Is Good Content the Answer for Publishers? Yes and No.
The following is the editor's letter from the Summer Issue of Publishing Executive. Read more articles from the issue here.
In May, we held the Publishing Executive Digital Media Summit, which gathered together top leaders in the magazine publishing industry. The goal of the program was to cover a broad range of strategies and topics all connected to improving digital media strategies.
The summit featured panels on the challenges of mobile, innovative ways to harness data, and savvy digital revenue strategies (the last of which you can read about here). Months later I’m still pondering one of the big takeaways. We made an effort to take the conversation in as many directions as possible, but it inevitably came back to one thing: content.
Sure, data is great. But many of the speakers at the Digital Media Summit noted that if you don’t lead with good content, you’re not likely to gather the “right” data. And as for mobile, it’s less about the technology and more about whether platform-appropriate content and experiences are being created.
Is it overly obvious to suggest that “content” is what matters the most in publishing? Perhaps—but there’s certainly a reawakening to that concept in the industry. As an editor, it’s a bit of an “Uh duh” moment. Quality is what we editors fight for. Welcome to the club.
To hear a room full of industry leadership say that content is indeed king—well it’s refreshing. But here’s the caveat to the notion that “good content” is the key. Very few people know what they mean by “good content.“ And certainly there are many debatable definitions.
Is good content well-reported and researched long-form journalism?
Is good content content that gets you traffic and clicks?
Is good content that which creates a favorable environment for your advertisers?
Is good content content that is useful and enlightening?
I certainly can’t answer those questions for anyone, but I can offer my idea of good content. Good content is like the most meaningful relationships in your life: ongoing, complex, nuanced, devoted, uplifting.
With this in mind we decided to make this the first ever “Content Issue” of Publishing Executive. Throughout you’ll find ideas for leading your business with content. How one B2B publisher is using evocative content to make an impact in its markets (p. 10). How content and commerce are a powerful and profitable combination. How publishers can use analytics to improve the effectiveness of their content. Why podcasts play to the strengths of publishers that publish rich content. Why content know-how will equate to revenue for publishers that align themselves with the content marketing boom. And why strong content brands have life beyond the magazine pages.
How are you leading with content? Drop us a line: email@example.com.
Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.