Digital magazines are perfect if you want to try a new content format, or you’re a print pro looking to diversify. And they’ve really moved on in terms of features.

This guide explains

  • How digital magazines have evolved to become fully immersive experiences
  • How you can increase readership in a few clicks
  • How to get started, fast

What’s a digital magazine?

Digital magazines present magazine content interactively online, make it accessible across different devices and can potentially return reader analytics – if they’re good. Pages have high-touch layouts, just like their glossy print counterparts.

Pages are instead flippable and combine dynamic content for a deeper reading experience – think of GIFs, polls, videos, or links to other content.

Types of digital magazine

Most digital magazines started as static PDF documents or pages on websites with very little interactivity.

Unlike traditional print and PDF magazines, digital magazines can be an interactive experience for the reader. Knowing which type to choose is ultimately down to your content goals and wider marketing strategy. We’ve created a short list here to help you decide.

The PDF route

It is still somewhat viable to use PDFs as your format for digital magazines, though you will likely run into some problems. PDFs are designed to look the same across all systems however this doesn’t always ring true for mobile and with the ever-increasing use of mobile platforms and devices you may find users struggling with this format as well as lacking any interactive elements.


Using the same coding as websites, HTML5 based digital magazines offer a huge breadth of creativity and interactive options. It does require having a team that can build this for you, which can increase the costs and time taken to create each issue of your publication.


Mobile apps allow your readers to view your content anywhere at anytime on their mobile device. This is a fantastic option if you have a dedicated readership that are willing to download an extra app to access your content, though these steps can be off-putting to newer users.

Flipbook (Like Turtl!)

We may be a little biased, but we believe Flipbook-style digital magazines are the way forward. These can be hosted on any platform and replicate the look of a traditional print magazine with page-flipping animations and interactive elements unavailable to PDF users. You will also see detailed analytics which will help not only understand your audience but how you can change your content for increased readership and engagement.

What’s the difference between a digital magazine and an online magazine?

They sound similar, but digital and online magazines have big differences.

It started when print magazines became able to upload PDF pages of an entire magazine issue to an online platform for distribution. The question of how to get people to pay for an edition was tricky – back then, they’d rather ‘own’ a physical copy. Online magazines still exist, with and without paywalls, allowing people to flip between pages of a beautifully designed magazine online. And some have evolved a little further.

A digital magazine takes functionality up several notches. This type of magazine is built to deliver an immersive, engaging and interactive reading experience. Content is created, managed and housed on a digital magazine platform like Turtl’s, which gives an authentic reading experience by putting readers in control over how they consume content.

Readers can view or listen to video or audio, easily navigate and digest content, while text, forms and images can link out to other content.

Both online and digital magazines have advantages over print:

  • Cost and sustainability – no, paper, toxic ink or fuelled distribution is needed
  • A new audience touchpoint has been created


Why you need digital magazines in your B2B content marketing strategy

When you plan your content marketing strategy, you need a variety of content formats that work across multi-channels to serve your customers with the right information, at the right time.

You also have to consider logistics: budget, resource, time.

Creatively and logistically, platforms developed to make and host digital magazines are more likely to have tools in place to attract, track and increase a magazine’s readership while easing its launch and distribution. You should be able to do it all on one platform – making your readers and your content team, very happy.

Customer brand engagement

The holy grail of content marketing: customers that actively engage with your brand and content.

Digital interactive magazines are great lead generators if you’ve got a long-term content strategy and a well-stocked team of writers. If your content’s relevant and interesting enough, you’ll get magazine subscription sign ups that can lead to product sales further down the line.

Your magazine could also be the product if you put it behind a paywall. Offer free articles or a first free issue and you’ll generate subscriptions if the content meets your customers’ needs.

Engagement goes both ways. So should your content. Digital magazines have some nifty interactive elements that make engagement a two-way street. With polls, quizzes and forms, it won’t just be social media metrics that give insights into how your customers interact with your brand.

Increase customer reach

If you have a print magazine, you could reach more of your audience if you take it online. You’ll create more touchpoints for your customers as the format’s more shareable across email or social channels.

An alternative content format

Digital magazines still fly slightly under the content marketing radar. But the numbers speak for themselves. Turtl’s digital magazines can increase engagement by up to 10x.

Newsletters, case studies and blogs are produced in their hundreds of thousands each day. Digital magazines are an alternative that cut through the noise, bland webpages, and reams of PDFs.


  • pull your content topics together more coherently for readers
  • create better user journeys and give readers the autonomy to self-serve through content
  • act as a storytelling device across one piece, or a whole issue of magazine content
  • educate or entertain readers to open up your brand

Keep your content up to date

You can make real-time updates to your content much faster than other content formats.

When you combine it with the analytics that show how your customers are engaging with the content, you can make improvements such as moving or changing CTAs or buttons, or swapping articles around on the fly.

Fewer resources and quicker production time

With their own platforms, you don’t need to rely on development teams to code your digital magazines, avoiding bottlenecks. All content management is scalable and is managed within your marketing team. Using Turtl’s digital magazine software, brands have saved up to 90% on content production time and resources.

Stretch your budget further

If you’ve got a print magazine, you’ll know about material and distribution costs. A digital magazine is cheaper to create. Plus, a creation platform creates more content than just magazines.

Generate revenue

If your revenue goals reach further than customer acquisition, digital magazines are an easy way to generate revenue, through subscription models and selling advertising space.

Where digital magazines fit in your B2B content marketing strategy

Digital magazines are versatile and there are lots of ways you can maximize their use in your content marketing strategy.

lightbulb graphic with blue blob behind it

TOFU or awareness:

Create brand awareness and generate leads with repurposed print magazines or brochures, reformatted email newsletters or zhuzhed up eBooks with friendlier layouts and eye-catching imagery that complements content.

MOFU or consideration:

Create informative guides, educational resources or webinar downloads that serve your customers and perform better than PDFs

BOFU or decision:

Create case studies and product spec sheets and link to testimonial or demo videos to engage decision makers.

What content to include in your digital magazines

You don’t need to be a seasoned print pro to create an interactive digital magazine. Here are some suggestions for the type of content you could create, as well as repurpose from elsewhere, to add to your strategy.

  • Product features
  • Ads – your own or third-party
  • Reviews
  • Interviews
  • Editorials, eg how to’s, top 5
  • Opinion pieces
  • Letters
  • Case studies
  • Thought leadership articles
  • Brand awareness
  • Existing blog content
  • Existing newsletter content

Put the ‘interactive’ in interactive digital magazines

Make the most of your digital content and bring your articles to life with interactive elements. Turtl’s digital magazines let you include all these elements (and more) to engage your readers and drive subscribers.

  • Video/animation
  • Polls
  • Quizzes
  • Forms
  • GIFs
  • Maps
  • Quotes
  • Charts and tables


Easy to create and manage within your CMS

Little to no resource or budget required

Easily shareable


Trickier to package up your content and distribute it when it’s spread over many webpages with different URLs

The editorial doesn’t hang together as coherently as a magazine

The content style of a blog and a magazine differ

How to create a B2B digital magazine in 7 steps

1. Set your strategy

You’ll need to think about:

  • What is its purpose and what types of content you need?
  • Where in the funnel does it sit? Are you generating new leads or nurturing current customers?
  • Will it be free, will some of it free or will it be under a subscription model?
  • What do you want readers to think/feel/do after reading it?
  • How often will you publish?

Plan it out

  • Create a content calendar
  • Mock up templates in the CMS or platform
  • Decide on topics to cover and the content type to fit
  • Think about elements that will enhance the content, eg videos, images, polls
  • Plan production timescales, including writing, editing and sign- off

Get writing

  • Commission and brief your subject matter experts (SME)s
  • Plan your content briefs
  • Decide on word counts
  • Plan your CTAs
  • Keep in tone of voice and house style

Build your magazine

  • Design your front covers and content pages
  • Create and drop your copy into article templates
  • Turtl’s digital magazine software makes this step seamless:
    • It has a built-in branding toolkit, so once you’ve set up your brand guidelines you’ll never fall outside of them
    • Templates are already set so you can simply drag and drop content boxes in and paste your copy in
    • Add interactive elements with a drag and drop editor

Edit, proofread and sign-off

  • Check your copy for errors
  • Check all your links, CTAs and interactive elements work
  • Get a fresh pair of eyes from a colleague
  • Send it through your sign-off workflow


  • Send it out into the world! Whether that’s uploading to your website through a PDF or flipbook file, uploading to Kindle, an app, or creating the URL for your Turtl Doc
  • If needed, set up your subscription model with a payment structure and an ecommerce service to take payment
  • Promote it through multi-channels such as email and socials

Analyze and iterate

If you used Turtl to create your magazine, you can track its performance using the analytics dashboard. You’ll see what’s worked well, and what to improve, based on readers’ behaviors. You can then make changes in real time, based on your insights.

How to get the most from your digital magazine

Put your readers first

Do your research – what do your readers want to read about? And how will you meet their needs? Do keyword research to see what they’re searching for.

Make it engaging, but accessible:

  • use alt text for images
  • make sure the format works with screen readers
  • check your text and visuals work together
  • make titles, headings and sub-headings clear and distinct
  • use white space and readable fonts for easy reading

Make it interactive

Don’t just copy your print magazine. Readers will engage up to 10x more when there’s a variety of content and elements they can interact with.

Get audience insights

You can access different audience data, depending on what format your magazine takes. Turtl’s digital magazine software shows you audience behaviors, so you can update your content in real time, based on evidence.

Simple ways to promote your digital magazine

If your magazine’s goal is to generate leads, you’ll need to cast your distribution net wide. Luckily, digital magazines are easy to promote thanks to their easily shareable format. So whether you’re sharing a link or a document, traditional channels work well:

  • Website
  • Email or newsletter
  • Social channels
  • Blog
  • Paid media

Tips to monetize your digital magazine

Finally, here are our suggestions to maximize your magazine’s purpose and make some money:

  • Advertising and sponsorship models: Sell your ad space or allow other brands to sponsor an issue. You can charge different amounts depending on the size or placement of the ad.
  • Subscription-based revenue models: A way to ensure predictable income. You can set up payment by issue or by month. If you have a print magazine, you could create exclusive digital content that the print version doesn’t have to drive sales.
  • Paywall strategies: Also known as gated content. You offer up some content for free, but the reader must subscribe to carry on reading.
  • Single copy sales: Not the most profitable, but gives your customers the power to pick and choose your content.

Digital magazine examples

We’ve pulled together some examples of digital magazines that use Turtl so you can get some inspiration for your publication!

IR Magazine Fall 2022

Standard Chartered Industries in Transition

Workday’s smartCIO

The Turtl Takeaway

Print magazines are great for coffee tables, but content marketers can tap into a new content stream using this traditionally aspirational, much admired format. High-quality layouts are easily achieved, but by going digital, you get a truer understanding of your readership.

Curious to learn more?

See how IR Magazine raised subscription rates by 62%, bumped up average read time, and reduced production bottlenecks. Just by using a digital platform designed for magazine creation.

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See what you can do

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More about Turtl

Turtl Format

Create interactive documents that amplify engagement and provide actionable insights

Create stunning editorial layouts and drive engagement with video and reader polling. See which topics your readers care most about to improve future issues.


What could you create?

Discover our collection of interactive content from leading businesses who publish with Turtl


Who is Turtl for?

For marketers serious about creating content to drive pipeline and revenue.