Storytellers are the most influential members of our society. I’m not talking about just authors, journalists, bloggers, editors and screenwriters. I’m referring to anyone who tells stories to an audience for a living.
In today’s digital world, that also includes brands, marketers, advertisers, publicists and chief executives. Every piece of content created for the purposes of expressing an idea, sharing an inspiration, promoting a product or entertaining a consumer has a narrative behind it.
Marketers are now editors. Advertisers are journalists. Authors and bloggers are marketers. The result is that consumers are told hundreds – even thousands – of stories each day.
That means storytellers need to know how to make their narratives rise above the noise.
We built Glossi to help storytellers create content that is designed to stand out. Glossi enables creators to elegantly interweave video, audio, animations, graphics, images and customizable text into a published work. The end product is a rich media content experience in the form of a digital magazine that is shareable, distributable and monetizable.
While Glossi has a unique proposition, we are not alone in providing a new generation of publishing tools that enable rich media marketing and storytelling. Multiple new products and applications have emerged that reflect the same vision of an expanding rich media content landscape. Examples include Atavist, Prezi and Cinemagram.
Do you remember the newspaper in the Harry Potter movies? Named The Daily Prophet, the paper featured moving images in the same spaces where real world newspapers can offer only static images. The Daily Prophet represents the future of publishing on digital platforms.
When content is created in these fresh, engaging formats, characters, ideas and messages have the ability to come alive. Animations that tell a portion of the tale can be used to compliment the written word. Creators can embed videos directly into stories, presenting their insights or teasing plot twists that entice readers in invigorating ways.
Pictures and images can be large or small, layered with or without text, and treated with filters. Audio can be threaded throughout, altering the mood of a page just as an audio track impacts the mood of a scene in a movie.
Inside Glossi, all of this can be achieved without design skills or technical expertise. Glossi is democratizing rich media content publishing, making ideas and creativity the primary elements that distinguish published works.
When designing Glossi, one of the more significant decisions was about our form factor. We certainly are not the first company to think turning pages in a magazine format would be a compelling content consumption experience. In the early days of web publishing, several businesses were launched that tried to mirror the user experience of offline publications. None worked. The Internet wasn’t ready.
First, in the past five years, the web has become dramatically more visual. Images and photos are now the primary currency of content, where text previously had that designation. It was photo sharing that initially accelerated Facebook’s growth. Image sharing and search sparked Pinterest’s meteoric rise.
Most blogs now have large images at the top of their posts, and often multiple images and videos intermittently placed throughout an article. Speaking of video, the very recent, rapid ascent of Vine only reinforces that rich media has become the preferred content form for the masses.
The second change is the emergence of alternative devices, which by most accounts will drive more than 50% of Internet traffic starting in 2014. When consuming content on tablets, e-readers, phones, mini-tablets, mega-phones and even televisions, the natural experience for people is looking from left-to-right, not top-to-bottom (other than when just watching a video, of course).
Without a mouse to help you, scrolling vertically through content is just awkward (if you’re not convinced, wave your fingers up and down in front of your eyes as if you’re scrolling down a web page, then flip your fingers from left to right instead – which is more natural?).
Alternative devices have permanently changed user experiences when it comes to consuming digital content. Flipping pages is simply more intuitive. That’s one of the reasons the social and news reader app Flipboard has grown so quickly. They saw the future, and grabbed it. When more than 50% of visitors to the web start to expect what feels intuitive, wouldn’t you like to be publishing content in a format that meets those expectations?
Enter the digital magazine.
More visual than standard e-book platforms and capable of including mixed media on every page, digital magazines provide a more engaging and familiar reading experience for audiences than traditional blogs and websites. Readers don’t have to click through dozens of posts or website pages to enjoy a content series. Images, graphics and other media are integrated more organically and native to the experience. Resulting stories are easier to consume for audiences of all ages.
Based on what we have seen with Glossi, digital magazines also inspire much more creativity than other publishing platforms. Authors like Margaret Atwood are using Glossi to publish sample chapters of their books, adding animations, images, graphics and videos to their samples. Print magazine publishers such as Lucky use Glossi to market their print and digital subscriptions.
Movie studios see opportunities with Glossi to provide their target audiences with collections of rich media that can be shared throughout the social web, as Relativity Media did with Safe Haven. In each case, the creators are adding special features to their narrative for the purposes of establishing a stronger emotional connection with their existing and hopeful fans.
Because of the richness of a digital magazine format, there is no end to the diverse works that can be published – travelogues, photo journals, recipe books, how-to guides, product catalogs, business brochures, event summaries and more.
Whereas blogs inspire brevity, digital magazines inspire imagination. That’s why we created Glossi – the best stories are the most imaginative ones, whether they try to compel us to register our domains at GoDaddy or move us to make changes in our lives.
A love for stories will always burn bright. New publishing tools are empowering any creator to tell their story in more exciting and enthralling ways than we ever imagined they could be told.
Editor’s Note: Check out the brochure we created for the Digital Publishing Online Intensive, using Glossi.
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.