Why should associations and publishers create an app?

Business Apps

If you produce a full-blown glossy magazine, a newsletter or a blog, you’re a publisher! And by creating content you’ve done the hard bit… but are you making the most of it?

All the publishing pain, not enough marketing gain.

Working with clients on their content strategy affords us a constant reminder of how complicated and difficult the editorial process can be to instigate, create, edit and distribute publications of any type. It takes thought and time, and in some organisations this is considerable and painful – but still, it eventually happens and bingo, the publication is published. Rather surprisingly that’s often the end of it; all that effort and pain for one issue. Why?

1// Think multi-channel / We keep banging on about this (sorry if you’ve heard it all before) but people want to read what they want, when they want to and in a medium that’s right for them at that moment. So it makes sense to satisfy this behaviour, turning the pain into gain! OK, this applies to other channels as well, but for now let’s focus on keeping your readers appy!

2// Mobile explosion / Smartphones have been around for ages and their usage just keeps on growing. But add to the mix the proliferation of tablets with prices plummeting downwards to a point where affordable high-resolution tablets, perfect for consuming online magazine-type content, are available at less than £70 – thus increasing the appetite for mobile publication apps even more.

3// Keep your readers appy! / Digital publication downloads are up 170% year over year, and increasing by a rate of 40% per quarter.*

Did You Know? Digital publication readership mirrors that of print. The average time spent reading the digital issue of a magazine is 53.5 compared with 53.2 minutes for the print edition.*

4// Expand your audience / Digital publishing allows you to reach new readers, potentially in a global market, to diversify and expand your audience demographics. And apps are a good way to reach a younger demographic.

5// Engage your audience / ‘Showing’ versus ‘telling’ through the use of rich media such as video enhances the ‘infotainment’ value of the content, giving the reader an extra layer of experience over print. This provides a powerful tool for engaging customers.

6// Available 24/7 / People check their phone before they get out of bed, while they are having breakfast, on the way to work… and use a tablet whilst in front of the TV, at work and on longer trips. This makes your content available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.

7// Push notifications / Something important to say? No problem, you could automatically send push notification whenever content is updated or send targeted instant messages that pop up on the user’s screen.

8// Multi-device / People no longer use one method of reading content. They often start on a mobile, save it for later and continue on their tablet or desktop. Apple knows it – that’s why they connected all their devices. Make your content available offline by downloading to an app, so it’s accessible when and where required – and increase traffic to your website.

9// Offline mode / Cellular coverage and WiFi connectivity can be spotty, making it difficult to access web content. With an app you don’t need to worry about that, your readers have access to your existing content with or without an internet connection. OK, you can do this with a printed publication… but just saying.

10// Collect valuable customer data / Digital editions offer valuable insight into a publication’s readership, ie its reading habits, likes and dislikes. Analysing which pages are read the most and how much time is spent on individual pages gives you a more in-depth knowledge of your reader, adding a layer of information to your mailing lists and highlighting ways to take your publication forward.

11// Segment and niche / Use of analytical data can help you segment your audiences, creating personalised experiences for the reader based on who they are and what device they are using.

12// Localised / If you charge for your publication your digital editions can reach a global readership and, crucially, display and charge the correct price in the correct currency for their location.

13// Increase subscription revenue / If you offer a paid subscription, one-off feature issues, together with regular subscriptions can provide a boost to revenue by automatically selling recurring subscriptions on the back of (or as well as) selling single issue purchases and one-off special editions. Also, potentially generate revenue from any pre-existing web-based traffic which was previously unable to pay to access premium content.

14// Increase advertising revenue / Increase in readership alone can help raise demand for advertising. Put together a direct response mechanism with the prominence of a banner ad, the ability to segment advertising based on readers, and the use of mobile-only sponsored posts – and you have another revenue stream.

15// Build brand awareness / Your publication app sits on your reader’s device screen at all times. It may be small, but the app icon affords a constant reminder of your brand and a trigger to engage with you. Add in the push notifications and you have a new and targeted communication channel.

And all of this with no printing or distribution costs… oh! and it’s eco-friendly.

Not convinced that a mobile app version of your publication or content should form part of your multi-channel publishing strategy? Let us know why.

*Source:  MPA (Magazine Publishers Association)