Where’s the monetisation in digital publishing? Industry experts have their say

The rapid growth of digital content continues to offer challenges for publishers and content creators. Rhapsody, the European media production agency, asked a range of industry experts to offer their valuable insights about the current state of digital publishing and where the opportunities lie for monetisation.

Here’s what they had to say about a wide range of related issues…

Facebook vs owned digital platforms

D. Eadward Tree, the pseudonymous magazine-industry insider from Dead Tree Edition, shares his thoughts on Facebook’s recent News Feed algorithm changes and on the importance for publishers to react to this and use it as an opportunity to grow engagement on their own digital platforms.

“Now that we publishers will be getting fewer referrals from Facebook, we must become better at encouraging repeat visits. Our traditional approach of bashing people over the head with interstitials asking them to sign up for our newsletters no longer works. (How many people do you know who want their inbox to become even more cluttered?)

We need to woo them, to show them our newsletters without first demanding that they give us their email addresses. Post your newsletter on your website and invite people to have a look. Give the newsletter its own Twitter feed, so that people can discover or follow it that way. Encourage readers to bookmark the page. (Yes, that’s still a thing.) And provide them something special — perhaps a free e-book, plus the promise of not spamming them — if they will do us the favor of subscribing to the newsletter via email.”

Branded responsive app publishing

Rhapsody also asked Jim Foster, Head of ePublishing, Bauer Media “What are your thoughts on responsive publisher apps? Is there opportunity for publishers to monetise their content?”

“Responsive is probably the right way to go, if possible and economically viable.

If you can manage content via a single workflow through responsive app templates, great – don’t be afraid of simple templates that look great on phone and tablet. The key is user experience as opposed to intricate and overly clever designs. Great design is simplicity, especially on the iPhone.

There is opportunity but it’s very difficult. You’ll only make money if there’s an audience for your content on digital platforms and if you can market it effectively, continuously. Which is obvious but true. So do your research and make sure there’s a market before you invest anything. Start small and work bigger. Keep your costs under control all the time and only invest what you can afford to lose.

Once you’ve found there is a market, push discoverability and installs through App Store Optimisation and via PPC to targeted audience segments on key social platforms (if you do have budget). Invest in keyword bidding and search on the App Store if you have money but again, always start small and monitor progress. Don’t be afraid to bid on your own brand and competitor keywords.

Conversion has a long tail, so don’t give up if you don’t see massive success after three months. This is a long-haul thing – there are unlikely to be any quick wins. You’re going to have to work at it and keep working at it and manage it continuously. Otherwise you’ll fail.”

For further insights and to read the remainder of this article, including Peter Houston’s tips on mobile publishing, visit Rhapsody Media blog