April 27, 2022 (Updated: January 3, 2024)
Thanks to digital publishing, your target audience can access their favorite content—like magazines, newspapers, journals, and books — anytime, anywhere in the world. But what is digital publishing, and how can your company take advantage of this technology? Find out in this guide.
Digital publishing, also called electronic or online publishing, is the distribution of a variety of online content, such as journals, magazines, newspapers, and eBooks. Through this process, any company or publisher can digitize documents and information that people can view online, download, sometimes manipulate, and even print out or share otherwise, if they choose. People can access digital content on different devices, such as:
While written content is often the focus of this field, the type of media you can publish actually extends beyond that. Videos, podcasts, infographics, and digital animations are other forms of content your company can share through digital publishing.
It may sound easy to tell the difference between print and digital media based on just their names. Print media is any type of media that’s tangible that you can pick up, touch, read, or view. Digital media, in contrast, appears online or on digital screens only.
But the publications you choose or the information you can find from either may be very similar. Both include long-form publications like magazines, newspapers, and books. They also both include marketing materials like flyers and brochures.
The biggest difference between the two is where you can view them, the immediacy of access, and sometimes the cost. Print media is always tangible, while digital media is always online. You can often access digital media more quickly and from anywhere because it’s available on the internet with access from any connected device.
And sometimes print media publications may cost more than their digital counterparts because there are more resources and materials that go into creating them.
Image via iStock by anyaberkut
Content developers, readers, and viewers alike are moving away from traditional publishing methods and relying more often on digital publishing because of print media’s limitations. For businesses, this may be a longer publishing process, or, for readers, decreased ease of access to content or information. Compared to old-school publishing methods, digital publishing has immense benefits, such as:
Digital publishing can help your business attract a broader audience. It’s a preferred resource for content distribution because it allows you to make your information available to billions of people around the world.
According to Statista, as of 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users worldwide. That’s a lot of eyes on your content. People rely on digital publications for their convenience. If you create content that’s mobile-friendly and high-quality, you’re likely to increase your subscribers and followers over time.
Mistakes happen, even to the best writers and editors. Having the ability to fix a mistake quickly, such as a misspelled name or the wrong number in a statistic, minimizes the error’s impact on your brand. Digital publishing allows you to access your content and create documents anytime, anywhere, and change those errors, something you couldn’t do with a print publication.
Digital publishing gives you the opportunity not just to connect with a larger audience, but to target messages specifically for niches and segmented demographics. Use calls-to-action (CTAs), relevant advertisements, and pop-ups throughout your content to reach certain members of your audience in a personalized way.
You can also create content based on specific keywords that appeal to your target audience and provide them with the most value in your industry or niche.
Digital publishing is a cost-effective tool to distribute your organization’s message. Materials like paper are expensive, and so are the wages or salaries of the number of people involved in a traditional publishing process.
Electronic publishing is a cost-effective way to get your information to your followers. It doesn’t come with many of the common expenditures that print does, no matter how many people view your content. It can save your business money by reducing or eliminating expenses, like printing, shipping, and distribution.
Digital publishing has the potential to generate more revenue and improve your return on investment (ROI) compared with traditional publishing. Because your expenses are lower, the profit you make from the sales, subscriptions, or transactions for your digital media is higher.
You can also leverage strategies like affiliate linking and organic search to help you get more exposure and reach with less advertising money spent.
Any company that produces written or visual content can engage in digital publishing. If you have access to a computer or the funds to partner with a digital publishing service, you too can be part of this group. As a digital publisher, you not only can create and distribute content online, but you can also reap other perks such as:
Digital publishing and digital media are a wide-reaching industry. Different companies use digital publishing for a variety of reasons, depending on factors like target audience, content diversity and relevancy, and specific strategies.
Depending on a company’s combinations of these types of factors, they may choose one of three popular digital publishing business models to incorporate into their marketing strategy. These business models are:
Digital publishing platforms are the tools you can use to create, edit, and share your content online. Many also include features that help you generate traffic to the content, track metrics, and learn how to improve things like search engine optimization for each piece.
Digital publishing platforms can come as do-it-yourself programs you can run on your own and self-publish your content. They can also come as content marketing agencies that provide all the resources you need to get your content online.
Just as digital publishing as an industry has benefits for companies, using an online publishing platform also boasts perks like:
Digital publishing platforms offer tools and services that allow you to track the performance of your online content. When you have these metrics, it’s easier to measure progress and ensure that your users get the best experience possible when accessing your pieces. With this data, you can learn vital information that can influence future content and campaigns such as:
As we said, digital publishing isn’t just for written content. Online publishing platforms have the capabilities to let you share more than just articles and blog posts with your audience. You can integrate media into your content marketing strategy by producing pieces like:
Digital publishing platforms allow you to share your content with multiple sources at one time. Unlike in print media, where if you publish an article in a newspaper, the only way your audience can see it is by purchasing a copy, you can spread your information around the internet to a variety of sites.
Through authority-building and content syndication strategies, along with social media promotion, online publishing platforms let you reach your audience where they consume information without requiring you to put in any extra effort.
Whether you intend to self-publish your content or work with a production service, here are six internet publishing platforms you can start using today:
Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) brings content development and digital asset management together in one place. It provides publishing options through a variety of apps, such as 3D composition. AEM uses machine learning to scale efforts and produce, handle, deliver, and optimize your content.
The tool allows you to adapt content to your user preferences and uses artificial intelligence (AI) for tagging, cropping, and distribution. This tool may require help from an expert development team for initial configuration and technical support.
WordPress is an affordable CMS and digital publishing platform. This service allows you to host your own website and publish a variety of content to attract new readers and subscribers. You can use the service for free, with limitations, or pay for additional features such as customization, plugins, and web hosting.
You can likely set up the service yourself, without the help of a technical team. But you can always refer to WordPress’s knowledge base to help you with any troubleshooting.
StoryChief has a built-in SEO tool that allows publishers to produce interactive articles across multiple channels with a single click. This functionality enables businesses to create more leads while saving production time on every piece of content. The program doesn’t require any initial integration to get started.
Its user-friendly dashboard shows all the information and metrics you need for each campaign in one place. But it doesn’t have a digital management system and requires help from another CMS to reach your full publishing potential.
Issuu is one of the top digital publishing platforms for digital magazine development. Its subscriber-based method allows your audience to read the content they want without distractions from ads, as they may get with other online content. Issuu also lets you, the publisher, pre-schedule campaigns, making it easier to plan your content in advance and launch it on time, every time.
If you’re in the eBook business, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing may be an option for you. The self-publishing platform allows you to upload and share your content with its extensive consumer and subscriber network.
The interactive interface lets you edit the content after publication and publish books quickly for a small fee. You can also earn royalties on your content if you sell your eBooks, rather than offering them as free downloads.
Use these steps to engage in the digital publishing process to create content for your audience online:
Why are you creating content? It might sound like a daunting question, but the first step in the publication process is always to know why you’re doing something. What’s the long-term plan? What value does this content provide for your audience and your company?
Knowing exactly why you’re creating a piece of content can help make the rest of the digital publishing process go more smoothly.
Which type is most engaging for your target audience? Where do you intend to publish your digital content? Which medium may best showcase all the important points of your content?
Choose what type of publication best suits the content and one that can help you reach the goals you set in step one. Digital publishing covers a wide range of content types, such as:
Depending on which type of publication you choose, you may create written copy, static or dynamic visuals, or a combination of both. Work with your marketing writers and graphic designers to prepare the first draft of your publication copy and visuals.
Though the content may be high quality and ready to publish from the beginning, it may also go through several revisions before your target audience ever reads a word or views an image.
If you use a digital publishing service, there may be a review period before your content can move to the next steps. This phase can go one of two ways:
ONE: Your marketing writers and graphic designers submit their content to the publisher to review to ensure it meets the right standards, such as file size, piece length, or other required parameters to use the service.
TWO: The publishing company submits the content drafts to you, the client, to ensure that the writing and design meet your needs and expectations.
Sometimes the submission and review phases follow step five, engaging in editing and quality assurance (QA). For example, with CopyPress’s agency solutions, we write, design, edit, and QA your pieces before submitting them for client review and approval.
After content approval through a publishing service or before you self-publish your content to the world, engage in an editing and quality assurance process. In this phase, have a professional editor and QA team member check your copy for things like grammar and spelling, flow, and consistency.
Other things to watch for include style guide, visual aesthetics, and any other details that could influence your content performance and audience’s experience with it. This phase may also include your writers and designers if the content needs heavy revisions before publication.
When your content is polished and ready, publish it to the world. If you self-publish your content, this may include uploading it to your website, blog, or another online repository. If you work with a publishing service, this may include those same channels, along with content syndication to other sites, or publications within another entity, such as in a journal or newspaper. This stage is where your audience can access the content for the first time and show interest in it or share their feedback and comments.
Once you’ve published your content to its permanent viewing location, you can share links to it through other means, such as social media. You can also use your pieces to create internal links on your website or to share content through your email newsletters or text messaging platforms. Sharing your content on other platforms can help with brand awareness and audience engagement.
Track the performance of your content to see if it’s meeting your initial project goals. You can use programs like Google Analytics to track your web metrics, including:
Tracking metrics on each piece of content can help you learn what’s popular with your target audience. It can also tell you which pieces are most engaging or on what topics they’d like to see more information. This can help you plan for your next publishing cycle and guide your content marketing strategy.
One benefit of digital publishing is the ease with which you can make changes and updates to your content. Even evergreen content can benefit from updated statistics, sources, or links over time. Check your old content regularly to ensure it’s still factual and valuable for your audience. Make updates yourself or through your publishing service as needed.
Digital publishing makes the convenience of sharing valuable information with your target audience easier than print publication methods of the past.
CopyPress provides a fractional content marketing team of skilled project managers, writers, and designers to develop your content without sacrificing the freedom and veto power of self-publishing. With our Content Create service, your company can create, distribute, and scale high-quality content that generates results.
More from the author: