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Should You Really Be A Digital First Publisher?

Gone are the days when people simply picked up a newspaper, magazine or turned on the television for entertainment, education or news. Now more than an ever, people are turning to digital devices. According to CMO by Adobe, From August 2012 to February 2013, there was a 200 percent average growth in readers of digital publishing apps. The reason for this is pretty simple. In today's society, people want their information now, and easily available at their fingertips. Computers, smartphones, laptops and tablets make that possible. If your company has yet to make digital its primary focus, below are a few things you may want to consider.

The Pros

•You'll reach a larger audience
Search engines make it super easy for people to discover new online material daily. As a result, this gives publishers the ability to reach millions of people across the globe almost instantly. To put this into perspective, The Financial Times currently has more than 285,000 digital subscribers - almost as high as its 305,000 print circulation.

•You'll generate additional revenue
As a digital publisher, it provides you with an extra way to make money. According to eMarketer, U.S. newspaper print ad revenues are expected to drop significantly in the coming years, slipping to $16.4 billion in 2016 from $19.14 billion in 2012. Digital revenues, however, will edge up to $4 billion from $3.4 billion over the same time period

•It's cost-effective
Running a digital first publishing site is relatively cheap. You typically pay for hosting fees, a web domain and site design. The costs can range anywhere from $200 to a couple of thousand. It really depends on how fancy you want to get with your digital publication. The good news is, however, once you begin implementing Google AdSense, Yahoo ads, etc. - you'll easily recover the costs associated with launching a digital site in not time.

•It offers flexibility and instant editing
Let's face it. No one is perfect. Mistakes happen. When a newspaper, magazine or other published piece of work hits book stores or newsstands, if mistakes are present, they are permanent. However, in the digital world, that is not the case. Mistakes can be corrected in a matter of seconds.

The Cons

•Building an audience takes time
For publishers who already have traditional versions of their magazines, newspapers, etc available to the public, it's generally easier for them to make the transition into online publishing because they already have a following. For publishers launching strictly online, it will take time to generate a following. However, great social media marketing, frequent content and stories that interest people will help online publishers gain traction in the world of digital publishing.

•Income may be slow to start
When launching a "digital first" publication, traffic will be slow to start. As a result, revenue will be small. Over time, as more people flock to the site, viewership will begin to gradually increase. This will obviously translate into a bigger profit. The goal is to remember to be patient. After all, Rome wasn't built in a day, right?

•It takes dedication
To truly be successful in the realm of digital publication, you must be persistent and dedicated. A site that lacks regular, fresh content will not attract viewers. This must be done daily. After all, you want to keep readers coming back for more and give them something to look forward to.

What to consider

According to the MPA, users with both mobile and tablet access spend 23 percent of their engagement time reading magazines on their smartphones. When it comes to tablets, that number stands at a whopping 75 percent. Clearly, there's no denying the appeal of digital media. However, when deciding if this option is right for you, consider:

•Will your digital publication appeal to a wide audience?
•Do you have the manpower to update it daily?
•Will companies want to advertise on it?
•What makes your digital publication different from the competition?
•Can I survive on traditional media alone, or is it time to make a change?

As more people become connected to the Internet, through their mobile devices, digital media will ultimately surpass traditional forms of media. Think about it. PC World, Golf World and Jet are just a few of the leading magazines to end their print versions recently and become strictly available online. You can bet they won't be the last publications to make the switch to a digital first publication. It's definitely something to think about.

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