The steady shift from paper to digital publications is not only saving time and trees but also adding immense value in terms of flexibility and interactivity. Flexibility in that the publication itself has no bounds and interactivity the users can now have with your brand or product.
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Best of all, the ability to measure the effectiveness and performance of your publication is allowing us to quickly understand what works best and adapt and evolve accordingly.
It's no revelation that media landscape is rapidly changing. Nowadays you'd be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't rely daily on a tablet or smart device to receive the bulk of their information. So if your business is not active in the digital space, you run the risk of being left behind.
Thankfully, now with the availability of many useful apps, almost anyone can easily create a visually engaging, responsive publication – without the need to engage a digital expert.
Great, isn't it? Well, the only flip side to this is that we are now actually becoming too spoilt for choice due to the growing number of apps on the market competing on price, features, plugins and more.
So how do you choose the best digital magazine app for your publication? Here are some mistakes you should avoid when making your evaluation.
Not considering the purpose of our publication
The first mistake you must avoid is choosing an app without considering the aim of your publication. Do you require e-commerce or social functionality built-in? Do you want to be able to create fresh content regularly? Do you want to be able to measure results and effectiveness of campaigns? These are all worthwhile questions to help assess your own needs.
Look out for features such as in-app purchases, social sharing, Google Analytics reporting, flexibility and simplicity of creating content on the go, from any device.
Choosing an app that’s not suited for your brand
You may have worked hard at developing your brand identity, so your app should not hinder this. Make sure it gives you the ability to create your own branded apps across all devices and operating systems and to fully customise the look and feel.
The app should allow you to design your publication in such a way that it looks as though it's your own. Your brand. Your style. Or if you're new and haven't got an established brand look and feel, the app should have enough customisable templates that help you set up a sharp, professional looking space that is recognisably yours. Then this should be able to be integrated across all platforms and devices.
Will it be created by a graphic designer or a beginner, and from what software is it being imported? Something basic or professional? Some apps work best with design programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Indesign, and some allow you to simply import a PDF.
Generally, the more complex, the more costly. So don't add unnecessary complexity or pay for features you don't need. But at the same time, make sure those additional plugins are available so you can add them in at any time.
Just one frequency and payment option
The more payment options, the better. That way you can avoid paying for features you don't need or upgrade easily if suddenly you do. But most importantly, don't be restricted by the frequency of publishing: at least one of payment plans should allow publishing as often as you like without paying extra.
On the contrary, if you don't envisage publishing too frequently - perhaps you don't have time or it's not appropriate for your audience – there should be a lower cost plan available that suits your desired frequency.
For example, check out Paperlit’s pricing: they start from a very low fee, which grows accordingly to the services included. If you choose an app with such payment plans, then you can be sure to always find the right option for you.
Buying before trying
Have you ever bought an app to realise only after that it doesn’t suit your purpose? Ask for a free trial; this is the best way to become acquainted with the app and play with its features before actually buying it.
Some digital magazine apps have short trial periods and require you to register your credit card. Watch out for some of these as they'll charge you without warning at the end of the trial period and then you're locked in. A week should be enough to assess if the app is for you.
Paperlit offers you a 14-day free trial, which is plenty of time to create your editorial project and customize the look&feel of your app. By doing this, you will really get an idea of what your app will look like!
Decisions are never easy, but we do hope by asking yourself these questions and conducting this thorough needs analysis you can simplify the decision-making process and narrow your search down to that perfect digital magazine app that transforms your publication.