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Reading magazine articles on the web is different than delivering content in a print format. By addressing this simple fact upfront, magazines have an opportunity to still provide a unique experience on the web and other digital delivery platforms.

The very restricitions of a magazine are what make it possible to uniquely tailor each article. From the page count, to the maximum amount of articles allowed and the pliability of a static delivery mechanism magazines truly provide a unique experiece to every article in the magazine. But what happens when publishers lose control in the ways people read their content? When restrictions leveraged as advantage are removed?

The answer usually starts with a substantial amount if internal arguements from editors. Very poor delivery of your content online will degrade the value of it and not keep the attention of your audience. As a key challenge many magazine publishers also struggle with an effective way of getting their content online without consuming many many hours and assigning staff directly to the process.

 

So What's Available to Publishers for Getting Content on the Web?

The first thing you must accept is that people that read on the web today don't expect to read the same way they do from a magazine. While you love that high impact piece they are significantly more data driven wanting to get through the content much more quickly than if they we're reading the magazine. Think about when you pick up a magazine. You're usually in the comfort of your office, home, or maybe at a doctor's office casually reading through decompressing mentally from the day to day grind. When you read web content it's very nature is a much faster read, while the individual is still taking time from their day to learn more about the particular topic of the article the internet itself presents an untold amount of options and information to go through. So let's first talk about how best to display the content and setting up consistency for our readers. From that we can discuss how you can structure a streamlined article posting process that can reduce internal overhead by more than 65%.

Structure the Content

You can have one or many different views for how your article is displayed. The key is to address what's important and what defines different types of articles. Through our experience most magazine publishers have 2 - 4 unique different types of content that they publish. These types typically include featured articles, contributed articles, research pieces,  and articles that didn't make it to print.

  1. Featured Articles. These are usually much longer in length and key imagery is very important to support the articles focus.
  2. Standard Articles. These are featured in every article and images may still be relevant for grabbing interest but it's not as critical to the magazine.
  3. Research Pieces. This is particularly true for very focused magazines that are targeted towards a specific industry. By there very nature it's much harder to bring a standard design view to these pieces.
  4. Articles Left Out. This is a powerful piece for leveraging FREE CONTENT on the web. Many magazines get fabulous contributions that barely miss the cut for making it into the magazine. These usually just go to waste and end up in the "rainy" day bin. The issue with that is many of the pieces written that fall into this bin (like all articles) are relevant at that particular point in time. These don't require images or a ton of supporting information.

So for each of these we can clearly deduce that "Featured Articles" needs the ability for dynamic image upload with in article images and a slide show piece that allows for readers to flip through all of the supporting images with descriptions. When we look at at "Standard Articles" and "Articles Left Out" these pieces need structured area for small supporting images in the piece but if they aren't uploaded the sites template knows how to adjust. When it comes to "Research Pieces" if it's not a recurring static report or offer a constant structure this is more difficult to plan for. However, if it's even annual you can look at ways to structure the data into a reusable format.

XML is Your Friend

There is no easy way to say this. Quark is dying and it's time to move on to a more flexible platform. There is no question that Quark's unique focus on print is a strength but time has passed this group by and it's inability to export XML (the language of the internet) has basically become it's undoing. Leveraging a more scalable and "platform" focused tool set is required for you to find the capability to transition back and forth from both the web and the print world.

We recommend Adobe InDesign as it still presents substantial power in provding high impact print pieces but also allows for definable XML. What this means in simple terms is. Once your done creating your article you can export it to XML and import it into your web presence quickly without reworking the article for hours.

Ok, Now How Do I Get This Done?

Getting the right technology firm to integrate this solution will pay for itself many times over in reduced man hours, increased web engagement, better options for subscribers, and attracting new ones for both print and online versions. Our experiences working with some of the larger publication and periodical groups have proven this in a real world environment many times over. If you'd like to learn more about the different options and solutions please don't hesitate to contact the Unleashed Technologies team.

In a fast paced and quickly changing environment for how people want their unique content delivered it's truly and evolve or die situation for those focused on their magazines.