Brobel Design Relies on TruEdit to Create 88 Issues of Kids Discover Magazine in Less Than 10 Months

For over 25 years, the Kids Discover team of talented writers, designers, artists, and industry experts has been publishing award-winning educational reading materials for kids, including the print version of Kids Discover Magazine.

In 2016, Kids Discover decided to modernize their magazine archive to create relevant experiences that would increase engagement. Between 1991 and 2014, they had published 175 issues with production time averaging almost four months per 20-page issue. By partnering with Brobel, they hoped to create 88 issues in less than 10 months. It was a huge challenge, as it meant that over 1,000 pages would be in production at all times, with additions and corrections coming from many contributors at once.

Brobel’s Lead Designer and co-owner Ian Brown knew that, in order to deliver high-quality, error-free publications, his team would need an exceptionally smooth workflow that allowed for real-time content updates. They would also need a way to monitor progress and manage content and collaboration within a single system that worked with existing creative production tools like Adobe InDesign and InCopy.

He found the solution he was looking for in MEI’s TruEdit. The cloud-based solution could support concurrent web, mobile, and print content production from any web browser. It could integrate with InDesign, InCopy, and Microsoft Word, and it supported real-time updates, version control, and project management tools.

“We were excited to help Kids Discover take advantage of existing content, re-envision it, and make it accessible in print, mobile, web, and different languages to help kids learn,” says Brown. “But the aggressive 10-month timeline required us to work with a large geographically dispersed team that would have to track multiple issues and versions at once. And it would be prone to error when transferring so many large files. That’s when we knew we needed TruEdit to help centrally manage each project and keep content flowing.”

 

TMBI uses Twixl Publisher and MEI to deliver digital issues of Reader’s Digest and 11 other popular titles

A global media and direct marketing company known for brands like Reader’s Digest and Taste of Home, Trusted Media Brands, Inc. (TMBI) has 40 million readers and 60 million social media followers. In 2017, the company adopted Twixl Publisher to create and publish their digital magazine issues with a more efficient and cost-effective mobile app platform. MEI is the primary North American distributor of Twixl Publisher and for installation, training and entitlement services.

Challenge

When digital magazines first made a splash on the early versions of the iPad, TMBI immediately began working to deliver their titles in digital formats.

“We dove in and spent a lot of time producing digital editions of our magazines,” says Kerri Balliet, TMBI’s Vice President of Content Operations. “They were robust and interactive, however scaling that business was challenging and not cost efficient.”

TMBI needed to find a more cost-effective mobile app platform that would enable them to create high-quality digital experiences across tablets and smartphones.

Solution

Balliet and team began evaluating other tools in the marketplace and discovered Twixl Publisher. “In reviewing other digital publishing tools, we discovered that Twixl had very comparable functionality to the other digital publishing platforms on the market. It certainly had everything we needed to publish our titles at TMBI.”

The cost was a big draw. “Twixl was a fraction of the cost of our legacy digital publishing solution,” she says, “so not only could we create the right customer experience, but we could realize significant savings as well.”

TMBI implemented Twixl Publisher, which has allowed them to deliver a consistent, immersive reading experience that includes interactive versions of their popular Word Power and Around the World with One Question features in Reader’s Digest.

So far, TMBI’s development team has transitioned 9 of their 12 titles to Twixl. “By moving to Twixl, we could standardize our digital titles across the board,” says Kate Unger, Business Analyst for TMBI. “We believe this standardization will allow us to scale more easily in the future.”

TMBI has found MEI to be a valuable partner as well. “Our team was new to Twixl Publisher and MEI was instrumental in bringing us up to speed and helping us navigate some complicated waters,” says Kerri Balliet. “They’ve provided us with expert support throughout the process, so we’ve been able to resolve issues quickly and stay on track with development. We look forward to continuing to work closely with them as we bring more of our titles to Twixl, and we’ll count on them to help us expand the features of our digital magazines so we can keep engaging and inspiring our loyal readers.”

See TMBI titles and more in the Twixl App Gallery

 

TruEdit and Twixl Power New NEA Today Magazine App

National Education Association and Network Media Partners Launch New NEA Today Magazine Mobile App—with Workflow Powered by MEI’s TruEdit and Twixl Publisher

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation’s largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. The Association has affiliates in every state and in more than 14,000 communities nationwide.

This spring, NEA debuted a new version of the NEA Today magazine app, which is now available to the organization’s 3 million members. This launch represents a major accomplishment, made possible by the Network Media Partners design team, and the TruEdit HTML content creation and Twixl Publisher mobile app platforms.

“NEA wanted to increase advocacy and engagement among our members, and we also wanted to reach new pro-public education audiences by expanding our digital footprint into the Apple and Android marketplaces,” says Earline Spence, who led the project from concept to delivery.

The original application was produced using Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS). That version lacked a number of components that NEA had envisioned, and with fewer than 1,000 downloads during the first 18 months of the apps existence, the project was minimally successful.

“Our annual survey readership results found that very few NEA members realized that an app version of the flagship magazine existed,” Spence says. “The need for a new approach was clear, so we launched an extensive RFP process, during which we selected Network Media Partners for development of the new application, and Weber Shandwick to build a cohesive marketing strategy.”

To boost results, Network created a new content strategy with NEA, and started work on a redesign of the NEA Today app using Twixl Publisher. Network also partnered with Managing Editor Inc. (MEI), provider of TruEdit and North American reseller and support partner for Twixl Publisher. MEI worked with Network to integrate TruEdit and Twixl Publisher to enable Network to develop and implement the new NEA Today app. The results have been exceptional, and more than 1,800 downloads occurred during the first 3 months alone.

“The new app is more intuitive, and we’ve been able to integrate content from many NEA Today vehicles—not just the print magazines. The redesigned app also includes a carousel on the home screen which allows us to continuously publish fresh content on a weekly schedule,” says Spence.

There have been additional benefits to working with Network and for using Twixl Publisher, Spence continues. “Network has been an incredible partner throughout the development process. They came to the table with fresh ideas and provided excellent support and expertise in a way that made things very easy on the client side,” she says.

“Plus, our costs are down 80 percent. The transition from Adobe DPS to Twixl Publisher with Network as partner has been a seamless, win-win situation.”

Jen Smith, vice president of creative strategy for Network Media Partners, cites her team’s intentional design process as key to the project’s success. “The technology allows us to publish continuously and integrate three NEA Today titles and audiences,” she says. “Also, we’ve built content that is specific to each device, so it’s pixel-perfect for iPads and responsive for smartphones.”

With the new digital app up and running, NEA has begun to use it for events, like the organization’s annual conference. Plans for an NEA podcast are underway, and the association will publish digital magazines more frequently, offering custom versions for various NEA audiences, including students studying to become educators, new K-12 teachers, and higher education professionals.

To ensure digital reader adoption rates continue to grow, NEA will continue to enhance the magazine app.

“Network’s creative design and app-building expertise, coupled with the power of the TruEdit and Twixl Publisher platforms, has drastically enhanced NEA members’ digital experience,” says Spence. “We are confident that Network will continue to help us deliver quality digital products to educators in the months and years ahead.”