The Surprising Effectiveness of Digital Issues

In an effort to grab and keep the attention of an audience, many publishers—when they “went digital”—accelerated the pace of publishing to breakneck speed. Unburdened by the physical distribution limitations of print publishing—sourcing, printing, shipping, etc.—digital publishing meant rapid-fire publishing was now possible. Blogs, vlogs, ‘grams, streams, and all the other exhausting forms of stream-of-consciousness publishing proliferated—much to the frenetic joy of the audience and the frenetic stress of the publisher.

Luckily, the digital publishing industry is maturing. Publishers are now redefining their interactions with their audience based on what’s plausible instead of simply what’s possible. This is why you’ve seen many publishers successfully apply to their digital publications the issue-based publishing schedules that dominated paper publishing.

Here are four reasons you might consider doing the same.

1. Accepted and Expected Publishing Schedule

Though we’re in the thick of THE AGE OF CONSTANT INPUT, people—particularly those of us over 35—remember and are familiar with traditional publishing schedules. The concept is still fertile in the minds of readers. So, slowing your digital publishing schedule down to “issue speed” will not be bucking convention. It will be a return to convention.

Your publishing team will appreciate the change, and your audience will quickly accept and appreciate the new pace.

2. Higher Quality Content

Let’s face it, rushing causes mistakes. Typos, grammatical errors, factual errors, and worse all tend to work their way into rushed work. If your publishing schedule demands a rush, the quality of your work will decrease. Weekly, monthly, or quarterly publishing of digital issues provides publishers with the time required to create high-quality, properly-edited content.

Plus, by packaging this high quality content into a digital issue, your publication (and readers) will benefit from better content with better presentation.

3. The OOOH! Moment

Every issue is a gift. Every month or week or whenever. It arrives fresh, unexplored, and full of tantalizing content. The “next issue” is something to be anticipated and the past issues are something to be collected. By bundling your content into issue “packages,” you’re conferring upon it the added value of delayed gratification. People see more value in things for which they must wait.

4. Easier Sales Conversions

Perhaps the argument for digital issue publishing that publishers find most compelling is that they make selling easier. People like to know exactly what they’re buying. An issue is a “thing”—whether hardcopy or digital. It is a complete and tangible item for which folks are more comfortable forking over their money. Readers know, for example,—depending on your publishing schedule, that they are sure to receive 12 (or 52 or 4) “things” every year in exchange for their money. Selling “access” to a stream of content can be too vague a proposition to get many folks to crack open their wallets.

Get our free guidebook:

The publisher's Subscription Accelerator™ guidebook

Ready to grow your subscriptions?