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Overcoming the crisis in traditional publishing in 4 steps

Luca Filigheddu

Overcoming the crisis of the traditional publishing industry in 3 steps.jpg

Today, our world undergoes more sudden changes than ever. Globalisation has introduced the need to get news from all over the world, as we are all so deeply interconnected and interested in what goes on in every corner of the planet.

The publishing industry reached its peak in the last century thanks to this situation: all the 20th-century major events have been reported in newspapers, eternally printed on those big and inconvenient paper sheets.

Nowadays, however, the industry is suffering deeply from the new challenges that the digital world has brought about. If you’re a magazine publisher, fear not! Here are four useful tips that can help you overcome the crisis in traditional publishing.


Embrace innovation

What’s the point in fearing the digital revolution? As The Beatles would have said, just “let it be” – sometimes a situation that looks like an obstacle can turn into a unique opportunity.

The first, fundamental point is to learn how to exploit each situation and use it to your advantage. Changes in the market and in readers’ demands can become the starting point for a new strategy, maybe even more successful than your previous one. When planning a strategy, businesspeople should always be able to analyse the needs of their target, and to offer their products accordingly.


And in order to help you going digital, we’ve written a complete guide on how to create a digital magazine: Download it here for free


Nowadays, readers require:

  • Real-time updates. News get old after a few hours, even minutes, so it’s important to take part in the discussion as the events are taking place. The morning edition of a newspaper or the monthly issue of a magazine run the risk of getting boring, as the topics that are dealt with have already been deeply discussed by the public. Where? Online, of course.
  • Usability. When people are in a hurry, they just want to get to the point. Online articles use a format that allows the reader to skip to the part of the text that they are really interested in, thanks to links and clickable images and titles. Moreover, the readers get the product directly at home, and they can read it on their preferred device.
  • Non-stop access. Readers always have their phones with them, and with the advent of the smartphone, internet access has become a daily practice that people just can’t give up. The best strategy for a publisher is to meet his clients in the place where they spend so much time: on the Internet.

Find your place

The market is really diverse, as are the types of readers out there. Different interests, customer profiles and necessities generate the need for a variety of formats.

For example, try and consider your ideal customer: what are his/her age, occupation, interests, place of residence, education level? Answering all these questions can help you to find the best way to reach your public.

A study has highlighted that young people in the UK use social media as their primary news source, with 28% of them reading the news online, while only 24% get information from the TV. Therefore, if your magazine is addressed to young people, you can be sure that having a strong online presence will be crucial for reaching your audience.

The Internet phenomenon, however, is not only related to teenagers. Also adults and even elderly people also use the web often, as the Global Digital Statshot and the Digital in 2018 Global Overview research shows. 54% of the global population has Internet access, a percentage which grows in Europe, where 80% of the population consists of active Internet users, with an annual growth of 6% reported last year.




Digital in Europe 2018

According to this, 43.31 million people use the Internet in Italy, 21.74 million in Australia, 63.06 million in the UK (where 95% of the population are users), and 286.9 million users in the USA.


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Moreover, the use of smartphones has risen 2% from the previous year, proving that these devices will keep playing an important role in the future of communication. Smartphones, in particular, remain the only growth area among devices where all others either remain flat or reported losses.



Still not convinced?



Imagine getting all the information you need, right now, easily and quickly. Done? Now let’s take a step further, and imagine that this information is not only educative and interesting but also entertaining. You’re probably wondering how this could be possible.

The answer is always the same: the digital format. An online magazine offers so much more value to the client than a printed one. Let’s think about the rich media, for example. With a mix of interactive contents, they make the reading experience more enjoyable and direct.

Similarly, the video format has enriched magazines with engaging content that improves users’ permanence on the website. Moreover, videos are perfect for sharing on social media, which helps spread the article among the public, increasing the number of views.

To sum up, the digital magazine is not only more user-friendly, but also more entertaining and interactive, which helps increase the customer’s satisfaction.


Rethink your revenue streams

At the moment, digital publishing is focused on digital ads as their main revenue stream. This is quite understandable given that in the past years, digital ads have become the prime growing source of revenue for digital publications.

However, something interesting started to happen this 2018. Leading publications across the world have started to signal more and more revenue coming from subscriptions. A key change that came about was the growing acceptance of subscription packages for online content such as Netflix and Spotify. While it hasn’t become the leading source of digital revenue yet, there are changes in the trends being reported.  To be able to take advantage early on, it might be worthwhile to rethink subscription packages and strategies.

Another idea is to explore integrating e-commerce into your digital magazine. If that’s too complex, you can always start with something simpler like affiliate marketing. Meanwhile, other publications have also explored other out-of-the-box ideas such as organising and monetising events. For example, industry-focused magazines can organise awards nights recognising leaders in the industry.

We have provided you with some suggestions that can help you overcome the crisis in traditional publishing. Here is one more tip: when facing a crisis, always remember to keep a positive attitude and be brave, because fortune always favours the bold.


And don’t forget to keep updated with the world of the publishing industry, which you can learn more about in our free ebook!