(E-)Reading the Tea Leaves of Digital Magazines
When people start using these tools personally, they have a change of perspective. If you don't use the tools personally, I don't know if you ever really quite understand how they work and why they're so important. To really be successful as a publishing company, you have to think like a digital native. And the only way that you can do that is to have everyone in your company using online tools to communicate.
And I don't mean just e-mail; e-mail is just regular mail with electronic efficiency. If you start a blog, that's a really different way to use the Internet. If you have a Facebook page, that's a different way to use the Internet. I've seen publishing companies encourage their sales staffs to reach out to customers through Facebook and LinkedIn. Take it the next step and make it part of your corporate culture.
INBOX: You've recently undertaken the Digital Magazine Ad Engagement report. What key findings did you take from the report, and what do those findings tell you about the digital magazine marketplace?
GORDON: I interviewed a lot of media buyers and publishers of digital magazines, and until recently there was a lot of skepticism that advertising could be a robust source of income. There's a lot of skepticism that still exists, but the arrival of all these e-readers and the launch of the iPad has changed the climate quite a bit. What really has to happen is for the media-buying community to recognize that this [digital magazines] is a legitimate advertising platform.
INBOX: What are some of the pros and cons of digital magazines?
GORDON: As circulation augmentation goes, digital replicas of print editions are a terrific tool. You get in the game and start to understand how an online version of your publication will function. As digital readers become more commonplace, and there becomes more of a market for digital magazines, you'll have learned a lot of lessons that your competition hasn't. There's an inevitable digital migration that the magazine format is going to go through.