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Three Things Publishers Should Be Doing Online (But Aren't)

By Mik Stroyberg

To succeed in the online publishing space, publishers need to think about what they offer from their readers' perspective. What are their customers' online and offline reading habits? How can they connect with readers where they are online?

New platforms make online publishing quick and easy today, but to truly make the most of the opportunity, publishers need to do more than just upload a PDF version of their print publication to a website. If they want to use the digital publishing medium to connect with readers and expand readership worldwide, publishers need to put some thought into the process and develop an effective online publishing strategy.

Online publishing offers exciting new opportunities to grow readership and generate customer loyalty. Here are three techniques that can help publishers hit the ground running in the digital publishing space or improve their existing online publishing strategy:

 

1. Assess the opportunity and make the necessary investments:

The first step toward an effective online publishing strategy is to realize how much time people spend online and make the investments needed to publish a quality digital product. According to comScore Data Mine, Americans averaged 32 hours a month online in 2010, and the number is growing in the U.S. and worldwide - particularly in the mobile space.

Publishers can view this phenomenon in terms of a loss of time formerly spent on print publications - or as an opportunity to reach new audiences on a different medium.  The growing trend of online media consumption is definitely an opportunity for savvy publications. But the winners in the shifting media landscape will be publishers who offer content in a format that readers can easily consume online. Publishers hoping to grow online readership should assess digital publishing platforms carefully and make an informed choice.

2. Ensure that readers can access content across multiple devices and platforms:

It's also important to understand that audiences use a variety of devices and operating systems to access content online, including desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets. A single reader may use several devices to view a publication, including a Microsoft Windows-based laptop, an Android smartphone and an iPad tablet.

Publishers need to make sure they customize their digital publishing practices to reach the greatest number of potential readers. They can accomplish this by rolling out a digital edition that is accessible via desktops, smartphones and mobile devices to cover all the ways their readers access content at home and on the go.

3. Promote the digital edition:

Another major consideration publishers who are looking to increase online readership face is how to promote their digital products. They can't just assume readers will find them online: A proactive promotion strategy is the best way to significantly grow current reader loyalty and expand readership in new areas.

Publishers need to let readers know they're out there by reaching them where they congregate online. The appropriate venue may vary according to the target demographic, but publishers should assess their options and consider advertising online at sites that cater to potential readers. They can also promote their online edition in a variety of other ways, including reader contests, newsletters and subscription offers. These can all be effective methods to expand awareness, reaching new readers and improving the loyalty of existing readers.

Toward an Effective Online Publishing PresenceDigital publishing tools offer incredible opportunities for offline publications to reach new readers and increase existing customer loyalty. But before jumping into the online publishing space, publishers should carefully consider their strategy. By accurately assessing the opportunity and ensuring that they deliver a quality online experience to readers, publishers can make a splash on a worldwide scale.

But to make the most of their online publishing efforts, publishers need to make sure they maximize the opportunity with cross-platform and multiple device capabilities. And they should actively promote the online publication to reach the widest audience. Those who do so can find success in the online publishing space.


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Mik Stroyberg is Head of Consumer Engagement at Issuu, the world's fastest growing digital publishing platform, with more than 50 million monthly users and host to over four million publications.
Related Keywords:publishing, digital publishing, pdf, print publications


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