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5 ways to convert traditional into online magazine readers

Team PaperLit


Magazine readers are often a curious type who enjoy exploring and learning more about various topics. When you want to help your existing print readers become online readers, how do you get them to make that change?


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While there are some diehard print readers who feel uncomfortable about reading on a screen, for the most part, you can rest assured that your readership only needs the right sort of help and enticement in order to turn to your online magazine content. Here are five top tips for converting ‘traditional’ readers into online magazine readers.

1. Start by informing your readers that an alternative exists

For example, you may want to insert a call-to-action within your paper edition which informs and invites readers to check out your online edition. Some publications have taken advantage of the novelty and effectiveness of QR code technology. They will print a QR code with a teaser message which readers can scan using smartphones. Upon scanning, they are directed to your website or app for download.

Do not forget to show them a photograph or graphic in order to catch their attention and help them notice that you have added something new to your publication. For example, some publications show a small graphic of a smartphone scanning a QR code to let readers know that this option is now available.

2. Publish your magazine’s online URL or the link to your web store or app

Let your readers know where else they can find you – whether this is in your digital edition or on your website, across social media or anywhere else, you place extra and exclusive content.

Having the symbols of the social media you use on your print edition can show print readers that you are also available on social media. Many who read print also read and interact online, usually more than they realize during an average day. Simply having your email address handy on the masthead of your publication can increase reader interaction.

3. Offer premium content which print editions do not contain

For example, you might offer a selection of frequently updated content as featured on your website or mobile app. These could include videos, live feeds, discussions, links, commenting ability and more. Discussions with the authors of your stories, reader question panels and much more enrichen the experience for your magazine readers and keep them coming back for more information.

Once they are familiar with your new formats, they will enjoy the flexibility of your app or the extra content you provide which would be impossible in a print edition. Alerts, updates, and exclusive stories can help digital publication readers feel more engaged and connected to your magazine.

4. Use e-commerce to attract your readers

Offer ways to pay for editions easily online. Provide discounts and coupons to those who utilize your online content and digital publication. You could even start an online store featuring products related to your magazine’s core topics. Your e-commerce site can be a great place to launch promotions, and it will also give you invaluable information about your readers, information that a print edition would never convey back to you, the publisher.

5. Use giveaways

Try offering free subscriptions or even the ability to download the first edition for free. Make it easy for them to obtain back issues online. This allows your readers the time to familiarize themselves with your new formats before committing to buy them. Free editions show readers how much more interactive your online content is, and how much richer their experience becomes with your digital magazine. It is also a reassurance that the same features they love in the print edition are still going to be available in the digital one.

Get a feedback

The methods you use to convert your readers from die-hard print fans to digital editions may vary, but one important side benefit of creating new content and designing new ways to interact with your publication is the wealth of information you can obtain via the tracking tools which come with most forms of digital interaction.

This can help you see in real time who your audience is, what they prefer, and what they do not like about your publication. It is a form of feedback which is given to you without any extra forms to fill in or submit by your readers.

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