There is no right or wrong way to publish. Consider whether your audience demands information as it happens (blogging) or whether curating and packaging articles into issues serves them better. It’s up to you. Below I will cover the pros and cons of using a blogging vs. issue based approach and also combining the two.
Wikipedia definition : A series of articles (posts) displayed in reverse chronological order (the most recent post appears first).
Essentially blog style is publishing articles one right after another in what I would call a “article stream”. The benefits are as follows:
- Blogging is a fast way to start publishing. If you are starting from scratch, you can jump in right away and start serving your readers.
- It’s good for real-time information delivery where your articles need to be timely and cover current events. News sites tend to run real time with a blogging approach. The Santiago Times is a good example.
- As you accumulate blog posts, you have the opportunity to migrate some of them (most popular, focused on a topic, etc) into a special issue that you might sell or or give away to encourage readers to your publication.
- Blogging requires that you publish regularly, two or more times per week. If you are just starting out you will need to keep readers coming back by publishing as frequently as you can stand.
Issue based publishing
Issue based publishing is the traditional method of putting out a magazine or news site. The benefits are as following:
- The weight of an issue cuts through the general news stream of today. When you publish a large number of articles together, it commands attention when it lands in someone’s email box or they see it online.
- Issues let the reader focus on your content for a block of time. It’s been tested that readers tend to have a 20 minute block of time available to consume content. It allows the reader to finish (and feel good about) an issue. This also keeps them from feeling guilty about leaving partially read issues lying around. Keep this in mind when considering how many articles to publish every issue. A good example is The Magazine which publishes 5-7 articles per issue, two issues per month. Again this completely depends on your audience.
- Articles in an issue can be related topically. E.G. a seasonal product review or food issue.
- An issue based magazine implies quality and appeals to advertisers. Advertisers are used to buying ads for issues.
- Workflow: issues create natural deadlines for authors and take the pressure off a real time flow of articles (blog style).
- Consider running a blog for in between news. This would allow you to publish shorter, timely and perhaps more casual articles.
- Past issues: If you have back issues that are not published on line, make sure you load them up into archives (archives example). This will attract more visitors from Google search and will motivate subscriptions if you are selling them.
Should you start up forums?
If you have a large enough community of readers think about whether they might like to connect and share with each other. If that sounds appealing to you you might want to investigate setting up forums on your site for everyone to communicate on. This adds great value to your readership and might add a new revenue stream to your publication.
The bottom line is that either blogging or issue based publishing works, and you can combine the two for an extremely dynamic publication. Think about who your target reader is and how they would like to consume your content.