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13 Best Services for Publishers

September 18, 2023

Publishers shouldn’t attempt to handle everything in house.

Certain tasks and subscription offers are best handled by third parties—who have the technology, experience, or relationships required to execute the project flawlessly.

In this guide to publisher services, we dive into the common services premium publishers can use to augment their internal staff’s skills and capacity.

1. Mobile-optimized digital magazine production

Creating a digital magazine is not an easy fete. To publish a digital magazine, you need the right tools and services to help you create a truly mobile-optimzied experience for your readers. You can partner with a publisher services company to help you create a mobile-optimized reader with single-column content that’s super easy to read on any device. For best results, opt for mobile browser-based technology that doesn’t require users to download an app.

2. Digital magazine fulfillment

You can also employ publisher services to help you fulfill your digital magazine. To reduce the impact on your customer support team, work with a third-party service provider that uses unique links delivered via email to give subscribers access to your browser-based digital magazine. This way, users don’t have to remember passwords or ask for help logging in.

3. Physical magazine fulfillment

Magazine fulfillment companies take care of the logistics of delivering magazines to subscribers and newsstands, ensuring your print publications reach your readers on time.

Fulfillment services manage distribution, coordinating the delivery of physical magazines to subscribers’ homes or businesses. This includes managing mailing lists, addressing labels, and ensuring that magazines are shipped on time. Fulfillment services often also include subscription management (processing new subscriptions, renewals, and cancellations), subscriber database maintenance, and customer support inquiries.

4. Automated audio for articles

When you automate your audio for articles, you can ensure that every digital magazine article or blog post is accompanied by high-quality audio. This improves accessibility for vision-impaired readers and convenience for people who love to consume content on the go. You can partner with a third-party service provider to craft on-brand, AI-generated audio content, test it, and publish it alongside digital articles.

5. Digital back issue access

Publisher services companies can also help you manage your digital archive of back issues. You can offer free access to back issues to all subscribers, charge for individual back issues, or sell access to the entire backlog for a flat fee. The firm you choose should offer solutions for managing the order pages and delivering access securely to paying customers.

6. Apple News+ fulfillment

You can also partner with a service provider to help you deliver your magazine or newspaper content to Apple News+. Publishers who are accepted into Apple News+ need to deliver content in the correct format daily, weekly, or monthly (depending on the type of content and the agreement). If no one on your internal staff is experienced in this kind of formatting, you can save a ton of time by partnering with an Apple News+ fulfillment company.

7. Subscription and premium content order pages

Launching and testing landing pages is a lot of work. You need to integrate the checkout with mission-critical systems and A/B test your pages to improve conversions continuously. If this isn’t within your team’s wheelhouse, partner with a company to launch and manage order pages for you. They can maintain pages for recurring subscriptions and one-time purchases of premium content. The company you partner with should be able to integrate your subscription order pages with your fulfillment provider so that new purchases are fulfilled accurately.

8. Mobile app development and maintenance

Developing a mobile app to publish a digital magazine is unnecessary. You can release mobile-optimized content via a web browser app, so no downloads or passwords are required. However, many publishers still want to have a mobile app to have a branded presence in the major app stores. They might also want to create special experiences like quizzes, leaderboards, note-taking, and other forms of content engagement.

If you already have a magazine app or want to create one, you can partner with a mobile app development company to help you craft your app’s roadmap, build and launch new features, and maintain quality continuously.

9. Magazine layout and design

Visual appeal is essential in the publishing world. Content needs to capture readers’ attention while remaining on brand. Magazine layout and design services help you create captivating and aesthetically pleasing publications that engage your readers. Make sure to partner with a publisher services company that will be able to reinforce your brand identity on every page.

10. New subscriber marketing services

Attracting new subscribers is an ongoing challenge. That’s why marketing is one of the most essential publisher services. You can partner with a marketing agency to help with multichannel advertising like:

  • In-app mobile advertising
  • Search engine advertising
  • Social media advertising
  • Display advertising

Customer acquisition services can also include strategic partnerships with companies to help you distribute your content, get in front of more readers, and drive subscriptions with new audiences. More on this below.

11. Subscription agent management

Most subscriptions are purchased via third-party subscription agents who manage the relationships between publishers and customers. You can partner with a company that will help you discover more subscription agents, connect your systems with them, and ultimately drive new subscriptions.

12. Distribution partnerships management

You can also partner with a publisher services company that connects your brand with new distribution opportunities. For example, you can acquire new customers by distributing your digital content in medical office waiting rooms, airports, airlines, train stations, universities, and more high-traffic locations. A percentage of these readers will love your content so much they’ll choose to subscribe.

13. Issue archive management

A magazine issue repository is essential for keeping track of old issues and published articles. This content can be re-used (according to licensing and publication agreements) or packaged up with similar content to create special issues. Partner with a company to set up and maintain an issue repository for you. They’ll store and categorize your old content so you don’t have to tackle this massive project. Then, your team can maximize the use of all existing content.

Depending on your budget and reach, you might outsource all of these publisher services, or just a few.

Learn more about eMagazines’ services for magazine publishers.