How to Launch a Digital Strategy in Less Than 60 Days
When I say “launch a digital strategy,” I mean every aspect of digital: online content, social media, e-newsletter, and even text messaging. True Digital Transformation. Everything your publication needs to reach an ever-growing digital audience where ever they are across the web, social and on their mobile devices.
January Spring and NOCO Style magazine partnered to launch the magazine’s digital strategy. We touched every aspect of digital: online content, social media, contests, e-newsletter, and ecommerce. We jumped into this project with a focused goal of branding and awareness of the magazine to grow the magazine’s digital audience by reaching readers with compelling content, wherever they are across the web, social and on their mobile devices.
January Spring took on the technology and marketing heavy lifting, so the publishing team could focus on what they do best–editorial and content development.
Digital Brings New Subscribers & New Revenue – A How-To
Taking full advantage of the great content NOCO Style creates, the two teams built a new, mobile-optimized, search-engine-friendly, easy-to-update digital presence featuring the magazine. With that as our foundation, we worked together to build a traffic-acquisition plan to drive new readers to the upgraded site and drive subscription sales. In mapping out the plan, we employed the right digital tools to best engage the desired audience: WordPress, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Mail Chimp, Wufoo ecommerce, Soci, and January Spring’s content curation tool.
1) Leverage Social Content
We went heavy on social media, combining it with paid online advertising and a strategic email marketing approach. The team built three detailed reader personas that describe who reads NOCO Style. The personas defined why readers like the magazine and what other media and content they are reading. To help round out the reader personas, January Spring researched social networks and groups that attracted these types of readers, the keywords used to attract them, and the hashtags those readers use to find content and other like-minded people. The team together developed a social content calendar, writing multiple social posts for each piece of magazine content. The posts are written with the keywords and topics that are most important to the reader personas. For example, the “Socialite” persona sees targeted, social media content on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter related to her interest in food, style and health. The content is tagged with #NOCOFoodies, #ColoradoLiving or #NOCOHealthy to make the content even more searchable and accessible to their readers.
2) Drive New Readers and Subscribers Through Paid Ads
The paid advertising model that January Spring has developed for NOCO Style Magazine starts with paid social campaigns to attract new readers to the online version of the magazine and new subscribers for the print magazine. The NOCO Style team smartly paired paid social with a monthly contest. The February contest asked readers and social followers to nominate their pet at the Cutest in NOCO. The response has been outstanding driving nearly 30% of the new site visitors during the month. The subscription campaigns running on Facebook and Instagram generated nearly 300 engagements during the two-week campaign ran in the last 30 days.
The next phase of paid advertising will extend to existing advertisers. NOCO Style has developed a new digital audience offering, so their current advertisers can take full advantage of the new digital audience being cultivated by the magazine.
3) Build on Your Email Subscription Strategy
NOCO Style magazine has followed up each of its social campaigns with a corresponding direct email campaign to its existing subscribers. Using the new January Spring email content curation tool, the Publisher will be able to reduce the time it takes to create her email newsletters to 15 minutes.
NOCO Style is driving meaningful traffic to their site. This new traffic will drive new subscribers to their print magazine, social media channels, and e-newsletter. This new audience creates added value for NOCO Style’s advertisers, who now have an opportunity to reach potential new customers, in unique ways.
With all-hands on deck, we executed this new strategy in just five weeks.
4) Develop New Revenue Sources
This approach has opened new sources of digital revenue for the magazine and created a significant increase in online revenue from advertising with a wide-open future for the next great idea.
- Email sponsorship from new and existing advertisers
- Website banner and tiles ads
- Recruitment and Classified ads
- Dining Guide
- Business Directory
- Event Calendar
- eEcommerce integration for online subscriptions, merchandise, event tickets
- Contests sponsored by advertisers that promote reader engagement
Providing Your Content in as Many Formats as Possible
The goal of a well-designed digital site is to complement the print magazine. It helps new readers and subscribers find quality content on the search engines. It provides flexibility for your readers, who sometimes want to read from their mobile devices or only want to engage online. And, it increases the exposure your advertisers’ have to your subscribers; creating new revenue streams.
Some Necessary Tools
Data is the tell-all. All digital magazines must have Google Analytics installed. You learn so much about the interest and behavior of your readers when you have the ability to track their actions and from where they come. January Spring pairs those metrics with a custom set of performance reports that helps the publisher, Tonja Randolph, and her team see all aspects of her digital business: what content is most consumed; when and where content is being found and by whom. All this new information is used to inform the editorial calendar, social media strategy and even which advertisers to approach.
We built the site with Google DoubleClick for Publishers integrated right into the content, creating new ad products for their sales team to sell online advertising to more of their current print clients. Instead of just “Run of Site,” advertisers can now sponsor sections that tie to their desired audience with these metrics.
All the content is tagged, and searchable. This gives the site an immediate search engine optimization lift, because all articles can now be found on Google. And, all those archived articles make great social media posts we can use to reach new readers on Facebook and other social platforms, thus bringing more subscribers and consumers to the site and giving them a reason to stay and come back.
From all that great content, the e-newsletter editor can now drag and drop to build their email campaigns. Creating a newsletter by hand can now be done in less than three-minutes verses days.
Perhaps most importantly, the new site has a subscription sign-up form front-and-center in the new design. It’s tied to the ecommerce integration we did, so the whole transaction can take place right there, on the site. This effort produced 39 new subscribers in the first week of the launch.
All this has helped NOCO Style owner and publisher, Tonja Randolph, achieve one of her top priorities—to acquire new readers.
“Digital is no longer an option to reach your subscribers, it is a MUST,” said Randolph. “Publishing is constantly changing, and our audience’s attention is now splintered among numerous channels. Niche media companies, like NOCO Style, need solid monetization strategies for social media, e-newsletters and editorial content.
“In order to grow your magazine’s readership, you have to invest in your digital platform. For us, at NOCO Style, partnering with experts in digital greatly accelerated our time to market. And, the partnership gave our team the foundation for years of growth.”