Course Corrections: The Future of Magazines, Part Two
As with most things in life, you need to admit that you need to make a course change to institute a course change. The key is to make the course change prior to hitting the rocks.
From my viewpoint, when it comes to creating new touchpoints with audiences and marketers, I think most of the publishing industry made that broad-based and needed course change a long time ago and most are benefiting from that change.
Continuing with the highway analogy per Part One of this article, I offer below a few reasons for any course change you are planning. Why these? In my humble opinion, I think after you read them they will be, as the Declaration of Independence states, “self evident,” but just in case you miss the drift, the reason is simple and can be stated in a word: Readers (or customers, subscribers, or any other word that defines the “users” of any magazine, online or offline).
The goal is to better the user experience. User, a term which will replace subscriber as the definitive word for a publisher to focus upon, is where I see the future of magazines. Why user? To me the future of magazines and most other publications is not to only read them (hence the limits I place on using the term storehouse). To me, the interaction between the user and publication is an experience, which has a much more impactful and critical roll in the sales of the advertiser product than a place to store stuff.
To move from a storage model to an interaction based model you need to provide a way to get out of the storeroom, to the user-based model, directly, simply and with ease to the requested product services, link or interactive tool. In short, you need to design into the content a direct targeted, customized and personalized exit ramp.
‘Great,’ you say, but I say. ‘no, not yet,’ since in this world we move from screen to page, page to screen, screen to screen and back again. Once you have designed the needed exit ramp, you need to allow the user to get back onto the superhighway of publishing to continue their journey, while able to exit at a moments notice.
Sometimes in the great scheme of things users need to rest, think about their destination and maybe—just maybe—be open to an upsell or cross-sell. For that you need the rest stop. The rest stop is a combination of dialogue, engagement and measurement that allows the user time to think freely, make a correctly-balanced decision and see the brand in the best light.
The payoff—the true benefits of a predicted and designed course change—will be increased placements, diverse use of your advertisers’ marketing “spend” and greater broad diverse profits for the publishing organization.
Check out the next installment, Part Three, here next month. Need some immediate help, want to connect the dots and ask what is an entrance, exit, ramp or a rest stop and how you can use them to provide a more positive reader experience? Contact me and I will send you my publishing cheat sheet. Make a hard right under the overpass and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org