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3 Questions to Ask Before Taking Print to Digital

Out with the old, in with the new. For the digital landscape, this means print publications are reducing their production numbers.

Since handheld devices like smartphones, iPads, and Kindles have taken off, readers have shifted from reading printed newspapers and magazines to digital devices. And after 80 years, Newsweek announced on New Year’s Eve that it was going all-digital in 2013.

So what could cause a print giant like Newsweek to cave to the digital platform? The answer is simple: advertising.

It’s true that readers have moved much of their reading to digital devices, but the lack of print advertising dollars is the main driver affecting print publications on such a large scale. If you find yourself in a similar situation and are thinking of taking your print publication digital, consider these three lines of questioning to ensure a smooth transition:

  1. What kind of site do you need? Are you going to use a Content Management System (CMS) or will the site be designed from scratch? Are there publications similar to yours that have made the switch and what did they use (and did it work)? What’s the time frame for the transition? How much money will this realistically save you – and will that offset any expected decline in readership? Once you’ve spent some time assessing and planning, you’ll be in a better place to make confident decisions.
  2. Who is your audience? Who is reading your publication? Where and when are they reading it? Are they a demographic that is likely to make the switch to digital? What are they are looking for when they pick up your product? What digital features can you give them to make a transition worthwhile? 
  3. Who are your advertisers? Publications don’t just decide to go digital on a whim, and advertising is the most obvious reason anyone makes the switch. The Internet can be both a gift and a curse because it offers unlimited space for little cost, so you need to figure out how you’re going to capture your audience and advertisers with a high quality product. Consider which of your current advertisers will transition with you, and identify holes that you will need to fill. Think outside the box when looking for new advertising avenues.

While your publication may be getting a new face in the digital space, you need to make sure you know who you are and who your audience and advertisers are before you make your move.