3 tips for a successful digital publishing strategy


I was invited by Google to present at a regional publisher and newspaper forum. Google wants to show these publishers potential ways to penetrate the digital realm by doing the following in the mobile world:

  • Create digital products.

  • Organise the production.

  • Monetise the reach.

Based on my experience with a publisher’s daily work and the (internal) barriers faced, I created three main topics for a successful digital publisher’s strategy:

  1. Adapt instead of copy.

    The core of print and digital content products is and must be similar: high-quality editorial work (research, selection, commentary). The execution is totally different.

    Mobile device users like summaries and overviews, and are mostly time-stamp driven. Print readers are mostly in a lean-back situation. They want and are able to read long versions. Tablet users are between these two media.

    Rule 1: Analyse your target group using your brand and content on the dedicated devices, and produce different, nearly one-to-one content solutions for every device and usage class.

  2. Monetisation (paid content, ad sales, and syndication).

    The way to create a sustainable business model is one of the most discussed issues in the digital publisher strategy.

    Let’s have a general look at this point: A business, which is based on a single line of revenues, is a weak one. Negative economic cycle periods will kill a company that is not able to generate revenues in other ways.

    Rule 2: Create products that are able to establish paid content and ad sales at the same time. The share of revenues could individually be in the range from 10% up to 50% of one of these lines of revenue.

    And don’t forget to think about B2B content syndication. In the early stages of the Internet, content syndication was one of the big stories, and now we have the technology to do this.

  3. Distribution (pricing and market places).

    From my point of view, the distribution is the last bulwark of the print area within a publishing company. To put distribution in perspective, the people who work on this front are like the ad sales guys driven by KPIs. And these KPIs are coming from the management team.

    The current aim is to build a user and customer database. But why should the digital user give his address? There is no need to do this. And the second major obstruction is the pricing. In most cases, the print pricing is the goal.

    Rule 3: Use a one-click buy on digital-only pricing. A digital distribution strategy can only be successful if it is only done digitally.

A reminder for you every day: Digital will not save print, but it will save your company!

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