The publishing industry has been buffeted as much as any by the digital winds of change, throwing up all manner of challenges and opportunities.
The opportunities are considerable and, although some have been slow to react, many publishers have rolled out digital strategies, with the likes of Hearst, Penton Media and Random House going so far as to acquire specialist agencies.
Of course, we’ve supported our clients in this – see our work with perennial award winners Tindal Street Press for one example. The website not only allows them to showcase themselves, their writers and their publications but also upcoming events, educational resources and their recently launched creative writing programme.
Beyond their websites, publishers also need to think hard about how they can facilitate and promote online engagement with readers. While some have stolen a march in this area, others have hesitated and now find themselves lagging behind. Still, at this stage, plenty of potential remains.
Here are just three examples of digital opportunities for publishers:
1. Giving authors the support and tools they need to build their profile
When done properly, we find that individual authors are able to build much larger online followings than their publishers. We believe that publishers can play an important role in supporting this, working with their authors to ensure that they reach more people – connecting with readers and reaping the benefits.
2. Building relationships with online influencers
It’s not just the traditional broadcast media that has a voice these days – it’s not even limited to the lit bloggers, forums and online reading groups. These days everyone with a Facebook account could be considered to be a publisher and what’s more, study after study has shown that people trust recommendations from their friends more than anything else.
Publishers can take advantage of this by tapping into the conversations taking place around them, nurturing advocates and helping them to share their enthusiasm with others.
3. Building online communities around different verticals
As well as building followers for individual authors, we see a lot of scope for publishers in building online communities around particular themes – whether that be by genre, subject matter or audience. A few attempts has been made in this area and we’ve seen both good and bad examples as companies scrabble to hold their readers that bit closer. There’s certainly more to come in this area.
…and that’s really just scratching the surface. There are many more exciting developments in ebooks, apps, creative digital campaigns… the list goes on.
If you’re a publisher and have been looking to build out your capabilities in this area then we’d like to share our specific expertise and experience with you. Get in touch to find out more.