Skip to main content

The Importance of Understanding Your Audience

This is the first in a series of blog posts based on our recent webcast, "10 Factors to Consider when Developing your Digital Publishing Strategy." If you weren't able to attend, you can still watch it in its entirety, including the interactive question and answer session here.

View the Webcast

We start with the very core of your publishing business — audience.

Audience drives both sides of your publishing business.  On the product side, it should be the touchstone that guides your editorial and content development efforts.  Book publishers need to make sure their organizations are structured so that the voice of the audience is heard clearly and with authority.  Traditionally in magazine publishing, this role has been served by the editor-in-chief.  Most book publishers don't have comparable structures, and creating them is one of the great challenges of successful online brand building.

Your audience impacts where you promote and sell your content — big box retailers, independent book stores, online e-book stores, or direct-to-consumers from your own web portals. It also impacts how you deliver this content.  Does your audience skew toward e-books? If so, what format(s) do you need to support? Are they reading in a linear way, as is typical with fiction or other narratives, or in a more extractive way, seeking to address to particular questions or learning objectives via searching, browsing and bookmarking. In what kinds of environments do they read your books— office, school, or at home? And are they partial to particular types of reading devices, whether tablets, laptops, smartphones or dedicated e-readers?

Any publisher that lacks a deep understanding of its audience will falter.  Nathan Hull, digital development director of British media group Pearson's Penguin business said, "Big retailers know our customers better than we do." That is a problem, but what can publishers do about it?

In today's market, where margins are squeezed and competition exists from a variety of delivery mechanisms (rental, subscription, e-book, hard copy, etc.), it is becoming more important to establish a direct relationship with your audience, not only because it allows you to retain your profits, but also because it enables you to gather data on user preferences, habits and behavior patterns.  Without this knowledge, publishers are at greater risk of being disintermediated by online retail powerhouses. Readers are increasingly buying online, writing reviews online and getting ideas on what to read from online sources including social media, and publishers need to be tapped in to these processes.

At a minimum, publishers need to build a relationship with audiences through direct marketing, whether via social media, e-mail or other channels.  At the same time, any publisher who is not already selling direct should be considering the options. After all, 11 percent of people surveyed by O'Reilly said they have purchased direct from a publisher.

When you are beginning to develop your direct digital publishing strategy, some questions to ask throughout your organization include:
  1. What are the demographics and psychographics of your readers?
  2. What types of content do they prefer?
  3. Do they want interactive content that goes beyond text?
  4. What devices are they using to read content including laptops, tablets, e-readers and smartphones?
  5. How do they move between these devices?
  6. Who do they buy from?
  7. Where do they find out about new books?
  8. Where to they share reviews and recommendations?
  9. How can you build a better relationship with your readers?
While it all boils down to audience, there are many other things to consider when you are planning your digital publishing strategy.  Stay tuned for more insights, or you can jump ahead and download the complete white paper today.

 Download the White Paper

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Texas Tech University Center Goes Digital and Reduces Print Budget by 80 Percent

CCFCS curriculum materials hosted by Tizra are winning raves from teachers. After 44 years of empowering teachers with print materials that were aligned with key instructional goals, Texas Tech Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences (CCFCS) made the bold decision to go 100 percent digital using the Tizra digital publishing platform. At first, the task seemed daunting.  “We printed out a copy of each of the curricula and some of them were four inches thick,” says center director Patti Rambo.  In addition to a massive quantity of materials for its 33 courses with 300-350 teaching strategies per course, the school also needed to meet aggressive revenue goals and appeal to a diverse customer base. The Center’s search for solutions was exhaustive until they were directed to Tizra. “Tizra is flexible enough for us to make up the rules as we go along,” said Rambo. “We were able to design our pages so there’s less scrolling, and we were able to color code the courses

Case Study: ARL Walks the Walk on Accessible Content

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) provides leadership in public and information policy to 125 research and academic libraries in the U.S. and Canada. A few years ago, in an effort to increase community engagement and reduce costs, ARL made the move from print to digital publications using the Tizra platform. "Our goal was not just to go e-only, but to get there with enhanced functionality," said Publications Program Officer Lee Anne George. When evaluating digital publishing platforms, ARL had some critical requirements including: Support for existing publication formats A full e-commerce platform supporting both free and paid content, as well as password- and IP-authenticated access for individual users or entire organizations Mobile responsive design support Full-text searching including relevancy ranking and linking to specific pages in search and social sharing Support for ARL's digital accessibility mandates After extensive testing, incl

Webinar Sneak Preview: Strategic SEO - Increasing Your Organization's Visibility

Q+A with SEO expert Pam Long of True Digital We caught up with Pam Long and asked her to answer just a few SEO-related questions in advance of her upcoming webinar - Strategic SEO: Increasing Your Organization's Visibility . In this session, Pam will focus on the SEO challenges faced by association and mission-based publishers and organizations, and the Q+A below is just a small taste of the information she has to share, and she'll be taking your questions throughout the webinar! To register for this free webinar which takes place on Thursday, October 12 from 1pm ET - 2pm ET, click here . 1. What's the biggest SEO challenge facing association/mission-based publishers? You need to face the reality that there are organizations out there that have been generating content with the intent of being found far longer than many associations have had digital content available at all. You’re competing against the likes of Google Books and Amazon, who are very, very good