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The Importance of Branding in the World of Publishing

Luca Filigheddu

In the publishing industry today, one of the most relevant issues concerns the ability to persuade users to enjoy paid content. One of the main arguments that emerges, in this regard, is that users are more likely to pay for content if there is a strong brand to stand as an authoritative source of it.

This raises the important debate about the importance of branding for newspapers and publishing networks as well.


The bond between paying users and a recognizable brand

The presence of a strong and recognizable brand can significantly influence users’ willingness to pay for editorial content. An established brand evokes trust, credibility, and perceived value. Users are more likely to financially support a brand they know and trust.

A strong brand can provide a sense of security to users, assuring them that the information they receive is reliable and of superior quality.

Branding is, therefore, not only a prerogative of commercial companies, but is equally critical for news outlets and publishers. A well-defined brand can help differentiate from competitors and create a reputation that attracts and retains readers. Effective branding can communicate a publishing company’s unique value, point of view, mission, and editorial principles. This can help build a loyal audience willing to pay for the content it offers, break through the wall-literally-the paywall, and take out subscriptions.


How to build a strong brand in the publishing industry: old “glories” VS digital native publishers

Building a strong brand requires a well-thought-out and cohesive strategy, as well as a lot of patience, as it is an activity that is consolidated over the long term.

Some of the pillars on which an editorial branding strategy should be based are: 

  • having an authentic voice and a clear editorial position to differentiate oneself in the marketplace
  • consistency in content quality and visual presentation, which are essential to solidify brand identity
  • actively interacting with the public through social media and other communication channels to develop a trusting relationship with users and encourage them to financially support the brand, creating a true community.

Obviously, this is easier for incumbent brands, for publishing groups that were in the market even before the digital revolution and borrow their authority from a reputable history derived from when they were only “on paper.” 

The new digital native publishers, however, for their part, have the strength of innovation, of better understanding the contemporary market and user needs, ensuring greater freshness in content and the ability to master channels and formats that are indispensable today, or the new AI-based solutions.


The economic sustainability of publishing through branding

Branding not only influences users’ willingness to pay for content, but can also play a crucial role in the economic sustainability of publishing itself.

With the decline of traditional advertising revenue, newspapers and publishers are facing increasingly pressing economic challenges: strong branding can help create new monetization opportunities, such as offering premium content, organizing events or creating strategic partnerships, as well as attracting outside investment and sponsorship, providing additional sources of financial sustenance for the publishing company.