10 ideas for innovating in media and publishing

Here’s some smart tips from the shortlist for the 2014 Media Innovation Awards.  As technology drives change in reader behaviour, publishers need to think more broadly about their market and evolve new products and services.  There’s plenty of inspiration on offer from the shortlisted companies – these media businesses are stretching their content and products to find new ways to connect with their audiences.  

1. Add extra value for digital subscribers

MotorSport has developed subscriber exclusives such as F1 Grand Prix reviews for their mobile edition which have driven subscriber revenues by 39% year on year, and opened up new advertising revenues into the bargain.  Making digital subscribers feel special is a great way to boost renewals.

2. Sell publishing expertise to customers

Centaur’s publication The Lawyer, historically a controlled circulation title with all revenues from advertisers, has developed a content marketing platform that allows its readers to promote their own law firms by publishing their profiles and briefings in a special section of the website.  This has driven 16,000 leads for the firms and created a new revenue stream for the publisher.

3. Design dedicated content for smartphones

People read in a different way on phones – so consider designing a smartphone-only edition.  British Journal of Photography have separate phone and tablet editions.  The BJP weekly iPhone edition is designed to reach a wider audience.  Apptitude Media have also launched a sister iPhone-only magazine, FLTR, for the smartphone photography market.

4. Provide editorial teams with the tools to spot trends

Niche B2B publisher The Pharma Letter has built a tool to curate relevant content from around the web, allowing editors to sport emerging stories and add value to their own original content, doubling traffic and improving subs conversions by 24%.

5. Bring your brands to life at an event

Future launched The Photography Show at the NEC, with backing from their portfolio of photography mags and websites, and attracted 30,000 visitors over 4 days.  Exhibitors had a productive event and 86% rebooked their space.

6. Take readers and advertisers with you on the print to digital journey

After almost 300 years in print, Lloyds List became digital only in Dec 2013.  The team created a digital daily briefing service for subscribers, and worked closely with advertisers to help them transfer their spend from print to digital and deliver great results, with digital ad revenue increasing 140% year on year.

7. Turn a static product into a continuous service

Datamonitor has converted long form print/PDF reports into a 100% digital offering, allowing customers to quickly find the data they need.  Editorial and production workflow had to be re-engineered, but renewal rates have been strong and the continuously updated digital format has attracted new clients.

8. Do your research on a new market and hire an expert

Niche UK publisher Green Star Media wanted to launch a basketball coaching title into the US.  Their Publishing Director made a fact-finding trip and hired an experienced US basketball editor.  They applied their tried and tested e-marketing techniques to sell launch subscriptions – and are due to make a profit after just 18 months.

9. Bring your audience to your advertisers

Youth media brand Student Beans developed a mobile student ID card allowing students to access instant discounts at over 7000 venues nationwide, which has attracted new commercial partners.

10. Focus on key brands and build an ecosystem

Carnyx Group decided to divest peripheral brands and focus on marketing mag and website The Drum.  They have built 25 awards and conferences, a Recommended Agency Register and a subscription based network to serve all parts of the marketing and agency ecosystem, driving revenues by 37% and profits by 152%.

About the author:  Carolyn Morgan has launched, grown, acquired and sold media businesses across print, digital and events.  She has programmed conferences on digital publishing and advises publishers on their digital strategy.

If you’d like a chat about how you can reinvent your publishing or media business for the digital age, please get in touch.

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