Top 10 marketing tools for digital publishers
Starting a new digital magazine or looking for ways to boost sales for your publication? Monetizing online content is no easy task. Luckily, there is a diversity of online tools (many of which are free or low cost) which can help you reach the right audience and grow your readership. We’ve put together a list with our top 10 favorites.
1. An optimized website
A good website that is optimized for mobile and search engines is crucial for online publishers. An attractive website will have a creative and elegant design, logical navigation and a straightforward content structure. Make sure to include subscription options on your website, such as newsletters and RSS, so your readers can stay tuned. If you need assistance with SEO and user experience design, visit sites like Elance and Fiverr to find specialized consultants who can help you for a reasonable price. A user friendly content management system is also a must. WordPress is a popular and low cost option, with beautiful template designs often starting at $30 on Themeforest and similar sites. The advantage of using WordPress is that you also get access to a plethora of plugins which can make your life significantly easier – for instance plugins for SEO, conversion tracking, social sharing and analytics. Concrete5 and Squarespace are some alternative CMS options.
2. Email newsletters
Email newsletters are a great marketing tool that can keep your audience coming back for more. But first you have to get your subscribers to read them. The folks at Hubspot have written extensively on this subject. We’ve summarized a few of their best practices below:
- Choose a topic and frequency for your newsletter so your audience always knows what to expect
- Think of creative subject lines
- Pick a primary call to action
- Stick to minimal content and design
- Make the images clickable and make sure they have Alt text
- Always include an option for people to unsubscribe
If you’re looking for an email marketing tool to get started, check out Mailchimp. They have transparent and affordable pricing and a free plan for up to 2,000 subscribers.
With more than 1.35 billion users, Facebook is number 3 on our list. According to Shareaholic, Facebook drives the largest share of social media traffic referrals for websites making it a powerful tool to spread your content.
Post frequently and optimize your content before you post it on your publication’s page. Read this post for specific guidelines.
After Facebook, the biggest social referral source for publishers is often Pinterest. Needless to say, Pinterest is a platform where you can show off your magazine’s imagery. It’s important to post high quality visuals that link back to your publication’s site. Pinterest has published a few tips and tricks for content creators, some of which are listed below:
- Install the official Pin It button on your website to make it Pinterest friendly. This makes it easy for your readers to share your content.
- Use high-quality, vertically-oriented images
- Write thoughtful Pin descriptions that provide context
- Get article Rich Pins to highlight your article headline, author and story description
- Learn what captivates your audience with Pinterest Analytics
Twitter is another tool that you can use to spread your content. Though it is not as powerful a traffic source as Facebook, it is still a wonderful platform that you can leverage to increase your reach. But there’s definitely a secret sauce, you need to create great stuff to share! Boring headlines and automated tweets will simply not cut it. Some best practices include:
- Tweet often and repeat content throughout the day. According to Digiday, top magazine brands tweet about their most popular articles more than 25 times per day!
- Timing matters, tweet at different times to reach more users
- Tweet interesting content and don’t use the same tweet for each article, spice things up with quotes and clever content bits.
- Use images when you tweet, treat these as a preview of the full-length spread on your publication.
- Find and use relevant hashtags for your audience
With more than 100 million users, Instagram is another popular social network among content creators. Catchy images, paired with the right bit of text, are crucial to reap the benefits of this platform. What do successful publishers do on Instagram?
- They post beautiful and impactful images.
- They post 1-10 photographs per day.
- They engage with their community, asking them to tag their friends or post comments. And they’re often funny.
- They offer readers added value: like a sneak peek of a coming issue or a behind-the-scenes look of one of their photo shoots.
- They ask their readers to contribute by letting them submit content or choose the next version of their magazine cover.
A blog can also be a great marketing tool, if used and maintained appropriately. Use your blog to offer sneak peeks of your magazine content and write complementary pieces. Always include a link to your publication in your posts and use available banner space to get your audience’s attention. Make sure your posts are search engine optimized as well (click here for more tips).
Issuu (a Peecho partner) is a fantastic digital publishing platform that can boost exposure for content owners. The platform is home to 21 million publications and 85 million avid readers. Its set of publisher tools include an embeddable reader that you can customize and place on your website or blog, a mobile HTML5 reader that works on all major mobile browsers, social sharing features, and native iOS and Android apps (not to mention our very own print on demand integration *wink wink*).
9. Giveaways and contests
Giveaways and contests are also interesting. Offer your readers a free issue or get them to participate in a contest to drive engagement. There are several tools that you can use to organize contests and giveaways. Unbounce, for instance, is a neat tool that you can use to set up landing pages with little to no programing knowledge. Remember to set clear contest guidelines and communicate a time frame in advance.
If you have a small budget, you can also use tools like Adwords and AdRoll (re-targeting) to promote your publications. Content recommendations are another form of “advertising” that can boost your readership. There are a couple of tools available for content recommendations:
- Outbrain features your content on the world’s top media sites. Their “amplify” feature displays your content as recommendations on the web’s largest content publishers including sites like CNN.com, Slate and ESPN. The more interesting your content and the more traffic you drive, the more it will be recommended around the web.
- Taboola helps you build traffic by recommending your content in other publisher sites. Like Outbrain, they help you reach the right audience through content discovery.
Was this post useful? Got any other tools you like to use to promote your digital publication? Share your thoughts in the comments.