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Native Apps “Versus” HTML5 (Part 1)

What are the pros and cons of using either environment for tablet and smartphone publishing? By John Parsons Many pixels have been spilled (including a few by this writer) over the strategic pros and cons of native apps and browser-based, HTML5 content for publishing. In fact, there is no “war”—no clear either/or distinction—between these two approaches. However, there are basic advantages and disadvantages to each, which content publishers should consider as they plan their long term mobile strategy. When Apple introduced the iPad, a mere 36 months ago, publishers scrambled to put something on these “new” portable devices. App content ranged from enhanced digital facsimiles to complex (and often very expensive) multimedia projects. Eventually, digital edition providers and developers began to offer tools for creating native content apps. Meanwhile, since tablets and smartphones already have built-in browsers, many began to consider publishing their content outside the native app environment, using the emerging HTML5 and CSS 3 standards to create an attractive, interactive publication. In theory, both approaches can be handled by a publisher’s internal staff: by the print design team in the case of apps or the Web design team in the case of HTML5. Not many have the resources to do both. Clearly, we need a new type of service provider—one that can offer both approaches, and does them equally well, at a reasonable price. Native Apps Skip ahead if you are familiar with tablet or smartphone apps, which are simply programs, like Word for Windows or MacOS. App developers use a Software Development Kit (SDK) and a programming language to create a user interface and various functions...

Top 10 ways to monetize content for publishers

Publishers often ask us here at BlueToad for advise on how to monetize their apps or sell digital ads in their magazines. The real important factors here are not just where can you, but more importantly how do you? Or more specifically “How do you convince advertisers/agencies to spend dollars advertising with you AND to spend it in different ways? “ In my quest to provide some answers, I attended a Ad Sales Seminar hosted by the Florida Magazine Association. Ryan Dohrn, President of Brain Swell Media was the speaker.  Ryan had many ideas for publishers and here are what I consider to be the Top 10 list of tips I learned. This is certainly not a comprehensive list – the full day seminar detailed specific examples and exercises that publishers can do to make these concepts a reality.   These are simple (although not always easy) things that publishers and their ad sales team can do to grow ad sales and monetize the digital space. I hope you enjoy them! 1) You will need to work both harder and smarter to grow your ad sales, not just smarter. Traditional print ad buyers need to learn about the potential digital brings while online only ad buyers can be shown the value of paginated media. 2) The Direct Marketing Association tells us that you will need to touch a prospect 7-10 times before you get a sale. 3) Create data sheets for your advertisers with at most 10 data points that explain the size of both your print and digital audience. As 86% of people are visual learners, ensure that the content contains visual triggers...

Is Digital for Me? Helping niche publishers make good digital decisions

85% of magazines have an app, but what are the success stories? Three niche publishers shared their story via a webinar titled: Is Digital For me? – moderated by Lynn Rosen of Publishing Executive in November. This panel was assembled to reach a broad array of publishers: Business to Business and Business to Consumer titles Free and Paid Content Replica editions and content designed for digital This post includes links to each publisher’s take on digital publishing. Also included are follow-up answers to the questions posted during the webinar. (Due to time restrictions, we were unable to answer them all) These niche publishers shared their story: Jim Kushlan, Publisher, Editorial Director, and Co-Owner, 310 Publishing LLC  – This consumer title found new digital subscribers at a reasonable cost.  See details. Charity J. Delich, Marketing & Public Relations Manager, strategy+business, Booz & Company (N.A.) Inc. – This BtoB title moved from free to paid app to monetize content. See details. Justin Boling, Marketing Manager, Group Publishing – Engagement and customization will allow us to reach the largest audience. See details.  The full audio recording of the webinar is available here. We welcome feedback or requests for future webinars below. [contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’ type=’textarea’...

Niche magazine strategies to grow your audience

Focus on 310 Publishing LLC – AMERICA IN WWII Featured: Jim Kushlan AMERICA IN WWII is a popular history magazine that focuses on the American experience during the second World War. It is distributed traditionally to bookstore newsstands and is sold by subscription, reaching a circulation of approximately 20,000 subscribers. The never-ending lesson in history is that everything changes, eventually, believes publisher of AMERICA IN WWII, Jim Kushlan. He found out how much everything really does change in 2005 when he and his wife founded this title. Suddenly he was in a new territory – far from the days when direct mail was the most effective method of reaching an audience. Readers are no longer satisfied to only have print as an option. They demand good content and they want it in more than one format. He wondered if the up-and-coming world of digital publishing was his new avenue of choice. There were concerns – was this really necessary? A fleeting trend or here to stay? What will the costs be to produce? Initially Jim invested in a digital edition only to be read via computer screen but quickly added on apps for Nook, iPad, iPhone and Android. He chose a side-load app for Kindle (one that is downloaded to the device outside of the App Store). RELATED: Charity Delich, strategy+business, offers another strategy Jim found mobile apps to be a great way to find new subscribers. The AMERICA IN WWII app is a free app to download. Readers can access content via single issue or subscription. Production time and costs are minor as they upload one PDF that is used for all...

Digital strategies for niche publishers

Charity Delich – Marketing and Public Relations Manager for Booz & Company, Inc. strategy+business is a business and management magazine published by Booz & Company, Inc., and edited by Art Kleiner. It is distributed traditionally to bookstore newsstands and is also available for iPhone, iPad, and Android. strategy+business lends a B2B perspective on digital. Impacting their decision to transition to the digital arena was finding that aside from their website, strategy + business didn’t have much of a digital presence. They were curious to see how a small publisher could start in this space, so they began by looking to large publishers.  The goal – take the tactics skillfully executed by large publishers and apply them to niche publishing. RELATED: Justin Boling, Group Magazine, offers another strategy In answering these questions, these items stood out – content is king pick the right distribution platforms choose the right pricing model develop a strong marketing strategy. Content is King – At the end of the day, nothing matters more in B2B than the quality of the content. Platforms – Natively, strategy+business decided that iPad was critical but iPhone, Android and Nook were also important to reaching their audience. Pricing – strategy+business moved from offering a free app to paid, offering both subscriptions and single issue purchases. Strategy – An integrated marketing approach that includes digital editions and apps, as promoted via social media and their website ads. To drive advertising dollars, they are leveraging analytics to educate advertisers on digital impressions of their content. On an experimental basis, they share articles with Google Currents RESULTS – The magazine’s digital circulation base is growing rapidly....

One niche publisher’s advice – designing for digital works

Justin Boling – Marketing Manager Group Magazine, Unfiltered Magazine Group Magazine is a youth ministry publication that has been around for 30 years, but have only been digital for a little over a year. Justin says a big factor in their decision to go digital was their audience, a younger and tablet-savvy reader. When it came time to formulate their digital strategy,  their approach was to sit down and ask themselves what they wanted to include. Regarding content – print replica or digital content? Pricing – free or paid? Advertising – If we design for digital, how do we include advertising? WHAT THEY DECIDED Group Publishing checked with their readers and discovered two important reader preferences – a preference for native apps over browser viewing and a need for engaging content. Group Magazine‘s reader base is 50% volunteer youth workers. Audience size is the most important metric to Group Publishing and to their advertisers. The subscriber base for this title really responds to video. With the number of videos Group wanted to build in, a custom designed publication was easier than trying to retrofit pages designed for print. But videos also represent an advertising opportunity. “With a digital edition, the beauty is that you can offer more advertising options, such as videos,” says Justin. RELATED: Jim Kushlan, AMERICA IN WWII, offers another strategy ADVICE FOR DIGITAL PUBLISHERS Focus on what works for you and your brand. It’s often easy to look at competitors and try to decide if what worked for them would work for Group.  The truth is – it’s more important to focus on what works for you. If...