If you’d taken a cue from my recent article on the rise of digital magazines, this next piece would come as no surprise. Online super publication HuffPo has officially ventured into offering its 43 million readers a new weekly digital newsmagazine called Huffington – available exclusively through the Apple Store.
Looking Ahead: How Digital Magazines Will Reshape Content
1) Now that digital magazines are gaining ground, you can expect the shape of content to change dramatically, and quickly. First, established web content will need to beef up its presence and delivery. It’s not just a matter of offering people content. There’s so much content going around these days that you have to offer better content more frequently. The key is better content. So stop saying what everyone else is saying. Rather, find a more creative and attentive way of saying it, and find something unique to say.
2) HuffPo is essentially just another newspaper. But Huffpo is a really interesting case study simply because they were one of the first newspapers to start digitally in an age where newspapers were dying. Newspapers and magazines suffered the cost of printing large stories, and with the cost of printing plus advertisers shying away from a dying breed, publishers had to axe longer stories and narratives.
With digital magazines gaining momentum, all that is going to change again. The pendulum is swinging back in favor of longer narratives and essays simply because a lot of people still crave that content (when it’s quality content) – and publishers have found an inexpensive way to deliver it. After all, whether you publish a digital story that’s 600 words or an essay of 8,000 words, you’re not really paying more for it and you can have the same advertisement across all pages. The only thing you’re paying more for is the writer.
3) So expect that content is going to get competitive and there’s only a handful of good writers out there. The question will be who’s going to get them? The blogs and quick content platforms, or digital magazines?
While some people are asking this question, there isn’t really a war between publishers. Both platforms offer unique content and writers rarely straddle the fence. A good writer will either be good at quick content or longer narratives – rarely both. The styles are too different and with that the readership also shifts.
4) On that note, while this move increases the competition for reader attention (and especially capturing an audience), the delivery styles are different enough that magazines with longer narratives will only attract a certain type of readership. It will attract those people that aren’t interested in bite size information.
5) Yet, if you’re a publishing titan like Huffpo (or any competitive real publication), you’re going to want to divert into both venues. You’ll want the quick bite size content available on your website – the 500 to 700 word pieces. But you’ll also need to be catering to a more refined audience still interested in “real journalism” or real narratives.
Digital magazines are of course yet another source for profit. Huffpo, for example, is offering its Huffington magazine at 99 cents per issue or subscription at a rate of $1.99/month. If you’re going to follow the Huffpo’s lead, then consider what type of publication you are. If your readers aren’t interested in news and information, your magazine won’t need longer entries. Instead you can offer unique content that diverges from what initially drew your readers in. Of course, there’s no point in venturing into magazines if you haven’t yet developed a loyal online following.