Ways to Use Digital Publications in the Boating Industry

marketing plandigital publications in boating

How boat brands and marine businesses are creating and sharing content using digital magazines, electronic catalogs and other online publications

The use of digital publishing is becoming much more prominent and attainable for businesses of all sizes. Digital publishing platforms are cost-effective, accessible across multiple devices and can provide a new level of user engagement for brands.

In the boating industry, it seems that everyone is jumping on board the digital publishing platform lately. From boating lifestyle magazines to catalogs and even holiday gift guides, there are many applications that brands can tap into when it comes to digital publishing.

The benefits of creating content with digital publications are plentiful:

  • Cost-effective publishing platform
  • Responsive formats (using HTML5) for use on multiple devices (phone, tablet or computer)
  • Easy to share across social media or embed on a website
  • Actionable with embedded links and forms
  • Quick and easy to navigate, making content more digestible to readers
  • Ability to create public or unlisted publications to control distribution
  • Search engine friendly issues for greater reach
  • Ability to download as a PDF to save static version

So whether you want to use it as a utility to cost-effectively deliver information to customers, or you are using it as an integral tool as part of your content marketing strategy, digital likely has a place in your marine marketing mix.

Here are some examples of digital publication use that I have seen recently in the boating industry.

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digital boating lifestyleDigital Boating Lifestyle Magazines

Many boat brands have been producing their own boating lifestyle magazines to showcase life with a particular boat brand.

Boston Whaler, for example, has produced their lifestyle magazine Whaler for many years now and makes electronic magazine versions of it available on their website.

>>View sample of digital lifestyle magazine sample

digital boat catalogDigital Catalogs

Sea Ray has made their complete line of 2014 models available in a digital magazine format. They make it easy to flip through a catalog of boat models by category – like yachts or sport boats – to see photos layouts and options. Sea Ray also produces a digital version of their lifestyle magazine, Sea Ray Living.

>>View sample of digital catalog

digital boating newsletterBoat Owner Newsletters / Magazines

Producing special publications just for current owners is a great way to build brand loyalty. Grady-White publishes a digital owners’ newsletter called Anchorline using a digital format that makes it easy to showcase information such as their owner’s club news and special events.

>>View sample of digital boating newsletter

yachting expo guideDigital Buyers Guides

BoatersTube and YachtExpo have partnered to create a new series of digital buyer’s guide publications that link content to videos on the BoatersTube.com platform. It offers marine businesses the opportunity to cost-effectively advertiser in the publication and drive user engagement through video.

>>View sample digital buyers guide

boater gift guideBoating Product Guides

Great Lakes Scuttlebutt (GLS) created their annual Holiday Gift Guide for Boaters using a digital magazine format that allows them to embed links into the digital publication so shoppers can easily click on boating products they want to buy. They also tie it into their new marine affiliate program run by Marine Marketing Solutions (a division of GLS).

>>View sample of boating product guide

digital subscriptionsDigital Magazine Subscriptions

Southern Boating Magazine produces a digital version of their print magazine and even has a separate digital subscription for readers that prefer to go paperless. Subscriptions to the digital version are also less expensive than the printed version. Other boating publications (like Boating Industry) make a free digital version available to subscribers – giving them more options to read the publication on any device.

>>View sample of digital magazine subscriptions

digital company showcaseDigital Company Showcases

SureShade used a digital magazine format for their annual holiday greetings that also showcased a quick year in review. Embedded links allow users to easily click on videos and product info to view more about particular segments as they flip through the publication.

>>View sample of digital company showcase

Digital Publishing Tools

There are many options for creating a digital publication that any marine marketer can easily learn to use. Many offer a free version to try them out (often accompanied by ads or restricted features) and most offer very reasonable subscription plans that unlock full features.

Some of the more popular digital publishing tools / software include:

  • Issuu
  • Joomag
  • ePaperflip
  • BlueToad
  • XFlip

Each publishing tool comes with a list of pros & cons depending on your application and budget. If you are looking to get started, my suggestion is to look into software used by one of the examples above that appears to meet your marketing goals.

Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is a marketer, avid boater and author of the award-winning book PR Tools to Toot Your Own Horn. In addition to being founder of MarineMarketingTools.com, Diane runs the small business site SBMarketingTools.com and the boating lifestyle sites MyBoatLife.com and BoaterKids.com.
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