How to take your first steps in the world of digital publishing – without getting lost!

24 Oct
digital publishing brought to the point

Source: iStock

Statistically, users spend on average 237 minutes online each day in Germany*.

One of the questions we all ask ourselves is: How can I get my share of these 237 minutes? Almost anything is possible in the world of digital content – but does this make our task easier or maybe even more difficult?

Users are constantly online, technology is constantly developing and trends are constantly changing. From a user perspective, how we consume information and where we consume it, add even more layers of complexities to these changing dynamics.

One factor influencing all of the above is undoubtedly the speed of technology change. All aspects of digital publishing – content generation and distribution, advertising and payment – are impacted by these changes. Facts such as where you are, what you are doing, who you are and what device you are using can, and are, being used to define the individual content experience. Imagine the possibilities….. While sitting in a café in the middle of Munich, reading an international fashion magazine on your tablet, the headline story happens to feature the opening of a new boutique. Not only is this boutique only 1 street away but you also have access to a personal promotional code and directions how to get there! Or – while walking by the front door of your favourite technology store, a special discount is sent directly to your smartphone for those new speakers that were just featured in your subscribed technology magazine.

These endless possibilities may initially overwhelm when investigating the digital publishing world. However, just because you can, does not always mean it makes sense to exploit all these opportunities. The aim should be to gain and keep the attention of your readers and therefore it is vital to fine-tune any publication towards this goal. Ultimately, the key to a successful digital magazine (or any interactive content product) is to know what is possible, to understand the complexities, to acknowledge the pitfalls and then to very systematically filter what is really relevant for YOUR readers. While trying to keep all this in mind, it is of course also vital to not lose sight of what YOU want to achieve with this product.

You want to take the first steps towards digital publishing or assess an existing digital publication? I have consolidated what í believe to be the key questions that first need answering.

There are of course multiple areas that need to be considered – to start with, the most obvious: the content!

  • What content do your readers really want?
  • Can you limit this content to be truly relevant for them?
  • Can you deliver this content in a regular manner?
  • Can you vary the content types to keep it engaging?
  • Should the content vary depending on when they read it?
  • Should the content vary depending on where they read it?

And then of course, that what catches the eye: the design:

  • Does your design grab people’s attention?
  • Does your design inspire your readers to read on?
  • Does your design also work on different devices?
  • Is your design intuitive?
  • Is your design flexible?

And of increasing importance, and a strong influencer on the previous two items: the technology:

  • Do you know what devices your readers are using (mobiles, tablets, Smart TVs, PC, Mc)?
  • What browsers and operating systems are relevant?
  • Is offline access to your content required?
  • Is an app beneficial and if so, native or web app?
  • Can the user experience be guaranteed also on slower connections?
  • Are external factors e.g. location, inbuilt device functions, purchasing behaviour etc. relevant? If so which?

Once these questions are answered, it then becomes much easier to filter what is really required, what is nice to have and what is potentially overkill. In an ‘Always on’ and ‘always developing’ world, the challenge isn’t necessarily on how to keep up, but how to focus on and select what is really useful, and then to do it!

*14-29 year olds in Germany, 2013 – Source: statista.de

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