Reaching your magazine readers online is a vital way of keeping in touch with the people who most support and engage with your publication. "Reach" has become a new marketing term to denote how many people are viewing your information on the various social network sites, blogs, forums, and digital magazine page.
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How can I count my reach?
Some ways of counting your reach include using the social media tools which many programs provide. For instance, you have some measure of who and how many are viewing your information through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, forums apps, and your website/digital publication. Here's how:
On Twitter, there is a tool with the website version where you can view your Tweet Activity. How many have viewed your Tweets across all platforms which access Twitter is shown as your "impressions". For example, the dashboard of Twitter will tell you total numbers for all Tweets during specific time periods, as well as breaking it down for each Tweet. View Top Tweets and also note the Engagements heading which shows how many people clicked your Tweet's link, retweeted what you posted, liked your post or commented.
Through the app (which is the best way to interact with Instagram as you can only read and comment on photo posts via the Instagram website) you have many options to check your reader reach and engagement. After you have enabled your account to be a Business account (this is free) you have advanced options such as Insights and Impressions. Check your Reach, Impressions, Follower demographics, and even gender, age, city and times of day your followers are most active.
Using Facebook Pages, you gain access to tools tracking your page's Shares, Mentions, Page Actions, Page Views, Page Reach, Post Engagement, and more. View when your fans are online, how much reach a paid vs. non-paid post receives, along with Reactions and Clicks.
While forums vary, they can be a great way to interact with potential readers and readers of your digital magazine. You will, at a minimum, be able to track over time how large your following is, what actions they take on your page, and of course their invaluable comments via the forums. Some forum software offers advanced tools such as demographics, age, country, interests and more.
Through your web host, site administrator, and app (if you have one) you can develop some very advanced tools for showing the activity on your digital magazine. With login options, advanced information about your readers (such as above) may be available, including how many times an individual reader clicks on the same page.
Which ones should I choose?
Now that you know the importance of the engagement, what is the best way to engage your readers?
There is no single answer to this question. You may find, upon doing a little research, that the demographics of your magazine readers match closest with more than one form of social media. The important thing is to have accounts and be active on the social media where your readership hangs out. This provides extra value and chances for engagement with your magazine audience even when they are not reading your publication.
Some creative and high-profile ways of engaging readers include:
- Tumblr: The Huffington Post, Newsweek, and the Atlantic maintain a presence on Tumblr. They repost content relevant to their readers and magazine topics.
- Twitter: People Magazine, Life, Wired, TV Guide, National Geographic and more offer comments and links to their work via Tweets.
- Instagram: Boat Magazine, VNA, Anorak, Time, WMag, Architectural Digest and more offer viewers photos and exclusive extra scenes from photo shoots, travel locations, news stories etc. Here you can see great examples of publishers exploiting the huge potential of Instagram.
- Facebook: Reader's Digest, a Taste of Home, Parents magazines provide an interactive way for readers to enjoy supplementary materials and even games as an offshoot of their magazines. Some publications have followers in the millions.
Generally, your magazine will be mentioned in forums if you have a forum which originates through your magazine's website. This is the best place to attract readers - set your publication so that comments can be taken after articles and you will find out what your readers like and don't like about your content.
Via forums or even a blog, your publication itself can provide click-link extras for readers. For instance, a story about photographing wildlife could contain a link which connects to more information about specific species or a game or some other interesting bit.
The most important part of engaging with your readers is to start. Join a variety of relevant social networks where you know your readership hangs out. Post information which has a high appeal to the topics you usually cover. Offer extras which print magazine readers and even those reading a non-interactive digital edition would not otherwise experience. When you do these things on a regular basis, you will find that readership engagement becomes broader, bigger, and easier than ever.