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Painless Print to Digital Migration for Associations!

If you are the publisher of an association magazine or journal, you’ve likely already had the conversation. You’ve weighed the benefits, the pros and the cons and came to some decision. If you haven’t already, it’s likely coming soon. That question is whether or not to transition your print or digital publication to a digital platform. The urgency with which your publication should be considering a print to digital migration depends on a few factors:

  • How tech savvy is your audience?
  • How often are they accessing content online?
  • How profitable is your current print product?
  • Can you afford to make that transition now?

Here is some information to consider before you make your decision.

The Benefits of a Print to Digital Migration

A print to digital migration can be advantageous to publishers for quite a few reasons. First, it is considerably less expensive to publish online, because immediately these costs go away:

  • Printing: You’re only creating one copy of the publication that lives online, saving the expense of paper, printing and binding. Considering how big your circulation is this can be a substantial savings for your organization.
  • Shipping: Distribution is online, saving you the cost of shipping supplies and the cost of a shipping service (or fuel if you deliver your magazine yourself.)
  • Storing: There is no actual print magazine. So other than space on a server there is nothing to store.

All of these add to the organization bottom line. Digital content is also an easy way to share your content quickly and to lots of people no matter how close or far away they are. Additionally when it comes to archiving, a digital publication preserves your publication allowing it to remain usable and sustainable over time.

One thing that won’t change with a digital publication is your advertising opportunities. They are still available. In fact, depending on the platform can even provide your advertisers with clearer, more accurate analytics to encourage current advertisers to keep buying ads with you and to supplement your ad sales reps new client pitches.

To Supplement or Replace: That is the Question

If you decide to go ahead with a print to digital migration one decision you’ll have to make is whether your digital program will eliminate or supplement your print product?

Do you want to keep printing your magazine and add the digital option as an additional vehicle for distribution and reach or will this print product replace your current print publication altogether? There are arguments for both. For example, if your print product is still popular amongst your members and profitable for your organization there’s likely no need to replace it for now. Where budget allows, supplementing your print pub with an online version might be a better option here.

Another reason to consider keeping the print product is if your members tend to be less digitally inclined. Despite an increased online presence amongst seniors, they tend to prefer print products over digital ones. It’s tempting to want to jump on the bandwagon of what’s new and hot, but if it isn’t useful to your audience it’s not worth it.

But if your organization is looking for a way to boost revenue, and who isn’t these days, replacing a print product can be option to eliminate the above referenced expenses and boost the bottom line. If your organization consists of digital natives, a large tech savvy population, or even professionals than a digital publication is an option worth considering.

Static or Interactive

Another benefit to opting for a digital publication are the opportunities to create a more dynamic, interactive publication for your members. Do you want it to look like your current magazine or is this an opportunity to create a new look and feel for your content? You can certainly create a publication that is an exact digital version of what you publish. Or you can make articles interactive by:

  • Linking articles to additional content on your website or a landing page
  • Including digital video or other multimedia.

If this is a consideration, it will also expand your advertising opportunities from banners to rich media and digital video, both of which have higher conversion rates.

Potential Print to Digital Migration Issues

If you decide to opt for an interactive publication it is vital that you review the IAB’s standards for digital compliancy. (You can find out more about that in our article or on their website.) While these rules are not laws, they have become the industry standard for digital advertising.

Like any technology, digital publications aren’t without their potential concerns and issues. Start-up costs can be expensive upfront. Assess the above benefits to determine whether it will ultimately be valuable for your organization’s publishing program.


An ad sales firm like AdBoom Advertising is experienced in advising and providing guidance to association and B2B organizations making the transition from print to digital. Contact AdBoom Advertising for assistance with your digital advertising sales needs.

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