Recently I presented a paper to delegates at the AJE Magazine Conference at Edinburgh Napier on why 360-degree features are core skills for tomorrow’s journalists.
When writing my book, Business Strategies for Magazine Publishing, I found that surprisingly, some editors still publish their print articles online verbatim.
But I believe in order to thrive, magazine publishers must upgrade their editorial strategy and embrace 360-degree feature packages instead of regurgitating their content online.
Change is needed across magazine publishing and fast. . .
Moving away from regurgitation
My opinion is that it is madness to expect readers to buy a magazine when they can read the content for free online. Why would they?
Instead, the answer to widening participation and keeping readers engaged lies in adding value by enriching the audience’s experience, so I have developed the 360-degree feature package model, which is illustrated below.
Instead of coming up with angles, writers must think of articles in terms of themes. From the theme, the writer can then develop different angles – one for the print edition and a related piece for the online post. The package must include multimedia content such as short audio or video clips, as well as perhaps an infographic or slideshow to add more depth and value.
Cross-promotion of each element is crucial to widen audience participation and increase engagement. For example, the print element should include a short signpost at the end of the article highlighting the related online content and vice versa at the end of the online post. Social media channels can be used to further promote the content.
The illustration below is an example of how to develop a 360-degree feature package.
This model is an updated version of my original illustration published in Business Strategies for Magazine Publishing (Hogarth, 2018, p61). It uses the theme of dementia to demonstrate how different angles can be developed to give comprehensive coverage – adding more depth, while also enriching the audience’s experience with a multi-media approach.
From my perspective
As a consultant, one of the first questions I’m usually asked is: how can we increase audience engagement?
The answer is simple. Those publishers who adopt the 360-degree feature model across their titles will not only enrich their content, they will also widen participation, thus increasing the publication’s overall value proposition.
Of course, adopting this editorial strategy will increases costs but it won’t blow the editorial budget in terms of training provisions or equipment.
Many graduates starting their careers are skilled multimedia journalists, plus there are numerous courses and online resources for freelance writers who want or need to broaden their range of skills. Moreover, little equipment is required to produce a feature package as video and audio clips can be recorded on the latest smartphones.
By expanding editorial boundaries, publishers can finally achieve multimedia coverage across their platforms – connecting the print editions with the website, ensuring that both are equally relevant.
If you would like to hear more about my 360-degree feature package model, please get in touch.