Digital Publication Engagement Advice: It’s Not Your Readers, It’s Your Content

When reading takes time and attention spans are short, how does digital publishing capture attention? What makes readers come back for more? How do training documents reach the most learners and deliver the most consistent results? Believe it or not, in a digital space, both repeat visits and outcome consistency are dependent on variety. If this seems contradictory, walk with me a moment.

First, stop thinking about variety as an entertainment periodical or simply a Jeopardy-style “potpourri category”. Instead, think diversity, range, mixtures in approach, innovation, modifications, curation, culture building, and a wide array of curated and immersive opportunities. It already sounds better than “words” right? Digital publications that are text-centric are flat. Whether it’s on the page or on a screen, text remains text and offers the limited experience of end-user reading. If you’re investing in digital publishing, your audience should be doing more than reading; they should be interacting within content to maximize retention.

Multi-modal learning, as a concept, has been around for decades, and part of the implicit value of providing digital publications is that you can meet the individual needs of your entire multi-modal spectrum of readers using the same base-text content. Personalized experiences (think algorithms that serve up results based on unique online interactions) are here to stay, and the variety of unique and personalized content experiences that can be provided within digital reading are endless. Words make information accessible, but participation and multi-sensory immersion deliver engagement, repeat visitors, and consistent results.

Even if the goal of your content isn’t to inform or educate, you should be embedding multimedia to maximize retention and support your bottom line. Humans retain more by doing than by reading, and if consumers don’t retain your content, they can’t possibly recommend your publications to their peers. Digital publications offer a chance to go beyond blasé content delivery and instead, connect consumers to content through active participation and in-text encounters that keep them coming back for more.

When digital reading offers a variety of interaction opportunities within content, the reading experience transforms from passive to active, it captures the most attention, and ultimately leaves the longest lasting impact on any audience. Digital offerings are a completely different format than print, and you should be taking advantage of that with a digital publishing solution that supports embedded text annotations, images and animations, weblinks, video and audio files, and even gaming widgets. With the ever-increasing amount of digital reading that’s available, the ability to create curated, immersive, and interactive multimedia experiences is a difference maker for publishers, readers, and content facilitators.

If the publications you’re offering are simply text documents, that’s exactly what your audience will take away – words.

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