3 Concepts for Every Publisher’s Success
My friend Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry’s well-known and outspoken consultants, economic forecasters, commentators and pundits. As director of WhatTheyThink.com’s Economics and Research Center, he was pontificating and predicting in a recent online column the future of our industry, and he threw out the following ideas.
1. “Managing” content is not the issue; deploying content is.
As my readers know, I have been suggesting similar concepts in this column for years. I think we can all agree that today’s print publishers have attained and acquired an excellence in creating and managing vast amounts of content. In fact, nobody does it better than we do, and that is why we get paid the big bucks to continue plying our chosen trade. But, as we move forward, we will be continuously challenged and even threatened by the need to deploy our content. These deployment tactics will require increasing needs for greater global reach, efficiency and accountability. It is/will be the deployment of this well-managed content that will be at the core of any successful franchise.
2. Reaching desired targets is not as important as having targets find the content.
This has always been an intriguing exercise for print publishers, but now it gets harder. There was, at one time, a finite playing field for print publishers. You had either the newsstand circulation or subscription circulation or, in the best of both worlds, you had both. Here, you were limited to the actual number of newsstands available to you and the efficient use of the U.S. Postal Service. In the new and future tier of publishing, you enter the infinite world of global digital publishing.
Now, instead of trying to maximize a limited number of newsstands to attract loyal readers, you have to attract them in the forest of unlimited competition of the worldwide Internet. This shouldn’t scare any publisher; it can be just a matter of perspective. You now have the ability to reach a far greater number of potential readers than ever before. That is the good part of the equation.
The down side is that, where once you had, at best, 7,000 consumer titles to compete with in a limited newsstand arena, you now have an unlimited number of writers, bloggers and publishers seeking the attention of as many readers as possible, just as you are.
3. Rules may change, but the objectives do not. Long-term profitability and innovation never go out of style.
This, my friends, is what we must take to heart. We have always had the content, and we have adapted technologically quite well as an industry to bring superior efficiencies to content distribution.
Now we need to adapt once again to a new paradigm of content distribution. The rules are, indeed, changing—and changing quickly. But with creative innovation and smart leadership, any title or series of titles can not only exist in the new world order, but prosper as never before. Where once the best possible execution of a well-rounded business plan had somewhat narrow parameters of possible success, we can now pursue and sell our content to an unlimited number of readers.
The new performance possibilities, paralleled with new, innovative technologic practices, may yet prove to be the best candidates for initiating the biggest revolution in successful publishing since Gutenberg’s moveable type.
Bob Sacks (aka BoSacks) is a consultant to the printing/publishing industry and president of The Precision Media Group (www.BoSacks.com). He is publisher and editor of a daily international e-newsletter, Heard on the Web. Sacks has held posts as director of manufacturing and distribution, senior sales manager (paper), chief of operations, pressman, cameraman and corporate janitor.