The digital publishing conundrum

Digital publishing is fraught with experimentation.   Some experiments have been successful, others less so.   We all know the high-profile examples – the Guardian opting to stay free and migrate paper supplements online; the Times meanwhile disappearing behind a paywall.

For large B2C publishers like the Guardian, Telegraph, Times (though not so large online anymore), Daily Mail, Independent et al. the key to success has been advertising.   As long as there is advertising, and as long as there is Google, and as long as you can work in a large enough audience you can probably scrape by with a few add-ons like reader offers/e-commerce, apps, iPad editions etc.

B2B publishers, with smaller circulations whether offline or online, cannot replicate scale.   What smaller B2B publishers do offer is highly qualified audiences, high quality audiences (decision makers) and a level of influence in whichever niche they operate in.  Sure, there is a lack of expertise in some areas – in others even a battle to fight off the ineluctable tide of digital publishing and all that entails.  I’m focused on training to resolve these sticking points and the reaction is largely positive – the grit in the shell might yet produce a pearl!

It’s been a while since I blogged.   The reason, quite simply, is that I’m now working for a B2B publisher.  Seeing them operate is at times inspiring, at others baffling, but always exciting.  From initial ideas to execution the pace is as frantic as it ever was in the large B2B publishers, more so perhaps because of the need to double up and work across disciplines – I love that.  This isn’t to take away from what I did before, rather it complements.

So far I’ve launched two websites, a digital edition (and more to follow), more websites will also follow and there is far more in the pipeline associated with various events, conferences and awards.  SEO, social media, digital publishing, quiet geekery, video production, PR, marketing like mad . . . It’s been a rollercoaster, not unlike the economic ride we’ve all taken in the last year – but achieved in 8 short weeks!   I wouldn’t swap it.

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