Top Revenue Techniques For Digital Legacy Archives

Top Revenue Techniques For Digital Legacy Archives

Publishers can no longer ignore the fact that the reader’s environment is slowly but surely shifting from a print environment to a combination of print and digital, leading the way to several new business model options.

The economic landscape of the publisher’s content now requires a shift in format from print to digital, and many publishers feel it is not yet possible to see a return on any digital content. Yet numerous publications are already utilizing archived content in this way to their great success.

Whether the shift includes a digital strategy that helps drive readers back to the print version, or a completely separate digital version of the content that lives to provide additional value to readers and new revenue to the publisher, stepping into the digital light has become a necessity to thrive in this newly formed reader’s environment.

Legacy publishers undoubtedly have an advantage in the digital space because of their access to years of valuable content they can repurpose and serve to their readers and advertisers. But repurposing content, regardless of the length of your history, enables publishers to create bundles that serve readers in the digital space while keeping the brand alive for loyal followers and new readers.

Although having an entire archive digitized can be a significant undertaking, the benefit of having the foundation set in the most comprehensive and resourceful way can pay off significantly. When rolled out with a well-structured campaign to suit your business model and company resources, your archive can begin to pay for itself and provide you with additional revenue you can’t get from print.

Here are three ways in which we have seen our clients and other legacy publications achieve this over a short period of time, with limited resources:

1. Repurpose Legendary Stories

Publishing your most popular stories from over the years digitally allows you to monetize your archive from the consumer side and the advertiser side. Readers love to feast their eyes on historical content that has significance to the history of your publication, and will pay to download it to their device. Advertisers love the opportunity to own a particular piece of content that sells, allowing you to create new bundled packages for your advertisers based on proven historical data. Last year Lucia Moses reported via Digiday that The New Yorker successfully published eight e-anthologies using this particular method. Readers have downloaded them a total of 750,000 times, some for $2.99 each and some as part of a subscription bundle that helped entice readers to subscribe or renew existing subscriptions.

2. Resell Back Issues

A short list of publishers who have had success selling back issues that were some of their most popular through the years include The Atlantic, The Economist and Cosmopolitan, three very different genres with very different historical content to boot. The fact is readers will pay for an entire “vintage” digital issue to obtain the cover along with the stories within. This is again a new revenue opportunity for advertisers to lock into and prosper from, as it does not cost much to repurpose back issues once they are in a proper digital format.

3. Give Evergreen Content To New Advertisers

Evergreen content performs best in searches, and is again one of the top ways to offer readers additional value at a fraction of the regular print cost. Allowing advertisers to tap into this content and build ads has been a proven model to create a revenue stream that is a win-win situation for you, your ads and your readers. Forbes, The Atlantic and The Economist have been curating this model for a while now, and it has proven successful both for their readers’ experience and their advertisers’ ROI time and again.

There are several ways in which publishers can approach creating a digital archive, as outlined here, the best method determined by your specific business model. But the process of getting your digital archive created and solidified is the first step to building your lasting new digital house: build a solid foundation upon which you can build, adapt and sell your content in the most flexible, creative ways.

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