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Harmonizing Print and Online Magazines

Posted on Wednesday, March 24, 2010 at 2:54 PM

How to create wonderful harmony between your print and online editions.

By Debbie Bates-Schrott

We start each business day with the dream of learning the secret to making our magazines flourish in both print and online. Depending on your passion you may prefer one option over the other. Clearly, there is still a strong desire for a print edition in many topic areas. There are also many publishers behind the eight ball with their magazine’s online presence or lack thereof. Many do not want to accept change, or have not fully embraced, or understand, the power of the Web, video, social media, mobile applications, or whatever the newest technology is when you are reading this.

For some publishers the flip page PDF may serve a purpose. It may be providing opportunities for expanding international readership or creating an online-only option for its readers. Advertisers benefit since it can expand the number of those who will see their ads and they can actually see the analytics and track it. Allowing advertisers the opportunity to share much more with a link to their site.

While there is still merit to this approach, there is a distinct disadvantage if this is your only digital strategy. Many may end up designing magazines the same way we have been for a lifetime. We need to take a new approach to designing our content to open new opportunities. This will require a strategic approach. Know your readers! Continue to know your readers! Where are your readers? Why are they reading your magazine? How are they reading your magazine? This is a continually changing landscape and needs to be monitored. Every magazine has its nuances that make its online needs different.

Is there harmony between your print and online content?

I think the best approach is integration. We are not just publishing magazines any longer. For those of you who are today, watch out for tomorrow. What is the print magazine accomplishing for the reader? Can it be done online? Online only? Or can you provide something different online that can strengthen the brand? Interviews, video, and social networks are just the tip of the iceberg.

Creating a completely harmonious relationship between print and online will require a new way of thinking for most publishers. Editors cannot do it all with the same amount of resources or old thinking and processes. Being a disrupter may be just what your publication needs to succeed.

Being successful in the new media world starts with a strategy with a phased implementation plan.

Debbie Bates-Schrott is President of Bates Creative Group and has more than 18 years working in the publishing industry. You can visit her website, www.BatesCreativeGroup.com, for more details.

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