I suspect business and trade publishers feel like they have been wandering in the desert with still no sight of the “Promised Land.”
The sustained shift in influence and advertising spend from traditional media to search and social has created a revenue free-fall. The understandable knee jerk reaction by publishers was to slash costs – page size, frequency, personnel, infrastructure, etc.
Yet, there is only so much a business can cut and remain relevant. This is especially true when faced with a lasting market change, rather than merely an economic cycle.
For publishers, an advertising-supported model is as history as retail music and video rentals.
Plan B is to identify alternative revenue strategies based on the core competency of publishing – content creation. This has led many publishers, such as the vaunted New York Times Company, to stand up pay walls, allowing readers free access to only a fixed amount of content.
New into the fray is 1105 Government Information Group’s Washington Technology magazine which earlier this month announced an “Insider Membership Program.” Now, 70 percent of the articles, analysis, research and insight produced by the magazine’s editorial staff is only available to subscribers who are willing to shell out $429 a year.
Will its newly erected pay wall be the savior for what remains of Washington Technology?
I sure hope so. Market segments need the independent reporting generated by journalists, even if many who are still employed lack the experience or contacts of their predecessors.
One thing I am sure of is that a meaningful segment of business and trade press readers will elect not to make the pay jump. They’ll seek out alternative sources of high quality and credible content to make professional decisions.
What products to buy? Who to partner with? Which best practices to employ?
This makes the content generated by vendors exponentially more important. You can call it blogging, content marketing or corporate publishing. It doesn’t matter.
What is important though is a commitment to publishing thought leadership-oriented content, and then sharing that output with clients, prospects and partners through multiple channels, such as search, social media and marketing automation.
Build a community of readers in a high value, content environment and you’ll realize a measurable upswing in sales opportunities.