Who better to advise on digital magazine content, business plans and advertising than Rok Pulević, CEO at Edition Digital, the award winning smart digital publishing system? Dialogue's Howard Wilmot interviewed him to find out what really makes digital magazines work?
Digital magazine definition
What is the best use for a digital magazine in your opinion?
Rok: First let us define what a digital magazine is. With a simple web search it's pretty obvious that a digital magazine can be anything from a PDF online to a news blog with daily updates.
However, with a closer look at classic print publishing, it's easy to conclude that everything with a print output could be also called a magazine – from content built in a word document to high profile glossies and everything in between. So, what differentiates print magazines among themselves is quality of the content created by editorial and production teams. Their effort brings to life relevant content with great design. And the initial approach to the production process of it also defines (or rewards) readers’ reach.
So, I would agree with digital media strategist Carolyn Morgan’s definition that digital magazines are more tailored, immersive, with linear structure, finite and navigable with interactive and media rich content. In that case the best use would be thematic storytelling.
Digital publishing and different industries
Is there a particular type of client or industry a digital magazine works best for?
There are no usual suspects here. We have seen tech magazines from different industries, as well as entertainment and lifestyle to highly interactive magazines created for women over 60. The difference in success was the creative angle approach from the publisher’s team. One size fits all just doesn’t work.
Digital publishing challenges
What do businesses get wrong when it comes to creating a digital magazine?
There are many misconceptions out there. First would be to copy others regardless of their different audiences. Recreating car industry digital design for, let's say, the health and beauty industry would be a complete failure. Even though it looked nice and slick.
Businesses should know who they are addressing and think about the right way to pass on their message, always thinking about the right balance between different kinds of content (static, videos, animations…). When to use interactive content, where to engage readers and how to engage them would be a logical start and should depend on a perceived goal set.
Digital magazines and their readership
What do consumers want from a digital magazine?
They just want quality content. That is it. The digital magazine form just opens the creative space for content creators.
What types of content work best in your experience? And what doesn’t work?
Using interactive digital content just amplifies your message on a different level and generates fun for the readers combining static, video, and interactive elements. It has a much better chance reading and can literally steal their attention.
But I would like to return to my previous answer about knowing your audience and thinking about how to address them best.
Digital magazine business plan
Is it possible to monetise a digital magazine in the same way as a print one?
Yes, it’s possible but there are also different approaches and metrics. And don't forget about the level of investment if we want to compare print and digital.
There are many more monetising models available for digital than for print. For digital, one publisher could combine more monetising channels, from subscriptions to memberships, bundle products, quick promotion sales etc.
There is also a huge potential in archived content which could be literally gold publishers are sitting on. Finally let’s not forget that, once published, a digital magazine is a virtual asset that costs almost nothing so digital sales practices (promotions, huge discounts, action sales...) can be easily applied.
Digital magazine advertising
What are the benefits for advertisers on a digital magazine?
Advertisers can present their products and services in a totally different way and get much more attention time than in print. On top of that they can sell their products directly.
How much money can people realistically make from digital advertising in your experience?
As digital magazines are published by companies big and small this would be a reference point question. Big companies invest much more in promotion and could expect bigger turn around. Smaller companies are typically happy with what they make but there is a huge gap between them.
But be aware, just letting it sitting out there with no effort in promotion would proportionally be reflected in the end result.
Digital vs print magazines
Will digital magazines ever make print magazines extinct?
No, never. Print will never be dead. Digital is just a different channel that must be covered today if one wants to keep up with the audience and serve them where they are.
Are there any digital magazines you’re envious of!
Yes of course, almost all of the custom made types created by dedicated creators!
Rok Pulević is CEO at digital publishing system Edition Digital.
If you would like further guidance, our article on how to create a digital magazine may be of help.
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