It is time to be more than just a front cover.


Competition in the magazine market is fierce. If Cosmopolitan draws you in with ‘50 ways to get a guy into bed’, you can be sure that Glamour will try to seduce you with ‘100 tips to improve your performance’. It’s surprising that magazines remain around 200 pages long, considering the constant battle for who has the longest list of tips and trends.

And why are these numbers so important to magazine editors? The front cover – it’s as simple as that. This magic number will be printed boldly on the front page, usually next to latest ‘IT’ person wearing an outfit no other human being could pull off, in an effort to draw in the masses. Quite frankly, the newsstand is basically one big battle of the ego’s – “my number’s bigger than yours”. Indeed, so popular is this sort of numbered content that it has earned the moniker ‘clickbait’.

Taking a step back, when Apple launched Newsstand in 2012, they replicated the physical store digitally, with all magazine icons being that of the latest front cover, which – at the time at least – made sense. This was what publishers were used to and were comfortable with – it also provided readers with the same browsing experience they have become accustom to. The battle of the egos continued, this time online, and everyone was happy.

Now it is time to be more than just a front cover.

The impending demise of the Apple Newsstand brings so much scope for magazine publishers – liberated from the constraints of the ‘traditional digital replica’, the future of digital magazines is now only just beginning. The front cover has ‘gone’ and is to be replaced with a simple icon. Digital readers will no longer be basing their buying decision solely on which magazine has the most enticing front image. Publishers can create a portal and open up a world of opportunity to attract and capture new subscribers. It is no longer about the latest edition – it’s demonstrating what your brand and app can offer readers as a whole. Moreover, readers’ expectations will now be of a magazine publisher offering an “app” rather than a simple digital replica.

Keeping with the numbers theme and to inspire some creative flair, here are 5 ways that you can transform your app from being a simple print replica to a whole new digital experience

1. Instantly update readers with the latest news.

Magazines are traditionally known for delivering news, but they are quickly emerging as news reporters, with the latest gossip hitting headlines instantly, thanks to new social media and website channels. Take the same approach with your app and stay relevant with all the latest news and updates by incorporating live RSS and blog feeds, ensuring magazine apps now have “fast” live content alongside more traditional types of content.

2. Spice up your content with exclusive video footage. 

So, your readers want an exclusive interview with the hottest celebrity. Would they prefer to read it, or watch it? Complimenting editorial with video and audio clips will give you that edge above competitor titles. It’s not just about seducing your readers with rich-media content – this broadens your advertising opportunities as well.

3. Be more than a magazine app.

Online media transformed the magazine market, with titles becoming a brand rather than just a name. You’re learning so much more about who your readers are now. Take advantage of this knowledge by publishing information on events and competitions that you know will interest them, interact with your readers and encourage them to return and engage with the app. With the added bonus of an analytics package sitting behind your publishing platform, you can segment audience types and create bespoke content.

4. Tempt subscribers with exclusive content.

It is very easy to create a simple replica of your print magazine and for some time and indeed for some niche publications that suffices. However, times are changing. Digital magazines have cemented themselves in the market and studies suggest that readers expect more than what they can buy off the shelf when choosing to subscribe digitally. By creating digital only publications and designing content with digital in mind, you can take advantage of what digital can offer over print and satisfy the appetite for those that crave an immersive experience and make sure you’re taking advantage of the increasingly advanced devices they’re using to access your content.

5. Transform your magazine app into an experience. 

By incorporating all of the tips above, including the latest edition of your magazine, its archives (a selling point in of itself), the latest news, upcoming events and all the content currently available in print and on the web, you can make your app one central destination that is both useful and exciting for your readers.

One more bonus tip…

6. Tell prospective readers what you’re offering them!

Take complete advantage of your page in the app store. Your descriptive text, keywords and choice of photos have never been more important. Where on the newsstand you had one shot with your front cover – you now have an entire space dedicated to convincing them that they need your app in their lives, a daily experience, not just a magazine. If you’d like to learn a little more about how to increase discoverability within the app store, take a look at this App Store Optimization guide.

To discuss digital magazines in more detail with the experienced YUDU team, please get in touch today.

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