Transforming Traditional Print Publishing for Success

To stay relevant in these very challenging times, publishers have to work hard. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics being used by some who are not just surviving, but are actually thriving in the modern media environment.

  1. chevron left iconTransforming Traditional Print Publishing for Success
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Morag Cuddeford-JonesSeptember 29, 2020
  • Digital Asset Management
  • Digital Marketing

There’s no way around it – these are still very trying times for print publishing. Whether it’s pandemics, the subsequent economic shock, or simply industry disruption, it can be very hard for the more so called ‘traditional’ businesses to adapt and survive.

This is never truer for the publishing sector, which has seen revenues significantly eroded by the shift to online advertising as well as quality digital content distributed via computer, tablet and mobile. To stay relevant amidst all this change, publishers have had to work hard.

But all is not doom and gloom. There are some common themes driving publishers who aren’t just surviving, but are actually thriving in the modern media environment. Let’s take a look at some of the tactics being used by some of these organizations.

Serving Niche Audiences

Targeting smaller, more specific readerships doesn’t mean that only the most special interest publications have a future. It means that publishers of all shapes and sizes have to be able to tailor content around certain groups. That may mean using the core print publication as a jumping off point for more dedicated content, either in localized versions of print, or in complimentary digital copy.

Achieving this means being able to link content to consumer data and identify assets that work across multiple groups – and, equally, aren’t appropriate for others. It means being able to deploy journalists quickly to serve a range of content needs, where copy can be repurposed and repackaged for the various target audiences. While ad revenues in mass media are generally declining, in those who are able to serve up niche audiences with a higher propensity to engage, ad spend and subscriber revenue are actually growing.

Investing in Brand

Differentiation and value are key to print success. While niche audiences help print magazines find their market, establishing a premium positioning and strong brand affinity are what drives long term loyalty.

Premiumization can mean high quality binding and paper stock. There are several neuromarketing studies that would suggest people of every age appreciate the tactile quality of print materials and not just that but engaging other senses such as smell from opening a mint magazine, fresh from the stands.

However, what really drives the power of the brand is strong, consistent content that always supports the look and feel of the magazine and reinforces its unique identity. Content that is always on time, up to date, supported by other channels and high quality. Delivering against all those parameters can be a challenge but content is non-negotiable when it comes to supporting a coherent brand experience.

Injecting Rigor

It’s been a while since the prevailing image of glossy magazines was a row of abandoned editorial desks as the whole office poured out for long lunches and even longer deadlines. Magazine production is a tightly honed process and print is expensive so everything has to be right, every time.

Making this process even more complex is the fact that print, for most organizations, is part of a multiplatform publishing business, so assets and content need to translate seamlessly across mobile and desktop, social media and web, as well as the magazine itself. Increasingly, publishers are finding they have to invest in data experts as well as technologies to manage the omnichannel publishing process effectively.

In fact, Boston Consulting Group (BCG) has identified that a successful print transformation “requires a shift in thinking, organizational strategy and technology investments”. New workflows are needed to make sure copy and images flow to the right destinations in the right format, without costly delays. Cost efficiencies are critical in an industry where margins can be razor thin, so making sure there is no duplication of assets – and reuse where possible – is an important success factor. Publishers are even getting to grips with automation, not to undermine the overall creativity of their output, but to take on time consuming, mundane tasks, and to free the business up for further innovation.

An inspiring example of how publishers can enable greater efficiencies, and meet the demands of a busy sector, all while diversifying to become a growing media house, can be found in the success story of censhare customer Egmont Publishing. The publisher works with censhare’s Digital Asset Management solution (DAM) to automate its layouts and save each employee an average of 30 minutes a day in doing so.

Discover how the company also managed to generate eight times more frequent visual refreshes for its magazines, all while reusing 10% of its content to drive cost savings. By bringing order to chaos (including finding and dispensing with 188 duplicate images of strawberry cakes!) and finding more time to create, Egmont Publishing is not only surviving but thriving in the tough media sector.

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Morag Cuddeford-Jones
Morag has been a marketing journalist and editor for 20 years but is still trying to convince herself that she doesn’t look it. She came to journalism after a brief flirtation with the music and entertainment industry, which ended when she discovered that she nurtured a passionate dislike of any tunes not produced in 1985.

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