Is Your Content in All The High Visibility Areas?
What's your strategy to get your content discovered and read? Most publishers follow the "if you build it, they will come" philosophy. Many of those same publishers won't be around in a few years.
I used to be a publisher so I have some credibility when I say this: When it comes to their content, most publishers tend to be arrogant. They build their websites, use their preferred social media tools, and assume consumers simply can't wait to see the next article, book, or post they have to offer.
Many figure their brand allows them to take this approach, so they're extremely protective of trying to own the reading experience, including where that reading takes place (e.g., on their website, in their ebook, etc.)
This is another example of how yesterday's containers strongly influence tomorrow's strategy. Publishers need to break away from the container model and focus instead on where the eyeballs already are.
Who is your target audience and where are they getting a suitable replacement for your content today? A wise man once said that Google is a publisher's biggest competitor. Plenty of eyeballs look at Google search results every day. How does your content rank in those results? How much of it are you exposing to Google and allowing prospective customers to read for free?
Millions of eyeballs are on Twitter and Facebook right now. How is your content being discovered and consumed on either of those platforms? I'm not simply talking about likes and tweets, by the way; how much of your content is not only discoverable on those platforms but also consumable with no friction (e.g., a fully integrated experience where visitors don't feel they're being led away from where they currently are)?
The answer to that last question is "none", mostly because that's not how Facebook or Twitter were designed. Nobody goes to Facebook to read a book. And while we may never see those services evolve to become frictionless consumption vehicles for your content, we will see others sprout up that do offer this capability.
Where will you be when that happens? Still locked into your container-based thinking or ready for the more fluid content streaming services that are certain to evolve? The startup publishers, ones who don't even consider themselves to be "publishers", the ones not hamstrung by The Innovator's Dilemma, will definitely be ready for this model.
Joe Wikert is Publishing President at Our Sunday Visitor (www.osv.com). Before joining OSV Joe was Director of Strategy and Business Development at Olive Software. Prior to Olive Software he was General Manager, Publisher, & Chair of the Tools of Change (TOC) conference at O’Reilly Media, Inc., where he managed each of the editorial groups at O’Reilly as well as the Microsoft Press team and the retail sales organization. Before joining O’Reilly Joe was Vice President and Executive Publisher at John Wiley & Sons, Inc., in their P/T division.