Anti-Social Publications, Yay or Nay?

photo of brick wall with graffiti stating quiet please

We recently wrote about some things to consider if you’re adding social and sharing features to your publications. 

But what about leaving social out completely? Are there reasons this decision could be valuable for your readers? 

Pros for Anti-Social Publications

1) Peace and Quiet
Readers are likely bombarded with interruptions all day. A publication with no reminders of social media, where they can simply read feels like a rare gift in this day and age. 

2) Ability to Focus
Have you ever been at a great event, like a live concert or sports match, and you look around to see people watching the live event through a tiny window as they try to take the perfect shot to share on Facebook? For some readers, having social media embedded in what they are reading gives them a sort of anxiety, a nagging voice asking, “what’s the best phrase I can tweet from this article to let everyone know?”  When there are not distracting social icons and cues, that feeling for many people can just disappear. Or at least fade until the next time they see a twitter icon. 

3) Cleaner look-and-feel
Social media icons occasionally take away from the look and feel of an article and leave you without full control of the content of the page. 

4) No maintenance worries
No sharing button works correctly forever. By adding sharing options to your content, you’re signing up to continue to test them on a regular basis. Without third-party integrations, you can relax, secure that your publications can exist without further maintenance or api call updates for third-party social libraries.

Cons for Anti-Social Publications

1) Marketing Assistance 
The most obvious advantage to including social capabilities is the free marketing. If people enjoy reading your content, we can expect that a percentage of them would share it with others who might also enjoy it. 

2) Lack of follow-on discussion
Often when an article makes a big impression, readers enjoy participating in discussions about the ideas put forward, chiming in with their own solutions, and reacting to the authors and other readers. Without social, those who want to continue to discuss or find people to talk about it with may feel lost. Comments sections below the article can be a good mitigation, but as anyone on the internet knows, they can be a hotbed as well and often require time-consuming moderation. 


We’ve looked at a number of interesting ways to cater to different types of readers at Woopie. If you’re still on the fence about whether or not to include social and sharing in your own publications, here are some suggestions: 

1) Offer an on/off switch to enable or disable social media 
2) Offer both online and downloadable/offline versions
3) Offer a premium “interruption-free” version
4) Share teasers or previews of articles via social media, through your own Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn/etc channels to alert fans, but let the content itself be free from distraction.

Photo courtesy of

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful publications & documents that your readers will love to share. Try it for free for 14 days at

How to offer a free ebook for signing up for your mailing list

(Photo courtesy of

Ebooks are becoming increasingly useful methods of offering concise and focused information to help educate and inform your audience. But beyond being a valuable offering to give away or sell, companies are using ebooks to help grow their direct marketing efforts as well.

It makes sense that a reader who is attracted to a book full of your expertise might also be a great candidate for a relevant email newsletter focused on the same topic. Which is why offering potential customers or readers a free ebook or a sample of your book is a great way to encourage them to also sign up for your mailing list.

If you already have your ebook written and ready to distribute, you’re 90% there. (If you don’t, start with this article on formatting your ebook. – The critical step is incorporating the book download with your signup form.

Automate for Free With MailChimp:

To automate the ebook downloads for free, check out this article over on MailChimp.

If you don’t already have a MailChimp account, create one, set up a mailing list & follow the instructions for creating a “Final welcome email.” You’ll end up designing an email that looks something like this and get an html snippet to embed in your sign up page. 


Here are some great examples of companies offering useful, focused books for their readers and audiences via email lists:

Whether your mailing list is brand new or growing at a healthy rate, ebooks are a helpful way to both educate your readers and give them something valuable, while also building your marketing pipeline.

Would you like to create an ebook to offer your customers? Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap. Try it for free for 14 days at

Considerations for Going Social in Digital Publications

image of sharing icons

(Image courtesy of

Including social links in a digital publication seems like a no-brainer. Readers like your content, they share it with their friends and colleagues, free marketing, number of readers goes through the roof, right? It does happen, but only when a few factors are considered to make sure the experience is great. 

Here are some things to think about before you add social links to your publication: 

1) Where does it make sense for people to share this information?

screenshot of too many sharing options

I call these types of sharing dialogs “Jam Jars” after the famous study cited in The Paradox of Choice.  With so many, mostly useless, options, the majority of people will resist making a choice versus deciding how to share. 

Instead, think hard about how and where people might be compelled to share the information. Would people want to share this article on Twitter? Why might they want to do that? Are these tech-focused articles that readers might want to share with Hacker News or a Reddit community? 

You can also use analytics to see where new clicks are coming from. If readers are going to the trouble of sharing on Pinterest because that’s what is appropriate for this content, make it easy for them. 

Being thoughtful about this will greatly inform your answers for the next item as well. 

2) What are you sharing?

Pre-populating a twitter message like this doesn’t usually get you a lot of traction:

screenshot of example tweet showing boring content in all caps

But if you’ve thought about what might trigger your readers to share the article, you probably have a good idea of what makes sense to put here. Answers often include: a) a link to the article, b) twitter handle of the author, c) link to a comment left on the article, d) article title or subtitle, e) hashtag relevant to the context of the article.

Another trend in this area we’re seeing a lot lately is allowing readers to select text blurbs & tweet that with a link. 

screenshot from little big details showing nice select and tweet behavior from

(Image courtesy of Little Big Details – an excellent collection of UX/UI best practices!)

[if you aren’t using paywalls you can skip this one – if you are using paywalls, this is extra important]

3) Is there a paywall? If so, what do people who click a link to the paywall-ed content see?

This is a critical item to think about. Ignoring this will cost you both readers and goodwill. Clicking something that looks interesting, which a trusted acquaintance has shared, and instead of seeing the article you thought you were going to read, being presented with a request for payment, even a tweet or social media share, is a very bad experience to offer people. 

But there are many creative ways to enable and encourage people to share your content while still observing a paywall. Here are some of the ones we’ve helped our customers do: 

  • Sharing links without the navigation chrome (so visitors can read the individual article, but not go forward or backward in the publication)
  • Sharing a time-restricted link (so visitors can view a shared article for, say, 24-hours)
  • Making all content viewable via sharing links for a set amount of time (so visitors can read anything on the site when the publication first comes out, for up to, say, 2 weeks)
  • Giving readers a set amount of “shares”, so they can share the articles they truly want other people to read
  • Offering snippets, or teasers, of the article, with the option to unlock the rest of the article by tweeting or subscribing (example here:

There are a lot of interesting ways to protect content but also encourage new visitors and readers. The point is to find something that works for you and not to present new visitors with an immediate request to part with their money. 

4) What’s the Call-to-Action (CTA) for a drop-in reader?

Your community is amazing. They’ve shared articles for you & brought you new potential readers. What happens when that new reader gets to the end of the article? 

screenshot of what to read next suggestions from Make:

(Image of related content from Make)

According to Contextly, the single, most important factor in being able to predict if a reader from Google, Twitter or Facebook will return to your site is whether they read more than one article during a visit.

So a solid CTA would be to give them another article to read that might be in their field of interest. 

Some other options are: 

  • Direct them to subscriptions. 
  • Show them a relevant, beautiful ad (please don’t show them a banner ad or annoying flash ad). 
  • Encourage them to comment or share.
  • Offer ways to get in touch with the author, editor, publisher or community

But the point is not to waste this opportunity to offer someone something of value when they proactively came to read your article. 


Offering the ability for your audience to share content widely with their communities can be a great boon for marketing and sales. Doing so while thinking about the experience of clicking those links ensures the new visitors to your site are much more likely to return and share again.  

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful publications & documents that your readers will love to share. Try it for free for 14 days at

How do I know who is reading my content?

A question we get a lot from our publishers is “How can I track who is reading my ebooks?”

We recommend three options for tracking readers depending on the nature of your relationship with them. 

1) “Just give me the numbers!” 

If your publication is available for everyone, all the time (i.e., people aren’t logged in to your site, it’s not behind a paywall, etc.), tracking download events with Google Analytics is the easiest way to get some data on how many people are downloading. 

Adding the following code to your GA script will ensure your epub file downloads show up in your Google Analytics account. 

google analytics code snippet

Which will give you something like this in the Events section of your Google Analytics account: 

google analytics events dashboard

As an example, we have done this on our sample Movies publication landing page – you can take a look at the page and the source here:

2) “I need leads!”

If you’re looking to give away your books in exchange for people signing up to your mailing list, MailChimp is a great way to do that. 

Check out this article for more on how to easily set up MailChimp to make files available for new mailing list subscribers:

We have set up several Woopie customers this way to help them offer an incentive for signing up for their mailing list, and we’d be happy to help you, too. 


3) “Who are our most avid readers?”

For sites where you have a relationship with your readers, as in, they sign in to use your service, you can create very specific events to track them using Intercom for free. 

To learn about what you can track with events, see this article:

Adding something like this to your download code will then give you info about which publications this user is downloading in their profile:

intercom events code snippet

Which will give you something like this in your user profiles once they have downloaded a book: 

intercom user profile showing events tracked

What are other ways you are currently tracking or interested in tracking your readers’ habits? Let us know!

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful publications & documents. Try it for free for 14 days at

New Feature :: Table of Contents Customization

One of the features we have been asked most for lately is the ability to better customize the table of contents. We are happy to announce some exciting new capabilities available for you now!

Screenshot of customizing table of contents page

Titles & Subtitles

You can now specify a Headline and subhead for your table of contents page instead of always using the publication title. You have control over whether you want to add something to convey your publication’s personality, mention publication dates, add content at all, or leave it blank and upload an image instead.

Custom header image

Adding a header image gives you an additional option to personalise individual issues or use a familiar masthead image across your collection.

Custom thumbnail image for page

And now to go along with your header image, you can also have custom thumbnail images for your contents page. Upload a logo image or we can crop / shrink your header image to work as well. 

Choose your own article description fields

Woopie publishers use different fields for different things, so we wanted to let people be in control of what their TOC description text is. You can choose to use your articles’ subheads as descriptive text, or use the articles’ description fields as that text. 

Thumbnail images for articles

Finally, we can now automatically include thumbnail images for your articles in the TOC. Select “Use article thumbnails in listing” to have the table of contents generated with the articles’ thumbnails alongside the heading. 

We’re really happy with how the table of contents custom options are letting people get creative – here are a few examples of what people are doing today: 

screenshot of Aer Lingus publication with a custom toc

screenshot of Harvard Law School publication with a custom toc

Are there customisations you’d like to see, or do you need help with a custom theme for your publication? Let us know how we can help!

Woopie’s easy-to-use platform makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful interactive reports and documents. Try it for free for 30 days at

How we helped a large enterprise communicate better with their mobile team

We were approached by the Telefónica Ireland marketing team to see how our approach to publishing for multiple devices could help them communicate more effectively with the Telefónica group.

Telefonica's Slice newsletter on iphone and laptop

Telefónica wanted to improve their weekly staff newsletter, Slice, which was delivered every Friday. We knew that Woopie could help.


Telefónica Ireland, under the O2 brand, is one of the the biggest mobile phone operators in the Irish market. They constantly introduce new products and services to their business and consumer customers. Because of this, their messaging goes to employees using a wide variety of mobile phones and tablets.

Telefonica logo

Telefónica Ireland is a broadband and telecommunications provider in Ireland. The company is marketed and trades as O2.

Telefónica wanted to improve their weekly staff newsletter, Slice, which is delivered every Friday. This was being sent as an HTML email, but they wanted to serve their staff, particularly those in retail stores and on new devices, with a more responsive and appropriate solution.

Slice goes out to over 1,000 Telefónica Ireland employees each week. It is primarily read on desktop and laptop computers, via the corporate Microsoft Outlook email system, but was also increasingly being read on employees away from their desks using smartphones and tablets.

Slice header and logo

The new Slice newsletter needed to make a big impact. It had to be exciting to read, look great on mobiles and tablets as well as in emails and also reflect Telefónica’s brand values and forward-thinking approach to communication.



Woopie sat down with Internal Communications Executive Clare MacCann and discussed with her and her team the process involved in putting together the weekly Slice newsletter. The entire workflow includes everything from soliciting and collecting stories for inclusion, through approval and editing, all the way to producing and sending the email.

The process already in place was very time-consuming, with a lot of manual copy-and-paste, leaving plenty of opportunities for errors to creep in.

postit images of design process

The steps involved in producing the original newsletter


  1. Collect Stories
  2. Paste stories into a Dreamweaver template (this often involved resizing images by hand and editing HTML)
  3. Preview newsletter in Internet Explorer and extract the source code.
  4. Paste source code into an Outlook email and forward to recipients.

We knew Woopie could make life simpler and less stressful for Clare, allowing her to focus on what was most important: great stories that would inform and inspire her audience.

Goals and Boundaries

Our first steps were to define our goals and boundaries. We asked ourselves: 

  • “What does a successful Slice newsletter look like?”
  • “How can Woopie make this process less painful?”
  • “What will make this better for both the reader and the writer?”

We then defined our limitations; without constraints it is difficult to scope and define exactly what is needed. One such constraint was structure. Telefónica was happy with their current story structure of short snippets and longer stories and the number of news items they had.

notebook showing sketches of example layouts for newsletter

Working up concepts and layouts

Before moving to Woopie, we prepared the newsletter in HTML using Dreamweaver, manually uploading images to our intranet, and then inserting links to these images. It was a tedious and time-consuming process, prone to errors, and the final result was not particularly visually attractive.

We also scoped out areas for improvement. Easier production was determined to be a big win, along with a better reading experience including larger images that looked fantastic on smaller screens.

Another discovery was that Yammer was a popular internal communication tool, so having a single link to share the newsletter stories was another great reason to take a responsive, web-based approach.

Breaking it Down

The newsletter was broken down into its most basic elements: stories worth sharing. These subdivided into short blurbs (mainly informative updates such as pension news) and longer articles such as marketing updates, major events and inspirational results.


We then broke these stories into components: headlines, images, videos and text. Woopie comes with an extensive set of default templates, but we are also able to create custom templates. By designing a custom Woopie template for Telefónica, we made creating a newsletter as simple as filling in a form, with the freedom to add custom code if desired.

screenshot of creating slice in Woopie

Making a newsletter is as simple as filling in a form

We also made it simple to add embedded third-party videos and made some clever custom fallbacks to ensure a smoother experience for Outlook users.

screenshot of slice newsletter for Outlook users

Example newsletter

The end result was a HTML email template and a separate responsive web template. Clare and Damian can easily populate Slice with great content, without having to worry about formatting, text sizing, tweaking image sizes or broken layouts.

This allowed the team to spend their time collecting and writing great content, confident that it would look great and provide an interesting newsletter for both employees on email and those viewing through the web version.


One major setback in the process was the limitations imposed by Outlook, which is the default email client within Telefónica. We had originally gone with a two-column template for the email newsletter, but found with larger images that this would increase the height of the emails to the point where a forced page break kicks in, causing extra unwanted white space and breaking up the paragraphs.

This resulted in us creating a completely separate template for desktop email (rather than a forked version of the web template).

Fortunately, this is one of the key features of Woopie: the ability to output the same content to multiple formats and devices, while keeping a consistent design that is honest to the platform.


A key insight was that it is vital to work with real content (no Lorem Ipsum) – this is the best way to find all the ‘unknown unknowns’, edge cases and undocumented requirements. We began with developing our custom template using archived material, but quickly moved to working with that week’s stories.

“Switching to Woopie made our newsletter immediately more visually appealing and at the same time more accessible on a range of mobile devices. It also allowed us to easily insert YouTube videos into stories. It cut in half the time it took to prepare the content, and was extremely well received by its readers, including senior management.”


The end result for Clare, Damian and the Telefónica Internal Communications team is a simple and fast way for them to publish informative, interesting and inspiring stories for the Telefónica staff.

“Thanks a million for this, I took Diarmuid and a couple of members of our team through it all on Friday and they were really impressed – It looks great in all formats!”
– Clare McCann,Internal Communications Executive

No longer does Clare need three or four different applications to put together a newsletter. She simply writes the content directly inside Woopie, adds stories as required and lets Woopie worry about making them look great.

Newsletters can be previewed at different sizes at different sizes to see how they look on mobiles, tablets and desktop. Sending test emails for sign-off and previewing is a one-click task, as is sending the final newsletter to the entire mailing list. There are two formats sent, each designed for a particular platform’s needs: an email view that looks great in Outlook and a responsive view for sharing via Yammer and viewing on mobiles, tablets and desktops via a web browser.

Telefonica PR and Internal Communications team

The PR and internal communications team with Finance and Technology Director Paul Whelan.

The Telefónica PR and internal communications team are pictured above winning a company award. The judges praised the team for using a range of new digital tools and services, including, to further the business and improve how the company communicates.

We’d love to see how we can help you reach a wider audience on more devices, in less time, and at a lower cost. All while making sure you are true to your brand and making something your readers will love.

Get in touch and let’s talk!

Educational & Interactive Content in a BYOD age

Some fascinating information came out this week from Pearson on a study of students and mobile devices for grades 4-12. 90% of students surveyed believe that tablets will change the way they learn in the future, and 89% feel tablets make learning more fun. Read more from Pearson’s announcement here, and the actual study results are here

But with so many schools and organizations and students using tablets and devices, of course there is great variation in the types, operating systems and sizes of these devices, as shown in the image below: 

screenshot of Pearson report showing breakdown of tablet sizes owned by students

With such varied audiences, there is a temptation to create materials that work for the lowest common denominator, such as a PDF document. We’ve worked with a few groups to create educational content and learned a lot about making interactive and engaging learning materials that work across devices.

(To see Woopie’s case study on creating educational material for the Abbey Theatre, click here.) 

All of the examples below work for any size tablet or phone, desktop, eReader, and everything in between, and while these examples are education-related, we have also used these features for professional publications where appropriate. 

Flip cards can be interesting ways to check cognition or test memory of something that has just been read. Flip cards have a definition or words to jog your memory on one side, and clicking on them reveals the answer

example of flipcards used for education in Woopie publications

You can see a live example here ::

Quizzes are great for providing instant feedback and helping readers assess their understanding. They are fun and quite mainstream in sites like Buzzfeed to drive engagement. 

example of Woopie quiz element

You can see a live example here ::

Sometimes a pull quote isn’t quite right – sometimes you have a bit more information, perhaps a definition or short glossary or other complete thought that needs its own little section. Sidebars are great for calling out interludes, interviews or other parallel thoughts that occasionally don’t make sense within the main content section. 

example of Woopie sidebar

You can see a live example here ::

Callout images, like sidebars, are for content that needs its own emphasis. They are generally full-width and work best with striking images and bold, short text blurbs. 

example of Woopie callout image

You can see a live example here ::

A summary box is a concept most people are familiar with from educational books, magazines, newspapers and most forms of journalism. It’s a way to pull together the main thoughts or summarize critical lessons from a piece and put them together in one place for the reader. 

example of Woopie summary box

You can see a live example here ::

Whether you’re working on educational content for professionals or students, it’s only going to become more important that your documents adapt to whatever devices your readers are choosing to use. Woopie ensures your content is readable, accessible, and engaging for everyone. 

Woopie’s simple tool makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and educational interactive publications and documents. Try it for free for 30 days at

Why Create an Interactive Annual Report?

opening screen of Concern Annual Report

We’ve just put Concern Worldwide’s professional and gorgeous annual report up on our portfolio page (check it out here:, and we’re working with many other international companies to create something along these lines. What is the appeal of an interactive annual report? 

Here are some of the most unique and interesting reasons you should think about creating an interactive annual report:  

1) Responsive and easy to read on any device.

PDFs just don’t cut it anymore for documents, they are very painful to read on small screens. And documents with spreadsheets in them? Forget it. 

A responsive annual report means that it will scale to the device. Will readers typically be on-the-go, reading on their phones? No problem. Is it a longer, more involved document that someone might want to read on an eReader? Done. In all cases, the text, fonts, sizing, images all look perfect on whatever device your reader has so it’s always a joy to read. 

Example – images and elements like pull quotes, captions, paragraphs all scale:

page of Concern's annual report

2) More engaging stories with thoughtful editorial design.

There is a reason stories like Firestorm and Snow Fall are so gripping, they engage  readers more than paragraphs of boring prose.

Telling stories in interesting ways is a great way to get readers interested in your cause, and enables you to give them a more in-depth feel for your organization, the things you are working on and how you’re making a difference for people. 

Example: Concern’s reporting on emergencies

another example of Concern's annual report on emergencies

3) Multimedia like audio and video clips.

If you have videos that share your stories or audio clips that make a difference, why not include them in your documents? 

Audio and video, when done well, can be very powerful and often give readers a more realistic view of your efforts.

Example – audio clips: Government of Maharashtra’s audio clips from government ministers
Example – background video: Gov’t of Maharashtra’s beautiful cover page

sample page from Maharashtran government report

4) Spreadsheets are responsive and easy-to-read, even on phones!

No one wants to pinch-and-zoom to read spreadsheets on a mobile device. What was this column heading, which row am I on? It’s an exercise in frustration. 

Woopie’s responsive spreadsheets allow you to specify which columns are priorities so that they are shown at any width. Other columns and row details are always still accessible by clicking the “more” icon, so readers always have all of the data, but in a view that works for them.

Example – Annual Revenue & Expenses Statement:
Example – Financial Performance Indicators:
Example – How your money was spent:
Example – Financial Statements:

example showing dynamic financial reporting in Woopie

5) Check comprehension with quizzes and flash cards.

If you read Buzzfeed or use Facebook you’re well aware that people enjoy taking quizzes. Take advantage of this & offer your readers interactive quizzes and flash cards to check their memory and comprehension. 

Example – Flash cards:
Example – Quiz

example of using a quiz in a report to check comprehension

This trend is growing worldwide – here are a few of our favorites: 

Woopie’s easy-to-use platform makes it a snap to create, design and publish professional and beautiful interactive reports and documents. Try it for free for 30 days at

Creative Revenue Ideas for Digital Content

photo of storm troopers saving money in a piggy bank
Image courtesy of

You have an idea for a publication and now you want to think about how you can generate revenue for your content. Whether you need to pay contributors, distributors, or fund an entire business with full-time salaries, there are some very creative ways you can fund digital publications. Here are just a few: 



  • summary: Issues or individual documents are downloadable after paying a one-time fee
  • example: The Atavist stories (iOS app) –
  • tool: There are many solutions – you can roll your own or a WordPress plugin like easydigitaldownloads will do the trick —


Ready for Zero example of signing up for a mailing list to download an ebook


Example showing paywall to unlock content with a tweet



screenshot of kickstarter-style publishing project

DISTRIBUTORS – Amazon/Kindle, Apple/iBooks, Google Play, Barnes & Noble, etc.

ADVERTISERS – Using paid advertisements relevant to your audience to provide value for readers, advertiser and you the publisher (we like non-intrusive, full-page responsive ads like this one:

screenshot of dynamic, interactive advertisment used by Blacknight

SUBSCRIBERS– More and more consumers are happy to pay for content they find valuable or want to support. Follow Model View Culture’s example and charge your subscribers on a regular basis:

Love this 3D CSS page turning effect – see how it was made here!