With publishers looking to reduce spending and attract more readers, innovation is not optional. Some of these creative experiments have built a following and helped increase revenue. As readers become numb to the “same old, same old”, it’s up to publishers to keep things interesting for their readers and their advertisers.
Innovation is keeping readers engaged and keeping these publishers alive and well.
Take it Online
It’s no secret that more publishers are moving into the digital space to get more eyes. With the average American spending 24 hours a week online, media companies are working diligently to remain relevant. More clicks mean more dollars for publishers that are thinking outside the box.
But there’s more to ‘being online’ than having a website and a social presence. Social Media Examiner, for instance, hosts virtual events including a podcast, a live talk show and a new “web journey” YouTube show that shares their secrets for building a strong customer base. By being a trusted resource and meeting their customers where they are, the business has grown into a multi-million dollar company without selling ads or being affiliated with other products. That’s not bad when you consider Michael Stelzner started the company with $5,000 and only promotes their annual conference and training.
Memberships & Subscriptions
Paywalls, used by many media companies to support their content, have been another experiment for media businesses. The New Yorker, as an example, has inspired other publishers like Wired magazine to use dynamic paywalls. Dynamic paywalls allow readers to visit the site a certain number of times, or read part of an article before asking for payment, and have been successful in attracting more subscribers in recent years.
Another model, used by The Guardian, is asking readers to become members to support their journalism. Instead of using a paywall, the publisher appeals to the emotional side of its readers by asking for dollars to help with its investigative reporting. The success of the experiment seems to be paying off with reader revenues from subscribers and members adding up to more than advertising dollars.
As Facebook and Instagram roll out a new tool to show just how much time consumers spend on the app, more millennials are searching offline for content. With the success of other subscription models like Apple Music and Netflix, the younger generation is used to paying monthly for media enjoyment. Millennial print subscriptions are up compared to the Boomers before them. Yes, you read that right!
Print also has sex appeal. More celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Oprah, and niche markets, like cooking or DIY home design, are turning to print to appeal to fans who have already discovered them online. Print absolutely isn’t dead and readers are here for some offline quiet time. Use the print product as your brand differentiator against online competitors.
Continuing on the sensory experience of print, another innovative idea from publishers are tactile advertisements. In recent years, the Innovation in Magazine Media World Report has highlighted magazine pages that could be planted, eaten or even played music. The most recent report revealed other creative ideas including an Asics ad in Runners magazine that used thermochromic paint that reacts to body heat to help narrow down the type of shoe needed. By inviting the reader into an interactive experience with touch, smell and sound, the relationship with media is elevated. And this one might be a little TMI, but did you see IKEA’s recent creative use of a print advertising buy? Print doesn’t have to mean static or boring.
Another clever revenue stream for media businesses is ecommerce. The success of Amazon has pushed publishers to get to know their audience even better so they can provide customized product recommendations. Objective content and measurable analytics help to create a personalized experience and products that will likely convert based on the user’s previous interests. Since publishers have already built trust with their audience, something that Amazon may not already have, adding product recommendations can be in line with article recommendations.
Future Publishing recently relaunched with an ecommerce focus, and now report their ecommerce revenue is 15% of their total publishing revenue. Publishers must also meet their ecommerce customers where they are - not just online but mobile too - and make search easier to capture the predicted growth in the space.
Added Efficiency & Productivity
Media company innovations don’t always have to be seen by their reader base. Adding efficiencies on the back end and increasing productivity are also helping publishers stay alive. Publishers are saving time and money and getting more done by:
“Before LaunchPad, I kept everything in Excel spreadsheets (even though we used another media management program). LaunchPad has taken all of that duplicated effort away and made it easy for me to keep track of all my jobs. For the first time, our sales people understand how to enter their insertions and include everything I need to generate production orders. Everything is concise and organized so you get a clear snapshot of all open projects.” - Emily King, Production Manager
Clever ideas and creativity are working to build revenue for these innovators in the publishing space. Increased efficiency and productivity are also on the cutting edge of genius and can help on your media company’s bottom line as well.
Reach out to our team at LaunchPad Media Management and ask for a conference call or online demonstration.