Today’s web content management is only as good as the strategy behind it and by most measures, that strategy is digital-first publishing. We see publishers across all genres working on their digital strategy, because they see how the digital medium will not only help them survive, but also thrive, with a host of new revenue streams that only digital publishing can offer.
But, digital first does even more: it also frees you from the traditional encumbrances of print processes.
Greater control over editorial processes. At its foundation, thinking multi-platform offers greater efficiency and versatility than building workflow specifically for print, then web, then mobile, and so on. Leveraging an Enterprise Publishing System's flexibility, content is created once and easily adapted to various formats and delivery channels. Print no longer requires a separate workflow, and editorial staff use less time reconfiguring a print edition to make it work in a digital format. Instead, your content informs the format. Meanwhile, various writers and editors—from wherever they happen to be working—edit content in one central location. No more lost attachments or disordered versions.
Content gains a longer shelf life. When you are working exclusively with print, your content has only one life—the one it lives in a newsletter or magazine. With a digital-first approach, your content is no longer limited to that one issue. You can build an entire blog series around it, create a related video and image series, resurface it in relation to follow-up articles, include it in an e-book on that topic, call attention to it in a newsletter to a specific segment of your audience, use it for conference material . . . the list goes on and on.
Learn more about your audience; make it actionable. With traditional print processes, feedback from your audience trickles in from hand-written, typed and snail-mailed letters to the editor or phone calls to customer service. Or maybe you send out surveys on occasion, or place tear-out inserts in your magazine that customers fill out and send in. With a digital-first strategy, your opportunities for gathering feedback increase ten-fold (at least). Comments on blogs and articles, gated content, social media, online registration, forums, webinars, emails, digital surveys and data tracking give you a more comprehensive picture of your audience. You engage a much larger portion of your audience in real-time. That translates to delivering content in context and at the time your readers need it most. Editorial and customer service staff will be in a position to nuture a loyal audience to increase retention and boost renewal rates.
Flexibility, immediacy. With traditional print processes, once something is published, it's set in stone—mistakes require extensive steps to fix, clarifications wait for the next issue, readers wait days, weeks or months for follow up information. In digital-first publishing, there are more ways to remedy mistakes and maintain momentum with a story—even if it lives in print. That’s not to say that digital-first enables publishers to be less diligent about the quality of their work—it just means you have a greater safety net and more tools at your fingertips.
Gain contributors, content. Today’s audiences demand more content than most small BtoB publishers can deliver with the staff on hand. Print processes limit content development and access to contributors because they tend to require that people interact face-to-face, or at close range—and they simply take more time. With digital-first, you open up a range of opportunities for contributors from across the globe, and with curation, reviews, and approval priior to publishing happening anytime, and anywhere. Automated processes allow you to glean user-generated content with little effort and advertisers manage their own content on your site—freeing you up to work on developing more of your own original, relevant content to further build readership.
If you’re still looking to your print processes to inform your strategy—it’s time to turn the tables and consider how print fits into your digital strategy.