custom digital publishing is the future
Gregg Hano, CEO of Mag+ outlines five reasons custom digital publishing and mobile publishing in general make sense for everyone. Image source: iStock/pma2010

Whether they know it or not, most companies and organizations are publishers. Brochures, sales collateral, presentations, annual reports, training materials, schedules and catalogs are all custom publications. Today, just as magazine and newspaper publishers have already discovered, tablets and smartphones are opening up a world of new communications opportunities to engage audiences, whether they are internal, (within a company), or external, (readers). In some instances, digital publishing is even providing new revenue streams for companies. Museums are creating digital publications for visitors; universities are using them for course schedules, alumni magazines, admission materials and other specialty publications; sports franchises are using them to share content and keep fans engaged and corporations are using them for new business proposals.

Why should you consider adopting digital publishing in your business? Here are just a few reasons.

1) It’s “Business Progressive”– When you are trying to make a good impression, presentation matters. Companies are always looking for visually appealing ways to convey information. In the early ‘90s, presentations were commonly done via printed slides and overhead projectors, (sometimes we had to lug the projectors on planes). Then came simple PowerPoint slides on InFocus projectors, then came fancier presentations built with flash. Today, companies looking to stay ahead of the technology curve are using apps on tablets. This hasn’t become a mainstream trend but it will, and that’s the point. Be a trendsetter!

2) It’s engaging – Digital publishing provides a whole new “canvas” with a host of new creative opportunities. Images, audio, video and copy can be used in concert to create a multimedia user experience that’s hard to replicate in any other medium. For example, street fashion company WeSC recently created an iPad/iPhone “magazine” filled with compelling photos and articles. The models in the photos just happen to be wearing WeSC clothing. And when readers see something they like, they’re able to click on the photo and buy it. Is it a magazine? Yes. Is it a catalog? Yes. Is it effective? Indeed it is.

The Chicago Bulls recently created an iPad magazine called The Bulletin that provides photos and updates immediately following the end of all the Bulls’ games. This app not only provides a great way to keep fans engaged with the brand on a daily basis, but it is also a new revenue stream, via advertising for the franchise.

3) It’s cost effective – Printing has gotten cheaper, but can still be expensive. Paper, manufacturing and distribution charges add up quickly. And, once something is printed it can’t be changed. Apps can be changed at will and content can be added on an ongoing basis. Imagine, now a change to a document can be made and distributed to your entire organization as quickly and easily as touching ‘Update’ on your tablet/smartphone app!

4) It’s easy – Most organizations either have an internal person or easy access to vendors for help with print materials, which are most often created using a program like Adobe’s InDesign. Now, anyone able to use InDesign can create an app, even summer interns. All that is needed is a platform designed for that purpose.

5) It’s measurable – Most app publishing platforms make it very easy to deploy analytics. Checking how much time a representative spends in a sales presentation, or on a given page, how often that app is accessed or what links are clicked is a sales director’s dream come true! There are also a host of other actions that are quick and easy to monitor. This can help designers improve design and content and help marketing departments develop more effective materials. It can also be a great way to see if employees are actually reading the materials they are supposed to be reading.

As tablets and smartphones become ubiquitous, more and more businesses and organizations will continue to find clever ways of using them. Getting started is easy and now’s the time to do just that.

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