Come Together: Publishers Harness the Power of Community-Based Publishing
The word "community" is used a lot in the magazine business these days. Publishers strive to generate comments on their web articles, stalk social media for followers, and worry over attendance numbers for events and webinars. These efforts are well intentioned, as active communities mean healthy subscription numbers and fertile advertising grounds. However, a strictly by-the-numbers approach to community building overlooks key aspects of being a member of any community: contributing true value, helping to solve problems, and behaving as one among peers.
By looking to publishers that have built a strong community around their brand and content, it's clear that understanding and anticipating the needs of the audience is paramount. "Everyone says they put the audience first," says UBMTech president Paul Miller. "But they don't really. They put the advertisers first." It's a mistake that Miller, head of such tech-centric sites as EE Times, Light Reading, and InformationWeek, thinks prevents publishers from creating content that draws real engagement.
Build A Content Hub Around Community Needs
One essential step in building a stronger community, as Miller emphasized above, is to become more knowledgeable about your readers and their needs. By surveying his audience, largely composed of tech and IT professionals in the engineering, software, and gaming space, Miller found that the two biggest concerns for his audience were time and the fear of becoming obsolete. "Those two things obviously conflict," says Miller. "The more time you spend keeping up to date, the less time you have to do your job, which creates time pressure. What we wanted to find out was how do those professionals try to resolve that conflict?"