Q: In terms of monetising their brands, what should publishers be doing more of?
A:Focus on establishing digital communities that are quantified and qualified, through the provision of unique services that encourage and motivate members to sign-up and participate.
After spending the past two years in sports, we’re seeing upward trends and increased commercial focus on fan and brand engagement. We’d like to believe there are interesting parallels for publishers to consider and assess applicability in their environments.
While we know not all readers of a local publisher are necessarily “fans”, they are potential “registered community members”. Digital and commercial strategies that look to increase community and brand engagement, through participation, contribution and reward for certain activities, have a higher chance of attracting new advertisers or sponsors, who I believe, see more value in real community members engaging and interacting with products and services within a controlled digital platform.
Q: What’s stopping them?
A:Perhaps technology or the cost of customised software. The publishing sector has gone through a fair amount of change in the past decade with digital transformation; now there is a need to leverage audiences, brands and content producers to kickstart initiatives that encourage real contribution and engagement through incentivisation.
Q: Most publishers know the importance of creating a community. What are your top tips for publishers looking to create, grow and maintain a vibrant digital community?
A:We believe publishers should be opening up gateways for their audiences to submit, respond and share their experiences directly on branded community platforms outside of social media – and be rewarded for it. Communities grow when brand followers feel empowered to share their experiences and receive tangible recognition or reward for it.
To be clear, I’m not advocating against Facebook, Twitter, Insta, etc – which should be utilised for discovery, and to encourage action. But by driving community engagement to your own platforms, you’ll see all sorts of benefits – licensed usage of community media submissions that transform customers into brand advocates, database growth, and greater control of the user’s brand experience.
I also believe when talking about brand communities that we must include sponsors in the conversation. Sponsor involvement on a platform that can recognise loyalty and contribution is vital to ensure sustainable and repeatable engagement.
Q: How can publishers better deliver value to their advertising and sponsorship clients?
A:Sponsors are always looking beyond passive engagement – think print advertising and digital display ads – to find ways of engaging with your audience in a way that cuts through the noise. Co-creation campaigns between publishers and advertisers that ask your audience to actively engage with the advertiser’s brand is the key, but not many publishers have the platforms to offer fully integrated campaign management on behalf of their advertisers and sponsors.
I would suggest when publishers look at their digital roadmap, that they look at potential solutions that offer holistic campaigns for your advertisers - and to find a digital partner who can provide expertise, real case studies, and advice on maximising your investment and increasing advertiser return.
Q: A lot of publishers have diversified their revenue streams over the last decade; have they done enough?
A:What would enough look like, in the context of survival or prosperity?
I believe publishers have a small window of opportunity to diversify revenues and expenses by establishing new branded platforms and content opportunities through community rewarded engagement, sponsorship and partnership deals.
Q: What’s in the pipeline for Publisher’s Toolbox?
A:Key areas of interest for our product teams in the coming year include community engagement services; intelligent processing and analysis of digital assets; and effective collaboration of media between authorised rights owners.
Having become a leader in the digital transformation of media groups, Publisher's Toolbox is making an impact as a reputable, reliable and professional global innovator of digital media products and services.
Our mission is to provide affordable content and community creation tools for small and large teams, allowing them to compete with some of the world’s most prestigious media groups and brand agencies.
Our unique suite of digital products have helped traditional publishing, brand and broadcasting agencies, educational institutions and sports organisations establish sustainable content ecosystems through incentivised community engagement across print, mobile, video and augmented reality.