SoGloMo – An Insight into Creating Publications With a Global Reach

A few times each month, we get inquiries into Woopie’s language and globalization features. Questions like these:

  • It turns out we have some readers in Russia, can we publish this in Cyrillic?
  • Can Woopie handle these custom Thai fonts?
  • Will Woopie display my Arabic documents properly with right-to-left text?
  • How can I create and publish translations of my magazine?

So I wanted to write a bit about how Woopie supports languages and character sets to keep publications localizable and global-friendly.

Image from Sino-Foreign Management Magazine - Philip McMaster

Composing & Importing Content

Woopie content can be written in most languages and character sets, and its publication accessibility settings ensure that no matter the language, the documents created will be 100% accessible. Additionally, Woopie can import content in most languages and character sets because it was built from the ground up to handle global publications.

Custom Themes & Custom Fonts

All of the Woopie default themes use Google Fonts for header and text content. The current available Google Fonts don’t have every language, but Google has some early access fonts in languages like Tamil, Lao, Telugu, Korean and many more here: http://www.google.com/fonts/earlyaccess.

With custom-designed themes for certain customers, we often incorporate specific fonts that the publisher has purchased or licensed for the document. Fontdeck (http://fontdeck.com/typefaces) , Webtype (http://www.webtype.com/catalog/)  & Typekit (https://typekit.com/fonts) all offer beautiful fonts designed for the web with appropriate licensing terms. Custom themes can include extra licensed fonts, specific colors, custom social media and header icons and alltogether have a lot more flexibility.

Text Direction Settings

Woopie publications also have a setting for text direction so that you can ensure all your documents are generated correctly. Simply swap the text direction setting on the publication settings page as shown below to have your content switch from left-to-right to right-to-left.

 Screenshot of Woopie edit publication screen

Translations of publications

To facilitate translation versions of digital documents, we work with publishers to create individual “issues” for the various languages they wish to support. While we don’t do automatic translation and conversion, we do make sure that settings, designs, media and interactive components can remain the same across the different versions. For translation services, we are also happy to recommend partners of ours who are experts at translating and can assist with this work.

 

With this level of control and customization, we expect that Woopie publishers can ensure their documents reach the broadest audience possible. Languages, fonts, accessibility and globalization choices no longer block out an audience; instead they are an asset that can help more readers and fans enjoy your content.

If you are working on documents in non-Latin character sets or looking at custom language fonts, we would love to talk more with you about what’s standing in your way and if Woopie might be able to help. Please feel free to email me at martha [at] woop.ie and we can talk more about your scenario.

Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/dragonpreneur/

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

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. 

Solutions

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 https://www.flickr.com/photos/bixentro/

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 http://woop.ie/

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

(Photo courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/pevelpetros/)

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. – http://blog.woop.ie/post/94874126097/formatting-for-fun-and-profit) 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. http://kb.mailchimp.com/campaigns/image-videos-files/send-a-file-to-new-subscribers

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. 

Examples

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  http://woop.ie/

Considerations for Going Social in Digital Publications

image of sharing icons

(Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/opensourceway/)

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 Medium.com

(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: http://readidea.com/magazines/issue2/accelerators.html)

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. 

Summary

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 http://woop.ie/

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: http://woop.ie/samples/movietop5.html

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: http://kb.mailchimp.com/campaigns/image-videos-files/send-a-file-to-new-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. 

image

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: http://docs.intercom.io/configuring-Intercom/tracking-user-events-in-your-app

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 http://woop.ie/

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 http://woop.ie/

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
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 :: http://www.readidea.com/magazines/issue1/back-page.html

QUIZZES
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 :: http://woop.ie/educationsample/feature_72.html

SIDEBARS
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 :: http://woop.ie/themes/tech/article.html

CALLOUT IMAGES
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 :: http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/resources/abbeysive/feature_667.html

SUMMARY BOX
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 :: http://www.abbeytheatre.ie/resources/abbeysive/feature_672.html

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 http://woop.ie/

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: http://woop.ie/portfolio.html), 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: https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/html/reports/2013/feature_213.html

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 https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/html/reports/2013/feature_218.html

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 https://egovstatus.maharashtra.gov.in/listing_736.html
Example – background video: Gov’t of Maharashtra’s beautiful cover page https://egovstatus.maharashtra.gov.in/

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:  https://egovstatus.maharashtra.gov.in/
Example – Financial Performance Indicators: https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/html/reports/2013/feature_224.html
Example – How your money was spent: https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/html/reports/2013/feature_229.html
Example – Financial Statements: https://www.concern.net/sites/default/files/html/reports/2013/feature_250.html

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: https://beta.woop.ie/media/gen/19/17/feature_83.html
Example – Quizhttps://beta.woop.ie/media/gen/19/17/feature_72.html

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 http://woop.ie/

Creative Revenue Ideas for Digital Content

photo of storm troopers saving money in a piggy bank
Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/kalexanderson/

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: 

PAYWALLS

PAY PER ISSUE

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

JOIN A MAILING LIST FOR ACCESS TO EBOOK 

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

PAY BY TWEET 

Example showing paywall to unlock content with a tweet

DONATIONS / TIPS 

CROWDFUND

screenshot of kickstarter-style publishing project

THE OLD FAITHFUL: 
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: http://readidea.com/magazines/issue1/blacknight-advert.html

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: https://model-view-culture.myshopify.com/products/model-view-culture-digital-subscription



Distribution: Just putting it out there

You’ve created a book, you’ve proofed and edited it, and everything looks fantastic. Now you need to help your audience find your book and read it.

CREATE A LANDING PAGE
Having a specific web page or URL you can point people to can be very helpful in marketing campaigns. Being able to consistently say something like “Just go to ‘my-website.com/book’” will help people to remember where to find it and allow you to keep that content rich, relevant and updated with quotes, reviews and any download links you might be tracking. 

A landing page like this one allows you to offer a marketing site for your book, something that shows perhaps a summary or some book reviews as well as up-to-date links for customers to purchase your content either via your site or through marketplaces like Amazon or Apple. 

Here’s another example of a useful landing page:

For publishers offering a web-based version of their book, the landing page could be the entrance to their paywall site as well, something like this one:

One other thing having a landing page allows you to do is get some analytical data on how many people are clicking through to purchase, where they’re coming from, if they used search terms to get here, etc. If you are selling content on your own site, you might want to track downloads as well to see which versions are downloaded more often or if there are any clear purchasing patterns to keep in mind. 

SELLING VIA KINDLE
Kindles are widespread for good reason: the devices are a joy to read on. Selling to Kindle owners is a good idea due to the popularity of the platform as well as the ease of purchasing through the platform. We’ll have a future article on selling through Kindle, as there are many factors to consider, but to get started a good idea is to go ahead and register yourself here on Kindle Direct Publishing, or KDP, as an author or publisher, and you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the different programs and pricing models offered via Kindle. 

SELLING VIA IBOOKS
Apple devices continue to grow and their marketplaces are no exception. iBooks market share isn’t as strong as Kindle, but it is growing. While registering and distributing free content via iBooks costs nothing, you may need a US Tax ID and a paid books account through Apple. 

You can read more about their process and requirements on their FAQ page here

SELLING YOUR BOOK YOURSELF
Many authors are seeing fewer and fewer reasons to pay a middleman like Amazon or Apple and want to publish and sell their books themselves. There is no shortage of success stories of authors doing this, and it’s easy so why not have a way to let your readers give a larger percentage of the purchase price to you instead of a retailer? 

Easy-to-use merchant services for authors and publishers include Stripe and Gumroad, and there are many easy WordPress themes that incorporate sales templates (we have used and recommend MemberPress, especially if you want to do subscriptions or membership sites).

WHERE TO START?
A good landing page might be the first factor to consider as it allows you to build a marketing campaign with your link ready, and you can always update or modify that page to add new links, change wording or design, or update linked download files.

Woopie customers receive free custom landing pages for their first publication – get in touch if you’d like to try out Woopie and get your own beautiful & responsive landing page!

WHAT’S NEXT?
Next week we’ll be looking at some interesting and creative revenue ideas for your content. If there are any particular revenue methods you are curious about, email me and I’ll be sure to cover them.