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Industries and businesses have continued embracing the inevitable digital transformation ever since the Industrial Revolution 4.0 gained momentum. But, the publishing industry is one area that has experienced the transformational impact of digitization up close in the last year as the approach to content gets more transparent and focused on human interests.
“Print is dead. Long live digital publishing!”
— So say the true believers of digital-everything.
But, how much truth does this statement hold in the current scenario?
Digital publishing has been in full swing for the past few years and is significantly driving every industry now at a critical crossroads.
The current landscape of content dissemination
With the publishing industry quickly sliding into the digital space, the mode of content consumption has flipped actively to the newness of the online, web-based layout.
Printing just a well-crafted, well-researched piece of content doesn’t do the trick anymore as current digital platforms give everyone the freedom to publish and disseminate content in the form of op-ed, long-form articles, blogs, etc. Simply put, unique storytelling and strategic distribution of content are the new imperatives.
However, to effectively promote and boost audience engagement, you have to think beyond the standard, standalone content formats and let your creativity do the talking.
Raise the bar by bringing your content to life and serving it in unique ways, such as:
- Interactive infographics, eBooks, emails, etc.
- Gamification of content
- Videos and Podcasts
- Quizzes and polls
- Fact-checked, original research content
- Data calculators (estimates based on the user’s data input)
- Exclusive telephonic or online conversations with influencers and public figures based on readers’ interests (courtesy of The Telegraph)
Give your readers a very good reason for why they should subscribe to your content.
In addition, publishing extraordinary content requires actively engaging with your fans (via two-way conversations, Q&A, feedback loops, comments, etc.) where transparency is much appreciated.
Taking the transparent approach to publishing content
In an era where content is created and churned out faster than it is consumed, your story should build a connection and trust with your audience. Essentially, it all boils down to bringing transparency to whatever you publish.
One such arena of the publishing realm that has uncovered the need for transparent, open data is scientific scholarly communication.
There’s too much scholarly content being produced and published at an accelerated rate, but the outlook of academic publishing is promising. However, due to the scattered and restricted availability of research output, it becomes difficult for the scientific community to discover and access all the relevant information.
The barrier of paywall that stands between quality content and its dedicated readers needs to be lowered. Uncoupling the time and accessibility constraints of digital content has become an inherent aspect of the publishing process.
If made transparent and open to all, research data has the potential to solve humanity’s most pressing problems at a faster rate.
In the past year, publishers have shifted their primary focus to consumers from advertisers and prioritized open accessibility. The instant and free access to valued content online has increased the influx of digital readers compared to the paid subscribers of print material.
If you want to monetize your digital content, implementing intelligent, soft paywalls is the best methodology. Paywalls that only gate or lock exclusive, premium resources while the rest of the content is accessible to the readers will help retain your loyal audience and build new ones as well.
Therefore, the USP of your content and publication lies in transparency. Being incredibly transparent with your readers and telling them why or how paying for premium content enables you to support the publication/business will establish trust and increase your readership.
Content publishing with a digital twist — the tectonic shift is happening
The transformation of the publishing process is happening faster and the future of all-things-digital is closer than you think. Over the coming years, content and marketing communications will witness a boon in online audiences with a growing preference for e-content and open educational resources over print.
According to Technavio’s recent study on the Global Digital Publishing Market:
“The digital publishing market is expected to grow by $65.31 billion during 2021-2025, and the market’s growth momentum will accelerate at a CAGR of 12.66%.”
Current publishing trends and the sheer expanse of digital space will shape the future of openly accessible online content.
So truth be told, digital delivery of content via electronic platforms to your device is bound to become the mainstream approach for small and medium-sized publishers striving to hone their niche. Print will live, but traditional publishers who fail to adopt the hybrid model (digital and print) for publishing and distributing content should be ready to take the brunt of this sudden yet necessary change.