written by
Iva Divic

4 principles publishers should follow to thrive in digital era

Knowledge 7 min read
publishers in digital era

The publishing industry is on rocky grounds and they have to adapt to the digital era to reach their readers. Publishing executives who built their careers on selling ads are unwilling to accept that the economics of digital is fundamentally different than print. In order to not only survive but also thrive in the digital space, traditional and print-only publishers need to take action now. In this blog post, we'll discuss the ways how to apply technological opportunities and embracing new business ideas.

Table of contents:

  1. The Story of Henry R. Luce
  2. Innovation
  3. Focus on great storytelling and creating quality content
  4. Encourage collaboration
  5. Reaching readers everywhere
  6. Let's recap

The Story of Henry R. Luce

History is a great teacher so before looking into the modern age solutions, let's first talk a bit about the beginning of modern publishing.

In our previous blog post about the publishing industry today, we started by the story how Time magazine got sold for a staggering $190 million. The famous magazine was founded in 1923. by Henry R. Luce and Brian Hadden. Luce soon became one of the most powerful figures in the history of American journalism. He created the modern news magazine, promoted group journalism, redesigned pictorial reporting, encouraged a crisp and adjective-filled style of writing and came up with the concept of covering business as a continuing magazine story. Luce's publications frequently utilized library research materials to make stories and articles more complete.

The magazine attracted attention because of its lively layout, its stylistic eccentricities, and its emphasis on personalities. In the first four years, Time was already making a profit. In 1929, the year in which Hadden died, Luce brought out the business magazine Fortune, and in 1936 the photo magazine Life first appeared. Life immediately became one of the most popular magazines ever published. Luce held the title of editor-in-chief of all Time Inc. publications from 1929. until 1964. when he became editorial chairman.

Henry Luce
The publishing wizard: Henry R. Luce
The most important things Luce focused on were innovation, great storytelling, and quality content, encourage journalists to work together and reach as much as readers as possible.

If we stop for a moment and look deeper into Luce's business values, we can learn a lot from him. Instead of giving you the list of tools or processes you can do to optimize your publishing processes, let's take a look at Luce's principles and translate them into useful ideas you can start implementing today.

📌Luce's principle number one: Innovation

Henry Luce was always in search of change and improvements. He had no fear of the new, and he welcomed it throughout most of his life — modern technology, modern design, and modern publishing.

Today problems arise from the fact that publishers use custom, old systems that are hard to make agile and to connect to new technologies or software. A part of the issue lies in the culture, meaning publishers are not very keen on changing their existing workflow - simply because they are used to it or they are restricted within big enterprises. Often we see management that doesn't want to invest or rely on a technology that is not made to their specific requirements. All valid points, however, being stubborn and not being open to new ideas is exactly what can be the last nail in your publishing coffin.

No business can function that way and expect to compete in the rapidly competitive digital environment. First of all, businesses who want to succeed today need to be flexible, aware of the changes and even predict trends.

Photographer: William Daigneault | Source: Unsplash
“Innovation and content have a long history of feeding each other.” (Jill Cress, National Geographic’s Chief Marketing Officer)

👉 What can you do?

Think about finding technology that will replace working in silos and old legacy technology with an environment that is unified, centralized, and modern.

📌Luce's principle number two: Focus on great storytelling and creating quality content

2 Million Blog Posts Are Written Every Day. (source: MarketingProfs)

With so much content out there and the ever-growing number of online channels, it seems every company is tilting at windmills desperate to get their curated content in front of the right set of eyes. In order to maintain the high speed of publishing, sometimes we see content turning into a boring and completely invaluable piece of information. In the never-ending race, we started publishing anything just for the sake of publishing, to get our content "out there". There is so much noise polluting our screens, making each one of us readers crave for something fresh and tailored to our interest.

Remind yourself who is your audience and what would they like to read, feed them with knowledge, inspire them and share the news that matter. It really doesn't matter if you don't publish daily or even on a weekly base, differentiate by delivering great content that will shine through with its authenticity.

👉 What can you do?

People remember great stories and if you educate them, listen to their needs, wishes and worries, they will gain trust in you. Give them something to come back for more - make your content their habit. Understand which medium and channels work best for your readers and adapt all your content creation to the winning strategy. Think outside the box, add videos, images, quizzes, podcasts, etc. to make your articles more engaging. Turn to trustful sources from where you can gather your information and make your own critical point of view. Be transparent and be meaningful.

📌Luce's principle number three: Encourage collaboration

Typically, workers spend 65% of a workday collaborating and communicating with others. (source: McKinsey)

First of all, any publishing business is a collaborative effort of a creative content team. But we all know how collaboration can go wrong, especially if people with different skill sets don’t talk to each other or fully understand the processes. Other problems with collaboration arise when people lose track of who is doing what, then the time spent on waiting for approval, giving feedback, and editing. If you add the system that is slow, outdated, and decentralised then it gets even messier which then results in people losing motivation and feeling anxiety.

When that one colleague had enough...

👉 What can you do?

Good collaboration is crucial within the publishing industry. There are many stakeholders, creative processes, and usually, it all has to be done fast. With many tools out there, you want to make sure your team will use the same tool to communicate and create content. You also want to make sure they are happy working within the tool that is user-friendly and has all the options they need to work in a content team easily and have a clear overview.

📌 Luce's principle number four: Reaching readers everywhere

The highest priority of publishers in 2019 will be audience growth. (source: Ezoic)

When Time magazine came out it was a new way of delivering news, a concise summary published weekly, and distributed throughout the United States and later around the world. Time was among the first publications that made the news of the world available to people in all parts of the nation. Henry Luce knew the importance of accessible information and reaching audience wherever you can find them.

People want to access information in ways that are convenient for them. And in the digital world, when it comes to reading content - from the device, platform, and medium - we all have different preferences. Now the tables have turned and readers have control of what, when, and how they access information. Being present on all possible channels isn't a nice-to-have, it's crucial if you want to attract and keep your audience.

👉 What can you do?

To simplify and streamline the distribution of your content, you should invest in a multichannel publishing system that will enable you to publish your content conveniently on all your relevant digital channels. Your article will reach your audience on your website, on your social media, emails, other content platforms, etc. These channels don't have to be physical, like your website or social media accounts, but can also refer to different types of network, like sharing content with your ambassadors. The possibilities are indeed limitless.

Expand the reach of your audience by publishing your content multi-channel

Let's recap

Today, there are three most challenging phases in the content creation process: collaboration flow, then creating/adapting the content to the specifics of each channel and, more than anything else, distributing it. Old systems and processes won't fit the bill anymore so the first step in adapting your publishing company to the modern environment is to tackle these challenges as soon as possible.

Ideas we "stole" from the great Henry Luce will hopefully become your mantra. Just the fact you decided to read this article means you want to change things in your publishing processes. If anything mentioned above resonated with you and you would like to know more, don't hesitate to contact us and see how StoryChief can help you!

Now go and make good choices! Contact us 💁‍♀️
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