3 Keys to Successfully Transitioning Traditional Media in the Digital Age

Learn how to successfully manage digital transformation at the Mequoda Summit West 2011

In the Mequoda Daily yesterday, I discussed the direct connection between the USPS and the publishing industry. A fundamental change is taking place as the USPS will eventually go away as a distribution system in the not-too-distant future.

In order to avoid becoming a victim of this change, publishers need to focus on a digital multi-platform strategy.

There is a balancing act going on as multi-platform publishers are holding on to products as long as audiences want them, while building an infrastructure designed for the future of digital publishing.

The goal is to be ready when our consumers are ready. We just need to be a few feet in front of them.

With the impending demise of USPS and the disruptive impact it will have on the magazine publishing industry, we now have to focus on the process of experimentation to discover what makes the perfect digital magazine and what channels will be used to deliver our content.

This process is tough. Not only do we have to be ready for the digital future, we have to hang on to the legacy past for as long as audiences want it.

To fully enter the digital future successfully, publishers need to adopt strategies for pricing, delivery and access of digital products that are fair to consumers and profitable for them.

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When it comes to digital publishing strategies, I don’t know anyone who thinks about this more than Clay Hall. The initial outline for his presentation surely did not disappoint, so here’s a quick look at the first three requirements for successful digital transformation:

  • Understand your audiences’ and advertisers’ content preferences. The key here is to actively provide the needs to your audience in real time while anticipating the need for products they haven’t even envisioned yet. You are shooting at a moving target – aim slightly (but not too far) ahead.
  • Experiment. Don’t worry about making optimal profits on digital content at this stage since its value is expressed as multiples of revenue, not multiples of profit.
  • Multi-Platform is the answer. Online only is just as vulnerable as being anchored to print. Be everywhere your customers want you to be – where you can generate revenue/profits.

During this groundbreaking keynote presentation entitled Managing Digital Transformation, Clay will run through his Top 10 List of what he believes it takes to be successful in multi-platform publishing. He will be sharing programs that have helped Interweave find success during the most recent, challenging times – or as Clay calls it, “the great recession of 2008.”

Wing Walker

Photo from Airport Journals, taken by Mike Ullery

If you’re in the business of riding technology cycles – which has become a must for publishers – you must be good at wing walking.

The first rule of wing walking: you need a firm grip on wing #2 before you let go of wing #1. If you can grasp this first rule, you’ll be on the way to success. If you don’t, sudden and immediate death is likely the result…

Clay’s keynote is a must-attend for any publisher that wants to see success in the digital future. If you haven’t signed up for the Mequoda Summit West 2011 yet, I advise you to do so now.


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