.
See the example from's magazine below. It is simple yet effective. The design is not interfering with the reader's intention of easy access to the desired content, they successfully grouped all the relevant content together and created a simple and engaging reading experience.
2) Laying Out Your Content
As you think about organizing your content, it’s important to remember to visually place everything in a meaningful way that doesn’t overwhelm your reader. Keep a consistent amount of space between different image and text assets so that sections within content can be easily deciphered.
As you think about organizing your content, it’s important to remember to visually place everything in a meaningful way that doesn’t overwhelm your reader. Keep a consistent amount of space between different image and text assets so that sections within content can be easily deciphered.
3) Link, Link, Link
Thank goodness for non-linear navigation! Users don’t need to flip through ten pages of irrelevant content to get to what they want to read. Because of this, the table of contents becomes incredibly important, as it’s a guide to the rest of the publication and also a series of doors to different articles.

Users are expecting a clear list of content that links to different areas in the publication that they can navigate easily.
The example above from The National Fatherhood publication is a great example of creating an easily navigable and understandable table of contents that links to different areas of the publication based on what the reader is interested in.
4) Think Above The Fold
The term “above the fold” originated back in the print-only days. It referred to content that was above the halfway fold in the paper that readers could easily scan as they paged through the issue. This place was reserved for big headlines, important stories, and eye-catching content, and it should still be used that way. In your digital customer magazine, “above the fold” (can be called “above the scroll”) is the area at the top of the webpage that can be read immediately upon landing on it before you scroll down to see what else is there. This area catches your readers’ eyes and lets them know what other content can be found on the page. Especially if you have fewer pages and more content per page, this area needs to be used judiciously.
Enfamil provides a great example in their digital customer magazine. As you can see in the image above and by flipping through their publication, each page has a big headline above the fold that establishes the page’s topic.
As a reader, you immediately know what the page is about and what you’ll see as you scroll down. There is nothing more disappointing than missing good content because it’s buried under irrelevant above-the-fold headlines and images.
5) Incorporate Moving Images
While GIFs are the darlings of the internet these days, due to their wow-factor and versatility, they can also be very heavy and lead to long load times. Full-screen video backgrounds are quite similar in appearance but they have the advantage of being streaming and therefore won’t weigh down a publication.
Moving images are unique to digital publications. By incorporating them into your digital magazine, you can add a visual pop to your content that captures readers’ attention. When creating your digital magazine, consider the principles of formatting, layout, flow, and content organizing to be the foundation of your creation. Build upon them by increasing reader interaction through non-linear navigation and guided linking of content. And lastly, keep in mind that alternative file-types such as GIFs and videos are a great way of leveraging the interactive power of digital mediums. They add depth to your content in a way that will make your digital customer magazines “pop!”
There are lots of
digital publishing
options to choose from and it can get confusing. You want something that makes it easy for people to read content wherever they are.

As we’ve said before, doing print online just doesn’t make sense, so avoid PDFs and Flipbooks which won’t meet the needs of all readers.

Instead, be aware that when creating digital magazines, you’ll get better conversions if you use a publishing solution that meets everyone’s needs, which leads nicely to the next tip.
2) Make It Mobile Friendly
Mobile device readership is increasing all the time and digital magazines are popular. Studies show that when people can’t access content on mobile devices they go elsewhere. And Google’s
Mobile Playbook
says that about 84% of multiscreen shopping experiences involve mobile.

We also know that mobile device users make quicker purchasing decisions. Put those together and you have one stark fact – catering for mobile device users will improve conversions for your digital magazine.

An digital magazine needs a clear interface which brings the best content to the surface but still makes it possible to navigate to other information when people want.

That’s why it’s essential to use a mobile adapted design which is easy to read and to browse using the touch screen controls that are common on smart phones and tablets.
Digital magazines have a big advantage over their print counterparts, because you can do things with content online that simply aren’t possible in a print publication. Think about it: when you read about a website in a print publication, you have to put the magazine down to go and follow the link.

But if you’re reading an digital magazine on your tablet a simple tap will open the device’s browser so you can get more information instantly. And there’s more. You can include multimedia content in your digital magazine, especially video. The inclusion of video captures people’s attention and improves ROI and the likelihood of purchase. That’s a big win for any brand publisher.
3) Embrace Interactivity and Multimedia
1) Choose The Right Format
You know what also improves conversions? The fact that people can find you. That’s where it’s important to look after search engine optimization (SEO) for digital magazines.

Not only must you optimize the landing page where people sign up for your digital magazine, but you must ensure that you use
for article creators, optimize image names and prepare for semantic and local search as a starting point for digital magazine SEO.
4) Use SEO
In addition, make sure that the articles in your digital magazine are optimized so that users can share them easily on their favorite social media networks.

Social media is proven to drive conversions as people are more willing to connect with brands that have a social media presence.

In fact, one statistic shows that 80% of social media users who get a response from a business end up making a purchase. How’s that for a great
conversion rate
5) Encourage Social Sharing
One of the best ways to improve digital magazine conversion rates is to monitor what happens every time you deliver an issue. You can’t measure too much. Use: delivery, open and click statistics from your email marketing software, reading and sharing statistics from your online magazine publishing solution, Google Analytics to track landing pages and social sharing, and
for its integrated traffic and conversion statistics.
Together, these statistics will tell you how people are responding to your digital magazine. Combine this with split testing on headlines, article positions, article lengths, topics and more until you arrive at the perfect format and content for your readership. Give your readers what they want and more of them will take up your offer.
6) Use Analytics
7) Include Call-To-Action's
One of the big advantages of a digital magazine over print is that you can not only include ads for your brand, but you can make the ads clickable, include CTA’s and get all kind of interactions going with your audiences, just like you would do on websites.

Combined with the above point of analytics and some a/B testing, you will be getting a lot of traction from your publication.
8) Hook It Up
Finally, don’t let your digital magazine sit in a silo. You can easily boost digital magazine conversion rates by connecting it to your other marketing initiatives and your website.

Mention your digital magazine on sales and product pages, place prominent links to the landing page on your social media profiles and highlight content via blog posts. The more publicity you give it the more chances you have to increase readership and conversions.

You have seconds to grab and hold the attention of your prospects. Learn more about how to stand out, improve customer communications and make the best of your digital magazines!

Publishing a
digital magazine
that no one reads is a waste of time. No brand publisher can afford that.

So how can you improve digital magazine conversion rates and ensure that the people you most want to reach are reading your content and taking action on what they read?

Here are ways to improve conversions for digital magazines.

How To Turn Digital Magazines Into A Revenue Generation Factory

Digital Magazines: 5 Ways To Get Higher Conversions

Social sharing is huge. An article on Publishing Executive reveals that 60% of users opening a particular digital publication each month find the publication via social media. If you’re interested in getting attention, building your audience or extending your reach, then you need to make it easy for people to share your magazine content on social media. Every tweet, share and link has the potential to bring new readers to your website, landing pages or magazine – and that’s the first step in achieving the ultimate goal of turning them into customers. Cross-promote your digital magazines with your other products and services for even more impact.
Don’t forget mobile users, either, because they are heavy users of social networking sites. Integrating social sharing buttons into digital magazines, or making it easy for mobile users to share via built in-features on their devices will also help with conversions.

Finally, let’s not forget the most important aspect of conversions: measuring the achievement of your goals. If you want to know if your digital magazines are successful, it’s essential to use an online magazine publishing software that includes robust analytics so that you can measure readership, social media sharing and conversions and use the data you find to further tweak your strategy. If that platform is mobile-ready and creates a publication that’s visually appealing, then you have everything you need for great conversions.
Digital magazines must be a key part of your content marketing strategy. They can help you:
  • Create trust and build authority.
  • Make an appointment with your readers.
  • Entertain your customers by telling your story.
  • Increase sales
But creating an digital magazine that converts isn’t just a matter of throwing together a PDF and sending it to all your customers. To drive and improve conversions you need to get smart about digital magazine creation and delivery. Here are some strategies to help you do that.
1) Setting Goals for Digital Magazines
All good conversions start with goals and you need to decide what your goals are for your digital magazines.

You may want to retain your existing audience. Or you may be looking to attract new customers or get customers to take a particular action. Setting clear goals will enable you to measure conversions.
2) Readability and Conversions
Magazines are for readers, so ensuring that your digital magazines are readable is crucial.

Think about designing for conversion, with uncluttered interfaces, clear typography and easily identifiable top content.

Choosing the right publishing solution will also help improve conversions, so make sure that your digital magazine is available in a format that they find easy to read. The more work your customers have to do, the less likely they are to stick around.

There are several options including PDFs and the Flipbook but those have severe limitations in terms of mobile usability. A mobile adapted
digital magazine software
is a better choice.
3) Mobile Usability
Mobile usability
is particularly important in the conversion process. Google’s Mobile
says mobile devices play a key role in 84% of multiscreen shopping experiences – that’s one statistic you can’t afford to ignore.

Adapt your digital magazines, by looking after font size, mobile navigation, tap targets, pre-filled forms for signups and purchases and more. The easier you make the process, the more likely customers are to move to the next stage of the conversion funnel.
4) SEO - Local and Mobile
Even if your digital publications are going to an existing audience, one of your conversion goals may be to attract a new audience. That means making it easy for new readers to find your digital magazines.

To do this, you need to optimize for local search, mobile search and desktop search. One aspect that is important as the mobile landscape expands is semantic search where
users ask questions
to find the information they need.

Mobile users who are searching by voice use this type of search and Google has made this a priority. Including content that answers readers’ questions and optimizing search engine descriptions will help to improve conversions. You can also help with conversions on your digital magazines by designing landing pages for them. Not only does that allow you to eliminate all necessary information but it means that it steers users directly to the action you want them to take. Check out guidance from
on creating landing pages to improve conversions for your digital magazines.

5) Social Sharing and Cross-
Is print dead? Probably not, what do you think? What we do know is that digital magazines are gaining in popularity, both in America and Europe.

Pew Research shows that news reading is a popular activity for tablet users. Some 64% of tablet users read news weekly and 37% do this daily. The percentages are similar for smartphone users at 62% weekly and 36% daily. Since even more people will own smartphones and tablets every year, digital magazines likely to become even more popular.

brand publishing
? Digital magazines makes more sense than ever. A lot of marketers are using customer magazines as an effective tool to create a deeper relationship between brands and its customers. When I was at the Content Marketing Conference in Ohio last fall, Joe Pulizzi asked the audience who was engaged in custom or brand publishing, and more than half of the audience raised their hand. That’s why you need to create a digital magazine as part of your content marketing strategy.

Here is a guide that will help you get started with creating a digital magazine.

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