The impact of social media on Publishing and capitalising on emerging revenue streams

PPA Customer Direct 2012 Conference

For Publishers of traditional print media, social media can deliver a richer reader experience as well as providing deeper reader insight, greater engagement and increased ancillary revenue streams that – breaking the old linear model.

After a busy few weeks at TWKS with a wide range of clients, I had the opportunity to present and take part in a panel’ at the Professional Publishers Association’s annual conference: Customer Direct 2012 on Wednesday 21st November at The Brewery, London. My session was titled: ‘Are You Afraid Of Talking To Your Customers?’

By coincidence, we met with a couple of publishers just before the conference to show them the effects of applying a digital and social media lens across their business. I outline below some of what I presented at Customer Direct 2012.

Publishers’ objectives can be broken down into three areas:
1) Publish and distribute more outstanding content – preferably paid for
2) Enhance the customer journey and lifetime for each audience group
3) Provide readers with additional opportunities to interact and transact

Delivering these will help achieve the required reader experience, circulation, advertising and revenue targets.

Social media plays an important role in improving the interaction and engagement with readers. Publishers are fortunate to be able to generate much great content serving particular audiences. Using TWKS’s ‘6 Elements of Social Media’ and ‘4Cs of Content’ models we can see that with appropriate context helping distribution via ‘search, share and discover’, conversations will happen online. These conversations can provide Publishers, Editors and Writers with much insight and material for future articles.

In addition, traffic can be driven from the various social media sites to the Publisher or the relevant title’s website – enhancing the reader experience, online monetisation via advertising, ancillary revenue or product cross-sells.

For those who question the value of digital subscriptions, I was pleased to learn that the magazine, The Week, I believe, has about two dozen physical subscribers in Russia but soon after its digital edition launch – it now has over two thousand mobile device digital subscribers. And so, the Publishers of The Week have been able to broaden their publishing footprint, provide a rich digital reader experience, achieve a lower cost-to-serve and with social media grow their digital presence via their community and content.

Indeed, mobile devices provide a richer experience – outside of pure distribution and re-purposed content. We have seen increasing numbers of magazines have front covers, articles or advertising bought to life via augmented reality providing more information or the ability to ‘buy now’.

In summary, there are four areas where social media can help Publishers: engage with readers, drive traffic, broaden digital distribution and enhance ancillary revenue. There is debate on aggregation of titles or disaggregation of content – but we will leave that for another day!

And so, to help achieve their objectives, Publishers should articulate their current position and reader experience, develop a clear integrated strategy, enhance their internal digital and social media capability and deliver outstanding community management.

A copy of my presentation is featured below.

Emerging Social Media Revenue Streams for Publishers of Magazines and Newspapers – Customer Direct 2012 from Dowshan Humzah

Written By Dowshan Humzah

Dowshan Humzah has delivered profitable business growth via product development, brand innovation and digital channel expansion for blue-chip companies across Financial Services, Internet, Telecoms, Media and FMCG as well as business start-ups. He shows how organisations can benefit from applying a ‘digital and social media lens’ across their core organisational objectives and then answer the ‘so what’ question in order to generate customer and financial value from digital tools. You can find him on LinkedIn and Google+

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