Seven insights for digital publishers

New ideas for digital publishers were shared at the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit in June, with speakers from traditional and digital startup publishers, agencies, brands and broadcasters sharing their latest experiences. I moderated the first day of the summit, and these were my seven top insights for ambitious digital publishers.

1. Explore new revenue sources

For most publishers, print revenues are declining, and digital display is stalling. So many are focussing on exploring new options, with digital subscriptions, events and branded content solutions for advertisers the most popular. Some are driving new revenues from affiliates and ecommerce, or even crowdfunding investigative journalism.

2. Use analytics to refine digital content

Smarter analytics on user behaviour is allowing publishers to tweak digital content to build readership. Mail online creates 1500 articles a day and have a real time dashboard that allows editors to change prominence of articles and headlines to optimise engagement.

3. Tailor content for different social platforms

Each social platform has a specific audience and content needs to match its format. Bloomberg have developed a news channel on twitter, Tictoc, with dedicated short form video content. The Mirror makes bespoke video content for twitter and runs multiple Facebook groups for specific communities.

4. Diversify social platforms: life beyond Facebook

Many publishers have seen a dramatic fall in Facebook referrals following algorithm changes and are now investing time in new platforms. The Mirror have put more content onto Instagram and seen a dramatic rise in traffic; they are also experimenting with LinkedIn. Apple News is proving a good source for Huffington Post.

5. Develop branded content for clients

Publishers are developing closer, collaborative relationships with select number of clients, creating bespoke content that engages their audience and delivers objectives. Content can be video, audio, social, research or events as well as simple articles. Some publishers have separate, dedicated teams for branded content.

6. Use content to drive ecommerce

Consumer publishers are now developing models to generate significant revenues from e-commerce. Future are making £8.9m pa from techradar and other product review sites. Key to their success is specially written product review content, optimised for search, and a proprietary price comparison tool. Dennis are now selling £30m of cars through their buyacar site, again using SEO to attract keen buyers and product review content to help them make the right choice.

7. Get ready for voice and visual search

Voice is developing its own ecosystem, thanks to Amazon and Google’s investment in devices that can search by voice. So publishers need to ensure their content is discoverable via voice search as well as text, and develop their own audio-based content. Visual search based apps are transforming mobile shopping, another trend that publishers should follow.


If you’d like to discuss how you could adapt your media business to take advantage of some of these trends, feel free to get in touch to have a chat over the phone or over a coffee.


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About the author:

Carolyn Morgan has over twenty years experience launching, growing, buying and selling specialist media businesses across print, digital and live events. Carolyn now advises publishers large and small on their digital strategy and writes and speaks on digital publishing strategy.

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