With print sales accounting for just 5% of the revenue of most magazines, down from 95%, many magazines are going totally digital. However, not everyone who is moving into the digital arena is taking the time to differentiate their online persona from their print version. The best digital magazines take the opportunities offered by digital media as a way to do something completely new with their magazines.
Here are 5 ways to use media in order to communicate with your audience and enrich your publication.
1. Let Your Audience Speak
Best digital magazines usually offer the ability for their audience to give feedback will increase engagement and loyalty with their brand. When readers can comment on stories, they feel like they’re a part of what’s going on. When a magazine responds back, they know that the magazine they love is engaged in a real conversation with the audience.
Go one step further and allow video comments. Have some rules for moderation and don’t automatically post anything that moderators don’t have the chance to oversee. However, when people can respond via video, they will have more fun and take more risks.
You’ll end up with a lively conversation between contributors, editors, and audience when you can all see each others’ faces. By forcing people to use avatars and be real people, you can also eliminate some of the toxicity of interacting online.
2. Encourage Your Writers To Be Public
When writers are accessible via Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you get the opportunity to see how their mind works. You’ll get the most reactionary and unhinged thoughts that they have mixed with the balance you expect from their writing.
Ask your writers to include video summaries of their stories on Instagram or Twitter. This will give their dedicated readers the opportunity to see what the writer was trying to say. Before they dive into a long and drawn out piece of writing, they can get a feel for what to expect.
If your writers are comfortable, they should post their social media contact information and even their email. If readers feel comfortable getting in touch with their favorite contributors, they will know that you’re committed to creating a community with your audience.
Interactivity is the future of being in the public sphere and the sooner you embrace it, the better your audience interactions will be.
3. Run Photo Essays
While strong essays and clever editorials can share valuable information with your audience, sometimes photos can have a stronger impact. If you haven’t given over a huge amount of space to photos before, you should take a risk. Encourage your photographers and editors give up some space and add a photo essays to your next issue.
Photo essays can tell a narrative in a way that has a profound impact on your audience. If you have writers that have been doing a months-long investigation into some new research or an old criminal case, photos could be more helpful than text. People reading the article could look through old documents or findings and place themselves in the story.
Photo essays also give you the opportunity to showcase the talents of the photographers that you’ve hired. It’s rare that a photographer gets the opportunity to choose more than one photo for a story. You’ll build up confidence in your photographers and loyalty to your magazine by opening up the door to their creative spirit.
4. Invite Celebrity Guest Editorials
When a former president or famous celebrity publishes something on the editorial page of a major paper, people stop and read it. Sales spike and visits to the digital version or link to the paper go way up. People not only love to hear what celebrities say about important issues, but they can be swayed by them as well.
Find some major players in the entertainment industry or whatever industry your magazine specializes in. Ferret out some celebrities who have made statements about things in your specialty industry before. Ask them for their opinion and offer an open invitation for them to comment on the pages of your magazine.
You can even hire guest editors for photo features. Let a major photographer or artist take hold of your images for a week or a month. After that you’ll see your audience grow. The people who follow that photographer will flock to your paper to see what your combined efforts have resulted in.
5. Add Live Video
Being the best digital magazines need efforts. One of them is using videos as much as possible when you’re reporting on newsworthy events. In the coming years, video will account for more than 80% of all traffic on the internet. Video increases engagement, clicks, and the amount of time that people stay glued to your page by leaps and bounds.
Use social media channels like Instagram and Facebook to post live videos when you’re reporting on events, incidents, or any kind of appearance. Instead of simply recapping an event, you should include video from the event to show people what went on. If you’ve been reporting on incidents that are still ongoing, continue to add live video to your magazine.
Live video doesn’t just have to be for the purpose of reporting news. Live video could show off brainstorming meetings to show your audience inside the world of what it’s like to work on your magazine. You can show off how you get together and wind down after hours at an office or group activity.
The Best Digital Magazines Take Interaction Seriously
If you’re determined to be one of the best digital magazines, you have to take a new approach. How you serve the information is one of them. Rather than be a passive medium for text and images, you should be exchanging with your audience. You could offer the unique experiences. No media can afford to be passive in the current digital space.
If you want to stay ahead of the rest of the online magazine publishing industry, check out our guide for the top tips to follow this year.