There’s no question that magazine publishing has undergone a series of changes over the past two decades. Although the predicted demise of print in favor of digital content has not occurred, or at least not to the anticipated scale, other technologies and trends are changing the publishing landscape. Because of dire print predictions, many magazines have adjusted their publishing strategies and reinvented themselves as brands that serve their audience through a range of channels, including print. Being proactive and anticipating these changes and trends is imperative for not only keeping and growing your audience, but also keeping up with the competition. Here’s a glimpse at the state of magazine publishing and what’s on the horizon.
Current and upcoming trends in publishing
Of course, digital publishing was the biggest disruption in magazine publishing within the past couple of decades. It started by simply publishing the same content available in print. We’ve come a long way since those days.
- Specialized content. Small niche publishers were the hardest hit by the evolution of digital. Those who maneuvered successfully through the evolution did so by providing unique, valuable content for a very targeted audience through their preferred media channels. Providing specialized content that readers can’t find elsewhere will continue to be the key to survival.
- Data, data, everywhere. It’s critical for media companies to learn how to leverage the vast amounts of data being generated. Data analysis allows publishers to gain valuable insights into consumer behavior so that they can deliver customized content and personalized experiences.
- Podcasting is the new “in” platform, even though it’s not new. Recent advances in streaming and mobile connectivity have propelled it to “must have” status. Many companies are struggling to capitalize on the trend, however, because it takes a great deal of high-quality content and time to build an audience. Publishers are in a unique position to take advantage of podcasting because they have a plethora of proven content as well as an engaged audience.
- Artificial intelligence will change publishing from the mundane to the spectacular. AI has tremendous potential to transform magazine publishing. It is already being used to automate routine business tasks for greater efficiency and accuracy. It can help with editing and detecting plagiarism, for example. The technology will allow publishers to tailor content to very specific, targeted audiences and contribute to audience engagement. AI will be useful on social media platforms and websites, determining the best times to publish certain content, based on audience metrics. The only limitation for AI in publishing is your imagination.
- eCommerce. More publishers will take advantage of their targeted audience to sell related products. The scope of eCommerce opportunities for publishers is expanding rapidly and with a popular digital platform and SEO strategies already in place, taking the next step is simple. Publishers can monetize their content by embedding links within articles, using social media posts to sell affiliated merchandise, or advertising within videos including links to their products.
- Election 2020 disruption. The 2020 presidential election is set to radically disrupt magazine publishing. The channels that brand marketers use to attract and engage their audiences will be filled with political messaging and misinformation. You’ll need a plan to cut through the distractions, grab the readers’ attention, and build trust through quality, engaging content.
With social media, mobile, audio/video, and a multitude of other channels, it’s going to be harder than ever to capture and retain your audience’s attention. Keeping up with trends, encouraging innovation, and exploring new business models will be key to staying ahead in this confusing and competitive landscape. Ultimately, however, it still boils down to providing high-quality, valuable content to a targeted audience via the channels that make the most sense for you and your readers.
Contact your Sheridan representative or visit our contact page to ask how we can help you streamline your publishing processes, reduce costs, and keep up with changes in print and publishing strategies.