Most magazine publishers have put a lot of effort into setting up a website to support their print publication. Though the offerings and level of detail and content may vary, all will share one similarity—they serve as a digital point of contact for readers and advertisers.
Since websites can be an incredibly valuable resource and sales driver if you offer the right information in an easy-to-navigate format, the question to ask is: “Is your website doing all that it can to engage readers and potential advertisers online?”
What follows are some simple best practices to incorporate to get the most out of this digital medium:
This one can be controversial—some people feel that having rates is important for transparency and making information easy to find for potential advertisers. Others believe that it’s best to push people to call or email for rates as a way to increase lead generation and engage in a more personal way.
Either way, you want to minimize frustration if a potential advertiser is seeking information. If you don’t want to publish rates in full, give the potential advertiser some information to go on like a media kit (see below). And don’t forget that you have ad space to sell on your website as well, so don’t forget to include those rates.
Whether you choose to publish rates or not, be sure to make your contact page engaging and include:
- Buttons with a clear call-to-action
- A contact form and/or an email address
- A phone number
Information about ad design
Not everyone will have the time, talent or resources to design their own advertisement. If you offer design help, make sure that this value-added service is easy to find and clearly details what information you will need to create the ad.
You might ask for:
- A logo and preferred file type as well as any other acceptable formats
- Photo or image resolution and format requirements or if neither is provided, the type of imagery the advertiser would like
- The content to appear in the ad: any special offers, a call-to-action and contact information
- Advise on any other instructions like color preferences, style or example ads to follow
Offering a strong media kit on your website is the best way to provide potential advertisers a snapshot of your magazine’s readership without having to request one via mail or email. The details and information may be all an advertiser needs to be convinced that your publication is the right audience for them, so be as specific as you can when it comes to demographics.
Be sure to include:
- Detailed readership demographics
- Distribution and/or subscription numbers
- Production details
- Advertising rates
- Editorial calendar
- Contact information
Links to social sites
If you utilize social media channels, include their logos and drive people to your various pages. This is a great way to connect readers to your full online presence and engage with you there. It’s also important for potential advertisers to see that you know how to maximize digital reach.
Section for advertiser’s sites
Think of your website not only as a contact point, but also as a digital companion to your print publication. Consider expanding the information a reader might seek out after reading an issue. For example, a reader sees and ad for a dentist but the ad doesn’t include the type of work they do, so they want to learn more.
If you have a section on your website dedicated to your advertisers you can include their business name, contact info and website or even a short write-up about them. Some publications call this section of their site a business directory. Not only is it easy for consumers to find information, but it gives your advertisers more exposure and opportunity for lead generation.
It might seem obvious, but have an ‘About’ section that adds values and engages site visitors. Make sure the content tells a story and gives people a snapshot of your publication’s personality, mission and driving values. In turn, readers may be more inclined to subscribe or pick up copies and advertisers may be motivated to buy space with a clear image of your brand and target audience.
Current articles and past issues—preview without full text
To give people an idea of what they might find in current or past issues, consider having a page dedicated to current articles and past issues where you include the title and a short preview or description of articles. This is a way for people to find you through organic search and also for advertisers who might not be familiar with your publication to get a sense for what sort of content they’ll find from month to month.
Calendar of events—for regional or city-specific publications
Another way to drive people to your site through organic search and in turn raise awareness about your publication is having a section with a calendar of events specific to your audience. If you are a city magazine, include as many city-wide events as possible and provide links to the event websites along with a short explanation of the event. If you are focused on a specific topic, like gardening, include regional or local events that would be of interest to that audience.
No matter what information or sections you choose to include or expand, your website acts as your digital footprint and companion to your printed pages. The smarter you are about knowing the type information that your target audience and potential advertisers will want to find, the more focused and effective your website will be.