Since the arrival of digital, publishing has irrevocably changed. In under 30 years it has transformed from the colorful static websites of the '90s, to digital editions in the '00s, to today's dynamic, responsive multimedia sites and multi-channel content outlets. Traditional publishers are being challenged with how to monetize and fully benefit in this digital age. This blog examines a few of the reasons why and highlights one publisher who has made the transition and is taking advantage of an omni-channel publishing strategy.
During the past two decades, publishers have had to contend with an ever-changing digital landscape and many new competitors, not to mention declining ad revenues and the lack of a clear business model for monetizing their valuable content. This has become even more challenging as so much content is available for free consumption in this many-to-many social economy. As a result, many publishers are still struggling with the transition to digital and are failing to fully embrace digital platforms to engage readers and advertisers.
Meanwhile, consumption of online content has increased, which is unsurprising considering the surge of smartphone adoption over the past 10 years. Now people spend the equivalent of a day a week online, which is twice as long as a decade ago. Audiences are discerning; they demand quality content from quality publishers. And that's a huge opportunity for publishers who have already invested in content quality and brand recognition.
The changing DXP landscape
Software vendors have had to adapt too, creating technologies that can deliver rich interactive experiences and respond to rapid and more frequent publishing schedules with two-way conversations between readers and publishers. No longer is it about only replicating print online, but being able to respond to multiple challenges - multi-country, multilingual, multi-brand, multichannel - quickly and cost-effectively.
Giving digital readers a multimedia experience is essential to building traffic and engagement. In fact, if you're not making use of rich and interactive storytelling formats, you're likely to be left behind by both readers and advertisers.
Effective digital editorial management requires the ability to take advantage of new ways of publishing and managing content that appeals to online readers and creates efficiencies in the content production process. It's also a means of future-proofing your editorial assets so that you can leverage them to greater business benefit now or in the future.
Digital puts content where your readers want it
The very first step in digital editorial is a mind shift: stepping away from thinking about content bound by issues and exploring how readers consume and engage with content in different environments and contexts, digital or otherwise.
Unlike print magazines, where extensive lead time is typically required to produce and prepare content for a traditional issue, digital media outlets operate on a continuous flow, where content is created and published in a more compressed (often near real-time) timeline. And unlike print media, online content isn't set in stone. It can be updated at will, corrected, and optimized over time.
Take the example of Habitat Magazine, a 35-year-old New York-based publication for co-op and condo boards and residents (a long-term client of eZ Partner Mugo Web) which has found that a little experimentation with new web-based revenue streams has enabled it not only to increase its ability to make money, but has turned its website into its most valuable revenue generator. "All the growth we have seen in the past year has been because of the website," says Carol Ott, Habitat's founder and publisher.
Using eZ Platform, a modern Digital Experience Platform, Habitat relaunched its website to fully deploy the full complement of web capabilities needed to meet evolving reader and advertiser expectations.
Along with obvious updates such as mobile responsiveness and easier editorial workflows, Habitat also needed drastic improvements to its subscription processes to leverage its rich, historical archives and to effectively service - and upsell - subscribers. It also added multimedia hosting capabilities and the flexibility to feature sponsored content throughout the site.
Indeed, sponsored video content alone has grown to 33 percent of Habitat's web revenue. And it's led Ott to explore opportunities to act as a service provider - creating custom content for industry suppliers that need help.
Such changes have given Habitat a secure future even though it still considers itself print-centric. "Most of our time is still spent putting out the print product," Ott says. "Our audience isn't giving up print for digital. But I believe you need to be on many platforms, and we are making money on our website because we've done a lot of work to make it so."
A flexible DXP is essential
The ability to create great user experiences, be that through personalized content, content being available on myriad devices in different formats, integrating social engagement, and enabling user generated content will keep readers engaged and loyal.
Testing out new avenues of generating revenue such as sponsorships, recommending products as complements to the traditional sources of income in subscriptions and advertising may make the difference in staying profitable.
It's also crucial that you use the right platform to publish your content. One that is robust, can scale, adapt to your new business models and have the functionality not just to manage content but incorporate personalization and ecommerce. Your platform must also interoperate with other platforms and services, such as subscription fulfillment and customer management. An ability to separate content from design ensures you can repurpose and reuse your content across a variety of channels beyond your website.
Watch the webinar on demand: Habitat Magazine: Growing Revenue and Engagement with an Agile Multi-Channel Strategy. Learn at first-hand from a publisher which has built new digital channels to engage its highly-focused audience and grow revenues.