Top 10 Publishing Industry Trends

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Publishing industry has been greatly impacted by both the latest entertainment and information industry developments and by the ever growing ecological sensibility that – together with undisputable economical reasons – has caused a shift from printed to digital.

While some years ago to publish something meant to print something under the umbrella of a publishing company, now with the possibilities offered by the internet and the mobile ecosystem you can self-publish basically everything, on a variety of mediums before unthinkable.

Let’s have a look at the main publishing industry trends for the year 2021.

  1. Go digital
  2. Visual content rules
  3. Self publishing
  4. Voice is king
  5. Mobile first
  6. The Trust issue
  7. Innovative monetization
  8. Stories content format success
  9. Rise of machine-generated content
  10. Build customer loyalty through targetization and content quality

1. Go digital

While printed versions of books and magazines will surely continue to exist in the years to come (and – quite surprisingly – ebooks adoption rate starts to flatten) there is an unquestionable trend towards digital publication, with 44% of the world population reading online. 

This has been increased even more by the 2020 coronavirus outbreak, which caused more and more people to turn to digital instead of printed content. This is true for fiction as well as for non-fiction content. It’s more and more unusual to find scientific papers, reports, studies on printed versions. 

Also, you should not overlook the fact that going digital opens your content to become more rich, with the insertion of multimedia (audio, video) stuff that is gaining more and more share of the potential public. 

Furthermore, the digital subscription model has become a significant source of income for many publishers. According to a joint study on publishing industry trends from the Reuters Institute and the University of Oxford, “subscription and membership is the key priority for the news industry going forward. Over half (52%) expect this to be the MAIN revenue focus”. The 2020 version of the study confirms this trend, showing a growing percentage of revenue coming from digital subscriptions and on the contrary printed versions of some newspapers and magazines disappearing.

2. Visual content rules

According to the Cisco annual internet report (2018-2023) by the year 2022 82% of all online content will be video. The moving image (short movies, social media videos, clips, webinars, etc) together with traditional static images (not only pictures but infographics, presentations, etc) is something you cannot dare to do without if you want your digital magazine to be successful and profitable. So if you are considering embarking yourself into a digital publishing adventure you should consider carefully the features of the app you are going to use and be sure that it allows the embedding of multimedia visual content.

3. Self Publishing

Self publishing is reaching an always growing market share of the publishing industry and offers unprecedented possibilities to authors and to digital publishing platforms that can widen the services they offer to authors including for example SEO. Nowadays many of the top selling titles on Kindle are self-published.

4. Voice is king

By 2023 there will be an incredible rise of voice searches and voice assistants (according to Gartner report 30% of searches will be voice searches by the year 2020). This will of course affect all digital content producers and publishers and will make it essential to offer podcasts and other voice content as a part of a successful digital content strategy. Of course it is really important to understand how to customize your voice content to your users, identifying the most effective.

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5. Mobile first

Since Google found that the vast majority of people access the search from a mobile device starting from July 1 2019 Google predominantly uses the mobile version of the content for indexing and ranking (“mobile first indexing”). This speaks volumes on the importance of mobile content and interface and hopefully makes you understand that you must develop your content having mobile in mind.

6. The Trust issue

As the Reuters digital news 2020 report clearly shows during the 2020 coronavirus pandemic the problem of trust in information sources grew in relevance, becoming more and more important to people. So if you want to succeed in a more and more competitive industry you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of building high quality, relevant, transparent and trustworthy content and avoid at all costs the risk of being associated with fake news or privacy breakers.

7. Innovative monetization

When you consider actual publishing industry trends you should give the utmost importance to monetization opportunities. First of all, do not rely only on advertising: as we mentioned before, paid subscriptions are rising. But there are many other ways in which you can monetize your digital content, don’t stick only to old monetization models.

8. Stories content format success

The story digital content format is being adopted by many social networks and is becoming a standard. On Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp more than 1 billion stories are shared every day. It’s an innovative kind of content, because it is ephemeral (it typically lasts just one day) but it’s surely interesting to explore.

9. Rise of machine-generated content

Thanks to the recent developments in artificial intelligence and natural language processing, automatically generated content reached a level of similarity to human generated content that is really impressive. Some companies and blogs already use with success this kind of content for their websites.

10. Build customer loyalty through targetization and content quality

All in all many of the top publishing industry trends lead to a renewed focus on the user. Knowing your users will result in more tailored content and in better targetization and is the main thing that can lead your company to success.

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Marco Belmondo

Marco Belmondo

Chief Marketing Officer at Datrix group (including PaperLit). Born in 1969 in Ivrea. Worked in Milan, Turin, Bologna, Rome and London. Debut in advertising (Saatchi & Saatchi, Italia Brand Group), followed by finance at TradingLab (UniCredit Group) as Head of Marketing Communication and Customer Service, then retail banking at UniCredit Banca and Banca di Roma as Director of Marketing Communication and e-Banking Services. He returned to investment banking at ABN Amro and RBS, then in fintech at Epic SIM.

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