What does Digital Publishing mean to you? Not long ago, we defined it as simply moving the publishing industry from offline to online. Now, the term has more complex connotations and is one that involves more industries and professions than ever before. To say ‘we are all content creators’ could not be more true – brands are building in-house content teams to generate better social engagement, brand image and sales interaction with their audience.
So when did the industry begin to change? For me, it was towards the end of 2014 – the publishing industry had only just made the digital shift. Next, new technologies and platforms burst onto the digital scene leaving more obstacles than solutions that publishers had to overcome. Now, we’re no longer adapting, we’re executing and leading the latest innovations.
Take social media, for example, a forever changing concept that continues to bring not only new methods of sharing and new tools for interaction but also new ways to better track, measure and monetize your content.
But can social media help subsidize the decline in revenues elsewhere? Snapchat’s ‘Discover’ created a new channel for a short, sharp interaction between publishers and their audience. The increase in young Snapchat users has created huge success for the platform thanks to its unique capabilities, unparalleled on other social platforms. Discover may have become a crowded space for publishers, but the best of them will endeavor to create content that is both unique and engaging, every day – an ideal that should transcend to all content we create.
Recently, there has been talk of projections not being met – there have been moves within the industry to discern product portfolios and structure content differently to increase ad margins. Mobile and video are two areas at the moment where publishers are seeing good traction for developing additional revenue streams. Mobile is projected to keep rising, with ad spend increasing to be around 92% of total US digital spending by 2020. So, what are publishers doing to utilize this?
To improve monetization in the long-term, it is important to have a focus on your audience – both current and new. As the digital landscape becomes more saturated, there’s a belief that more eyeballs means more money. However, it’s counterproductive to greet the audience in a format designed to attract visitors, i.e., clickbait. Audience retention is built through meaningful interaction, through building an authentic relationship and offering good content.
With all of this in mind, it is important not to lose focus, as a publisher, of what matters and what brought you here in the first place. Content has to be original, it has to appeal and offer something to the reader; it is more important than ever to ensure that your content offering is rich and fulfilling to your end users. Whether it be through delivering video, long form writing, social or snappy articles, the commitment has to come from the top. The emphasis to deliver a worthy product needs to be trained and repeated throughout the organization. The space is competitive.
The Digital Publishing Innovation Summit prides itself on bringing the right people in to speak to you, to educate and to open your minds to the future of this industry, exploring how it will be successful and why it is important that we continue to push innovation, new technology and support the old and the new within the publishing sphere.
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Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.