Paul Miller: “Publishers Must Put Audience First & Take Risks”
Publishing Executive asked industry thought leaders to discuss the big ideas that are changing the magazine industry. We are excited about the future of publishing, and we hope these essays invigorate you with new and illuminating perspectives on that future. View the complete essay collection here.
I believe that we are in the final stages of what will be seen as a transitional time for media. That is a period of 20 to 25 years that marked the beginning of the end of traditional print media and the new era of digitally driven information. What has happened to traditional media during this time has been well documented in a plethora of angst-ridden commentaries lamenting the devastation that digital media has wrought on the industry. For those that have managed to survive, the next five years are crucial. Companies need to innovate, increase their tolerance for risk, and fully understand that in times of change, very few, if any, businesses that were leaders in one era are able to become leaders in the next. Indeed, the rise of Google, Amazon, Facebook, Ali Baba, and Tencent, has confirmed this.
So how do we become relevant and competitive again? How will we survive the next five years? By being bold, taking risks, and investing in audience experience, analytics, and new client products and services.
Audience (and Data) First
Firstly, publishers need to realize that their greatest asset is their audience. The ability to attract people to our content on a regular basis gives us the chance to know our audience with a depth of insight that many companies are looking for. We need to treat the audience as the primary customer. That means we protect them from email abuse, listen to them, analyze the content that they interact with the most (time, shares, likes, etc.), and create products that help them do their job better, enjoy their leisure time more, and become more productive.