Here’s what the
National Business Aviation Association learned about its content, its members,
and promotion when launching a digital magazine.
|Stephanie Kern |
to The Brand Flip by Marty Neumeier, "An explosion of connectivity, and
the power it gives customers, is turning companies upside down. The question
isn’t whether your company will be disrupted — but when.”
through augmented or virtual reality, beacon technology or Cloud servers,
technological disruption is here to stay. While the debate rages over whether
or not print is dead, some publishers believe that digital magazines are the
new standard. In "How to Soar Your Magazine into the Digital Sphere,”
AM&P16 Annual Meeting presenter Debbie Bates-Schrott of Bates Creative
outlined how she used Adobe Digital Publishing Suite to create a digital
magazine for the National Business Aviation Association, which in turn created
increased reader engagement, better communication among departments within the company, and
greater accessibility to content.
jumping on the digital magazine bandwagon, Bates says there are several things
your association should answer:
do we need a digital edition?
platform is right for our organization?
options do our readers need?
are the deployment options?
Is a Different Animal
true digital magazine is not simply a replica of the print version — it is a
completely separate file and process. Considerations about fonts (they must be
larger online), the use of icons and graphics (you must incorporate more online
to maintain engagement), and content types (there are options for different
types of engagement available online) are essential.
the digital format imposes no length restrictions, videos, extra sidebars, or
entire features can be added. Also, the digital space will require different
file types and sizes of ads, so be sure to let your advertisers know.
Generally, a digital magazine requires a visuals-first mindset — and visual
storytelling is much more likely to engage readers than text-heavy
always a good idea to consider your audience’s needs when creating any new type
of publication. When first creating the digital magazine, NBAA assumed that its
readers would only utilize laptops or tablets to read. When the process was
finished, the association learned that many users were trying to access the
magazine via their mobile devices — to no avail. An update coming this year
will fix that.
addition to readers, the digital magazine’s audience also includes internal
clients — employees working in different departments that may be affected by
new schedules, requests for more or more-engaging content, or other new
the Digital Change
you build it…readers might not come. Once you’ve identified the right platform
to use, considered reader and internal client needs, and started the digital
makeover, give your readers a heads-up about the change — before, during, and
after the implementation. Let them know why you’re making the change and what
the benefits and different capabilities are, and encourage them to provide
feedback. Invite readers again and again to use the digital version via direct
once you’ve made the jump into the digital sphere, use the new tools available
to you to analyze and track statistics about open and click-through rates,
average time users spend reading, and more so you know what’s working and what’s
not — and can make your digital publication the best it can be.
Kern is assistant editor at the American Staffing Association.Association Media & Publishing sincerely
appreciates her volunteering to cover this Annual Meeting session for those who
were unable to attend.