How to choose the right digital platform for your magazine

Oct 21, 2020 | Articles

Andrea Burgueño

Andrea Burgueño

Contributor

Despite the initial idea that digital would kill print media, digital has become a complementary part of many complex multimedia publishing strategies. It has clear advantages that could make it a very economical and profitable option. So, if you want to give it a go, the first thing you need to know is how to choose the right digital platform for your magazine.

Why launch a digital magazine?

There are many reasons why launching a digital magazine is a good idea. Take a look at some of them:

  • Data: it is a very effective way to gather data about your audience and their behaviour to improve your own strategy and performance
  • Massive distribution at a lower cost
  • Opportunity lo leverage other engaging media formats like video
  • Flexible formatting that could also be a good chance to produce a wider variety of contents
  • Amplify your audience by reaching mobile users

What to consider before choosing a digital platform for your magazine?

There are definitely a few questions that you’d need to think about before making a decision.

  • Are you already digital or do you want to start from scratch?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What’s your goal? Do you want to produce something different or just a digital version of your magazine?
  • How do you plan to monetize your magazine?
  • Is it time for you to start taking a closer look at your analytics?
  • What do my readers expect to experience?
  • How can I produce what my ideal reader wants at the lowest possible cost?

Answering these questions would give you a better idea of what you are looking for. This would be useful to decide whether you want to work with any of the platforms already available in the market or you need a custom platform.

Choosing the type of digital platform

If you are surprised to know that there are not just many platforms, but many different platform types, then let me help you understand this better.

  • Full-serve: if you need design and tech support, this could be what you are looking for. This type of service usually offers access to analytics, so that you can track the activity of your magazine. Also, if you want to focus on the creative or editorial aspects of the project, this is a pretty convenient option because your service provider will take care of the logistics of building the magazine.
  • Self-serve: if you are tech savvy then this is for you. Usually self-serve publishing platforms offer high quality technology and very good learning resources at a convenient price. So, if you just want to understand the basics of the process and your needs are still not very complex, this could be an option you might want to explore.
  • Custom: do you want something very specific? Are you able to envision next steps and scalability strategies? Do you know which features you’d like to implement in the future too? Then this is what you are looking for. However, you need to keep in mind that, before choosing this option, you will need to be able to plan things in the long-term and, also, ready to dedicate a lot of time to your project.
  • DIY: are you interested in designing and building your magazine? Then there are many companies that will offer you the tools for that.

Do you want to explore a few options?

If you want something more specific, here is a list of platforms to start looking into the easiest options that you have already available.

  • JOOMAG: one of the most common and cheapest options. It allows users to upload video, audio and other files and to start designing from PDF files. Also, users can sell and receive payments through the platform. Another great advantage is its price. There is a free plan for testing and an option for every stage of your project. However, the most popular plan only costs $149 a month.
  • Magloft: this platform makes it pretty easy to include PDFs and HPUBs in interactive designs. Basically users just need to drag-and-drop, which saves a lot of time. Apart from that, users can integrate animations, audio and video files really easily. Another great aspect is the super straightforward analytics. You can have a web and an android app for $199/monthly.
  • Magplus: very similar to Joomag, but it acts as a plug-in for Adobe InDesign, which is a great advantage for users who work with Adobe tools. The platform allows publishers to create digital media and export apps to platforms that publish them. The price of Magplus is a bit higher (starting from $499/monthly), but it compensates with great flexibility that other platforms don’t offer.

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