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Tips On Digital Magazine Publishing Gleaned From Zinio, Bottle Rocket and MAZ

On a panel at Mediabistro’s App Summit today, digital magazine publishing experts shared examples of their work and gave advice on how magazine publishers can make more engaging apps. We’ve gleaned a few tips from the presentation.

1. Does it pass the soap opera test? Good apps have addictive content. When Bottle Rocket Apps created an app on the Civil War, instead of creating an encyclopedia of information on the subject, they focused on serialized storytelling. The idea was to encourage readers to come back and revisit the app regularly.

2. Don’t forget about PCs. Jeanniey Mullen, CMO at Zinio, pointed out that while everyone likes to talk about iPads, 40 percent of people still access digital content on a PC. She recommends thinking about how apps will look on any device that your customer may be using, be it a PC, an Android device or an iOS device.

3. The customer experience is paramount. Think about who your customer is and about how a customer will be interacting with your content.

4.Don’t be tied to magazine editorial calendars. Digital is cheap and you aren’t limited the cost of monthly production schedules. “You don’t have to be monthly on the iPad,” says Paul Canetti, founder/CEO of MAZ. “You can be whatever you want.”

5. Look backwards. Most magazine publishers look to the January issue when December is closed. For apps, you can look back to older issues for good content that may not have been used or can be repurposed in a new way digitally.

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