Print to Digital? Plan Early and Often

Print Magazine

At GLC, most of our clients produce integrated, multi-channel marketing communications programs. Often these include a flagship print component such as a magazine or newsletter, and supporting digital components, like a responsive website, tablet application, or e-newsletter. With these types of projects, it can be easy to let the print piece run the show: deadlines are stricter and the lead time required means you’re already working on it months in advance. And while it’s tempting to wait until the end of print production to start work on your digital components, thinking about digital early and often pays dividends in the end product.

Why? Because the experiences are completely different.

A great example is photography. You may have beautiful photography that works perfectly in a magazine context, but if it is oddly sized or not conducive to the digital layout — and there is no Plan B — you’ll end up scrambling at the last minute for any photo you can find that works.

Fortunately, issues like these can be avoided.

Early on in our content planning process, our editorial, digital, and design teams meet to discuss how everything will translate. In the case of photography, we look at what imagery is available, what will work the best, and where it will work best. Setting up standard pixel dimensions for the different digital uses of images is also important, because it allows the designer working on the print piece to provide properly-sized images, as well as identify any possible image size issues early on.

You can see this at work in a recent issue of Anne Arundel Medical Center’s Living Healthier Together, where we took a touching story of a mom and her preemie from the print version and enhanced it for digital with a web-exclusive photo gallery. Due to the lack of spatial limitations on the web, we were able to include photos from the cover shoot that were not available in the magazine, and otherwise would have gone unseen to LHT’s readers.

And photography is just one example of how thinking about digital while working on the print produces a better end product. Re-thinking headlines or CTAs, determining SEO keywords, and figuring out how to treat sidebars are all important to ensuring the digital component of your marketing program lives up to its potential.

With more and more people choosing to get their information on the Internet, rather than waiting for it to come to them, providing your audience with a strong digital experience should no longer be an afterthought.