We work with a number of organizations that have print publications. Many of our association clients, for instance, publish a monthly, quarterly, or annual magazine or newsletter in print that they distribute to members.
We often get asked for advice on the best way to offer this magazine online. Great question! Let's look at a few ways to do this.
There is more than one way to make your magazine available online but it's important to consider certain factors like usability, internal resources, and how it fits into your overall marketing plan.
Here are a few ways to approach it.
1. Turn it into a website
While this is the most resource-intensive route, it is by far the best. By creating an entire website devoted to your magazine, you gain all sorts of benefits. Not only will you gain SEO points, but you will give your readers an easy way to navigate and browse your content the way it was intended on the web.
If your magazine is a website, articles get their own pages, content can be easily shared, and it's just a good user experience. This will require a good Content Management System and some time to keep up with content, but it is worth it.
2. Publish it as a downloadable PDF
If time and resources are an issue, the next best thing might be to simply export the magazine as a PDF. By offering it as a PDF, you give your readers the option to view it via computer, iPad (or other tablet), or mobile phone. It's not ideal but it is the quick and easy way.
As a bonus, you can also use your PDF download as a landing page offer. Consider asking for registration information before downloading and then nurture your leads through an Inbound Marketing campaign.
3. Embed it using SlideShare
You can also export to PDF but then upload the magazine to SlideShare. Then, you can embed it on your website using embed code and the magazine will be viewable like a slideshow with clickable pages. This not only creates the "page turning" illusion, but adds some SEO benefit since SlideShare carries some search authority. This is not an ideal solution but it will get the job done.
4. Use a third-party magazine hosting app
Disclaimer: this is a really really bad option. We don't recommend it. However, for some reason we still see people using it to embed a flippable magazine on a website. This is the worst option because it shoves a browsing habit from the physical world (flipping magazine pages) into an online context and you end up with the worst of both worlds.
By forcing the user to switch to a user interface that doesn't belong on the web, you are likely to frustrate them. If you really must to this, one service that can do it is ePageCreator. One nice thing about this service is that it will allow you to create magazines for iPad and other tablets, where these problems don't apply. On a tablet, you do want to offer a flippable magazine experience.
If possible, turn your magazine into a full website. It will offer your users the best experience and bring you the most SEO benefit. Otherwise, think about how your audience consumes content and offer them a format that is convenient for them.