Seven Steps to a lucky 2013 for specialist publishers

So how do you think the post-Christmas mobile world will affect how your audience wants to consume and pay for content?  Now that a third of adults in the US own an e-reader or tablet, will British consumers be far behind?  What does all this mean for specialist consumer or b2b publishers – and how can you get your niche media business onto a winning streak for 2013?

Here’s my 7 steps to help niche publishers improve their luck this year.

1.     Ask the audience – part 1

Ask your readers how they would like to receive your content: you may be surprised at the appetite for digital versions.  Yes you may have to grapple with complex bundling and pricing, but there is an immediate benefit if you can save on print, paper and post – especially for international subscribers.

2.     Ask the audience – part 2

Find out from your advertisers what they really want to achieve: hot leads, sampling, awareness, thought leadership, and then design an apparently bespoke campaign that delivers this – and is easily measurable.  It is more work than selling pages or banners, but if it works you’ll retain their business.

3.     Treat your subscribers

In print or digital, it’s the committed fans who’ll generate the bulk of your profits, so invest more time in understanding their needs, adding extra goodies and developing a clever renewal series than in chasing the latest fly-by-night passers by.

4.     Get ready for mobile

Not only do you need to get your publications onto mobile channels – and that means Android as well as iOS and phones as well as tablets, you also need to make sure your website works smoothly on mobile devices, as busy consumers use any slivers of downtime to research and browse.  And since up to 25% of emails are opened on mobile devices, your email marketing strategy needs a mobile makeover too.

5.     Find the data nuggets

What’s the real reason people want your publication?  It might be a surprisingly obscure data set or trusted product reviews – but it is the nugget that keeps them buying.  Focus on developing those exclusive data nuggets and make sure they are priced appropriately on digital platforms as well as print.

6.     Host the debate in your community

Get engaged with your audience and find out what’s bugging them.  Host debates and discussions on whatever channel suits them – live events and conferences, online discussion groups, twitter or full online events and webinars.  Become the place where the opinion formers hang out and you’ll get the inside track on the latest ideas and also attract the attention of commercial sponsors.

7.     Sell products direct

The growth in using mobile devices to browse and shop in down time means publishers have to start to sell products directly, capitalising on that moment when a reader has read your in-depth review and their appetite is whetted for a purchase.  Take a look at how seamlessly Time Out incorporates ticket sales into its website and app and work out a way to test ecommerce in your market, even in a small way.

Join the Specialist Media Network Group on Linked In to swap ideas and connect with 1200 other niche publishing people.

Save the date for the 2013 Specialist Media Conference, taking place at the British Library on 24 April 2013, for a day of inspiration from innovative specialist media people.

About the author: Carolyn Morgan works with niche publishers to develop practical digital strategies.  She regularly speaks and writes on digital publishing strategy, programmes the Specialist Media Conference and moderates the Specialist Media Network on LinkedIn, where over 1200 niche publishers swap ideas and network.  If you’d like a no obligation discussion about how to develop your digital publishing strategy, please get in touch.