Five megatrends for 2013 that publishers can’t ignore

How will your publishing business evolve in 2013?  Here’s five megatrends that you must include in your plans for this year – and some suggestions for what you can do about them…

1. The world goes mobile

Sometime this year web searches from mobile devices will surpass PC/laptop searches, 30% of 25-44s in the UK now own tablets, and the growth of low-cost Android tablets will expand this further.  People open their emails on the move on their phone, and delete what’s not relevant.  Tablets are used for shopping, at home, in the evening, and for relaxed browsing and reading.  Consumers, possibly unreasonably, expect websites and publications to transfer seamlessly between their multiple devices.

So publishers will have to ensure their websites render well on all devices, their subscription forms are mobile friendly, and their email marketing adjusts to how people are now using phones and tablets.  Plus create digital editions that work on whatever device customers are using.

2. Data is king

In traditional publishing the subscriber list was the gold dust.  Now there are multiple sources of information about what your audience is consuming, where and when:  website registrations, email newsletter recipients, data on who is downloading what content, social media followers, event registrants, app notifications….

Your data can be your fortune, so take the time to bring together all the disparate sources, interrogate for new insights into what content is popular, and take the time to tailor your content and marketing messages to different sub-groups.

3. Consulting your community

The people formerly known as readers now want to have a chance to shape your content.  Social media allows them to comment and ask questions in real time.  They expect quick responses and can be expert contributors in specialist markets.  And the good news in this digital world is that they still like to meet up in real-life, and a media brand is a natural host.

So invest the time to make it easy for your audience to contribute ideas online and in real life, whether through LinkedIn, facebook or live events.  You’ll build relationships that will grow loyalty to your brands, and get some new ideas

4. Changing advertising

The old model of paying a rate for media space in a magazine, on a website or at a live event, is fast disappearing.  Marketers are highly focussed on measurable results, and now have their own media channels to reach an audience.  They are looking for unique solutions that bring together print, digital and live, and make their brand stand out.  There’s much talk in the US of “native advertising” – not a long way from the old-style advertorial, which makes use of editorial and design skills.

Publishers and their sales teams must change their approach to key ad clients, taking the time to fully understand their needs and devise creative, tailored solutions that use their editorial and design knowhow and bring together multi channels to deliver measurable results.  That’s the route to premium rates.

5. The borderless world

Digital channels, from email newsletters, social media or online events, aren’t limited by geography, and even small publishers are surprised by the appeal of their content to readers internationally.  With the advantage of the English language, UK publishers’ content can be appealing worldwide.  Many tablet magazines are sold in parts of the world where physical distribution is challenging.

Publishers can use low-risk digital media, such as LinkedIn, online events, digital newsstands and app stores, to test the appeal of their content outside the UK, identifying territories that might reward further development.

About the author:

Carolyn Morgan works with specialist consumer and b2b publishers to develop practical digital media strategies, building on many years experience in niche publishing.  Carolyn runs the Specialist Media Conference, which explores the key issues facing niche publishers, through case studies, panel Q&A and interactive small group discussions.  The next event is taking place on 24 April 2013, at the British Library, London.   Carolyn also moderates the Specialist Media Network, a lively LinkedIn group where over 1200 niche publishers swap ideas and tips.  Request to join here.

For a no-obligation discussion about your digital publishing strategy, please get in touch.