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Top Ten Benefits of Digital Magazines
Author: Donald Roy
Digital Magazines are at the leading edge of the Web 2.0 revolution. They meld traditional reader values with unparalleled interaction, timeliness, longevity, value and an environmental conscience. Unfortunately, many stalwarts of the media and advertising industries have yet to fully grasp the distinction and consequent impact of digital magazines.
Some confusion is understandable, as the available technologies for digital magazine publishing are in an early growth phase. Choices for publishers are expanding, as opposed to converging. This has direct impact in a number of important areas. Advertising, for example, can be handled like a display ad in a print magazine, or it can be handled like an online banner, in both presentation and pricing.
The extent to which the print
magazine model is transferred into the digital world is another
area where choices exist and are being widely explored. Some presentations
use a "page flipping" graphic model to simulate the handling of
a physical magazine. Others argue that this is unnecessary visual
hyperbole and simply use a landscape visual format to present their
BEYOND WEB PAGES
One area that is very consistently adopted is the use of traditional print layouts, often rich in graphics, photography and font selection. This approach immediately distinguishes the digital magazine from a simple web page. In taking the best from both the print and online worlds, digital magazines present a unique value proposition that is only slowly being recognized by marketers and advertisers.
There are a significant number of differences between print and digital magazines, many of which substantially enhance the value of the latter. Let's take a look at what these are.
- Persistence - Digital magazines remain available as long as the publisher allows. Similarly, an advertiser's message remains available longer than it would in print. Digital magazines keep on giving. Most publishers keep back issues immediately available online, so the audience for a given issue continues to grow over time.
- Search Engine Friendly - Digital magazines can be indexed by leading search engines, providing yet another way to draw readers to your message. Readers looking for specific information can arrive at a digital magazine page just as easily as they may at a web site.
We are seeing an increasing number of print publishers delivering digital editions. In part, this can be easy to do because final pre-press output, as high resolution PDF files, can also be fed directly into conversion software to build an electronic version.
Increasingly, we are also seeing examples where existing print magazines are being retracted and replaced by digital-only versions. This is a consequence of the current economic challenges, which are also spawning new startups in the digital-only publishing world.
The Pulitzer Prizes, the most prestigious of U.S. journalism awards, announced recently they were expanding to include online-only publications, in recognition of the full-fledged evolution of digital news media. This is no longer a niche within the publishing world, but a developing new media of its own.
However, new publishers in the digital-only world will have to recognize that, for the moment, digital magazines are not a direct replacement for print media. The primary reason for this is that readers tend not to use them in the same way. For example, there may be a tendency to allow feature articles to grow in size simply because the incremental page cost is minimal. It may be thought that this would increase the value of the publication to the reader and in the case of highly specialized information, it likely does.
For more general topics, however,
it must be recognized that people exhibit shorter attention spans
when interacting online and that likely carries over into the
digital magazine realm. Until the available hardware more closely
simulates the physical experience of a print magazine, reading
of digital magazines is likely to remain an "on the go" experience
- whether filling in time while commuting on the train, waiting
for a connecting flight or kicking back for a few minutes during
a hectic day.
Finally, some argue that the physical experience of
paging through a great magazine, filled with luscious photography
and insightful copy, printed on superb quality paper and using the
finest production methods, will never be replaced by some kind of "electronic paper," and they are entirely correct. Such "coffee table" magazines
are wondrous experiences when you run across them. Bring on the wood
paneled library, filled with the luscious scents of Kona or Blue
Mountain coffee, Napoleon brandy and fine cigars. There are some
print publications that deserve to be handled this way but, let's
be honest, most don't.
When you need to get the attention of modern readers, digital magazines must become a keystone in your promotional strategy.
About the Author:
Donald Roy is Managing Editor of UberDrive Magazine, a digital-only
automotive enthusiast magazine. He also publishes The Chrome Pony -
a daily news web site for pony car enthusiasts and has been Technical
Editor for Modified Mustangs magazine, a printed publication. UberDrive
Magazine can be viewed through its web site at www.UberDriveMag.com
Have a nice day!
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