Q&A 

Publishing Futures: 5 minutes with… Julian Agostini

Ahead of The Publishing Show, which takes place at ExCeL London on 8-9 March, we grab five minutes with Julian Agostini, MD of event organiser Mash Media, to get his take on the publishing sector.

By Julian Agostini

Publishing Futures: 5 minutes with… Julian Agostini

Q: What do you see as the big opportunities facing publishers in 2022?

A: The landscape for publishers is constantly evolving especially in recent times which presents challenges and opportunities. It will be different for every business and every community, of course but at Mash Media, we are continuing our investment in video this year due to the popularity of this medium within our sector. In addition, segmentation is also high on our agenda, thereby creating more specialist news and information for smaller groups within our database.

Q: What do you see as the big challenges facing publishers?

A: Everyone seems to be a publisher today on an ever-increasing number of platforms, which means there is a lot more ‘white noise’ out there. Unfortunately, the result is that readers are hit, constantly, from all angles and become disengaged and fatigued far more easily. Publishers have to work even harder and smarter to ‘own’ their communities and make sure they are the trusted voice. However, we all have to compete on these platforms as well; they can’t just be ignored.

Q: What skill sets should publishers be looking to develop further?

A: Every publisher needs to be a multi-channel operator in the current climate, which means that we’re all learning new skills and trying to stay ahead of the curve. As mentioned above, we have to compete on all the platforms and there seems to be a new one a month. That said, although we have to be digital experts nowadays, events should also be a vital part of the publisher’s strategy. Face to face is still an incredibly powerful and robust method of delivering value to your community.

Q: In terms of organisation and workflow, what can publishers do to make themselves more efficient?

A: That’s the golden ticket; to increase production and reduce costs. Every business, publishing or otherwise, is constantly striving for this solution. Quite seriously, the main reason that we created The Publishing Show was because I wanted to go to an event where I could meet different suppliers and see new innovations to help me with my business. We all have to constantly review how we go about our business and what products and services could propel us forward.

Q: What do you think B2B can learn from B2C and vice versa?

A: We’re all consumers so we still need to be entertained, inspired and informed however dry the subject matter. There are always lessons to be learnt from all media. We all want the same thing; ie. to engage the reader so it’s important to constantly be open to any and all techniques. Watch as much as you can, read as much as you can, listen to as much you can; there are little tips and ideas everywhere not necessarily to completely replicate but to adjust your thought process; be open to everything.

Q: What were the key takeaways from last year’s Publishing Show, and what do you expect to be the key takeaways from this year’s event?

A: September’s event was both an inspirational and emotional two days for senior publishers after a turbulent and challenging period. Stories of survival and success were being shared once again face to face, and publishers realised they were not alone. Publishers, like through history, adapted, and continue to reinvent themselves.

In March, the show will provide visitors with a balanced and intelligent overview of what publishers have been doing to grow their audiences; develop their membership / subscription strategies; investigate the future of how publishing stories have changed for ever; how to grow revenues through partner marketing and ecommerce and even look at new areas of opportunity for publishers.

The Publishing Show, an event for B2B and B2C publishers, newspapers, content providers and suppliers, takes place at ExCeL London on 8-9 March 2022. Book your place here.