Just like the iPhone and iPod before it, the Apple iPad has created a brand new market sector (tablet) and transformed the very nature of the industry it is engaging with -- in this case, publishing. With the new iPad (third generation) launched on 15 March to great fanfare (retina display, quad-core graphics processor, five megapixel camera etc), the publishing industry is now undergoing further transformation as it comes to grips with a device that is far more advanced than most of the available content. As one of the leading magazine, book and catalogue publishers for the iPad, YUDU Media frequently advises publishers on how to avoid falling at the first hurdle in their attempt to harness the iPad's potential. To avoid the bear traps, I've listed below the four critical steps needed to ensure iPad success and guarantee reader loyalty:1. Add value to content
Publishing on the iPad should not mean just replicating your print version online. Doing this relegates the iPad's importance to that of 'yet another channel' when it has the power to do much more.
There is now a new opportunity for editors and journalists to plan content at the start to exploit this new medium. The key to this is thinking how rich media content can be generated in parallel to print media to provide a tablet reader with an appropriate enhanced experience. For example, journalists need to be equipped with new skills and not merely write about a travel destination, but record 'authentic video' to accompany the text. Audio commentary to accompany each photograph is also very powerful. Providing value to readers is key and direct links to timetables, special travel offers are examples that do this well. In other words, publishers always need to consider 'adding value' to content. Key Tip: Train your staff to think about the end users' device and its capabilities before planning the content itself.2. Enhancing the traditional Flat Plan
Simple workflow: Upload your content and assets using a zip file to the Cloud based servers which will lay out your content automatically in flat plan format. This will allow you to position, drop-in and enhance videos, audio & animations and most importantly preview the content before it goes live. The flat plan is the basic canvas onto which you introduce interactivity and rich media. It is a design and editorial decision as to how much you insert and how it appears to the reader.
Key Tip: Upload your image and text content into a flat plan layout and overlay rich media to suit the readers and advertisers.3. Use a 'Container App'
If you want your content to be viewed on the iPad iOS (or Android) platform, use a container app that will hold all your content in one single 'container'. This branded container app must be submitted to Apple for approval before any content goes live - this can take from three to six weeks -- but once it is built and approved, you can publish freely within the app itself at any time. This single branded container app will also help in marketing the content as you can drive traffic to a single location using social media and SEO tools.
Key Tip: Use one single container app for all your content.4. Use the app's data
The digital world is all about data. The container app builds a community who self profile their interests by downloading the app. We allow the publisher to have five definable fields that the reader can complete -- between 40 and 65 per cent of people fill in the data without an incentive. Added to this are the stats on what has been read; when; how; and by whom. Act on all this data to improve the content and nurture this community of people who use your app and monetising opportunities will follow.
Looking forward, it is clear that with such a rich wealth of data available from an iPad container app, the future of publishing will no doubt see publishers employ a new breed of marketing scientists who are able to analyse app data and feed it back to the editorial team. The result? Publications that are 100 per cent geared to their readership's needs.Tip:
treat your container app as a community of people and use collected data to improve the content and further build the community.
Use the four tips above and you will already be far further ahead than many publishers. Just don't cut corners as the expectations of readers are growing every day. Instead, engage with the iPad fully and treat it as a breakthrough device... it's an evolution that has generated a revolution. Richard Stephenson is the CEO of YUDU Media.