Why the print-centric publishing mindset needs to shift and adopt a culture of “title group” as a parent to both print and digital products
In general, publishers are way behind the curve when it comes to interactive media and digital product development. They often treat their digital books and standard marketing initiatives as offshoot products of the print book development lifecycle. Digital products and marketing campaigns are typically relegated to reactive afterthoughts rather than allowing for proactive planning. Digital products and marketing initiatives should be evaluated during the earliest stages of title conception. The pitfalls of focusing on print without consideration to digital strategy at earlier phases of development is that:
- books are typically authored with print design layouts in mind and digital requires additional consideration.
- digital products often require editorial and design teams to have to redo or develop new content.
- developing a solid digital end-user experience with print parameter constraints is HIGHLY challenging.
- having to take 3 steps backward to fix issues that could have been accommodated earlier in the process adds significant production costs
- publishers are missing out on opportunities developing a targeted pre-release social media content marketing strategy cost which are measurable in comparison to book tours, etc…
Changing this mindset and adopting a culture of “title group” as a parent to both print and digital products allows publishers to rapidly adapt to market and reader needs, improving on the product experience, significantly decreasing production costs, and increasing total sales potential.
PROACTIVE VS REACTIVE DIGITAL PUBLISHING WORKFLOWS
A healthier model to examine would be for publishers to nominate title “kick-off” review teams that are comprised of product owners and stakeholders. These team members would represent print, digital, traditional, and digital/social marketing teams. Product owners would review submissions by stakeholders and coordinate review meetings if apropos. The purpose would be to develop a holistic plan of attack and identify any opportunities that require additional or long term planning. Of course not every book needs to be actionable and the review process can be quick and templated but pausing and inserting a team review milestone at early stages of title development, allows for latent opportunities to be fleshed out further. Keep in mind this isn’t just about products, this is about social content marketing, or any digital marketing initiatives as well!
DIGITAL PUBLISHING STRATEGY AND PROCESS SHIFT DISTILLED
Pausing to examine the title holistically and investigate full marketing and product potential doesn’t have to be expensive if you have the right team, asking the right questions, in fact, it will cost you less in the long run.
WHY I BLOGGED THIS
When I first transitioned from the interactive agency world into the publishing space, I was blown away. I couldn’t believe how behind publishers were in understanding how to develop digital products. The paradigms that have been created over the centuries have culminated in a culture that still hangs on to rules and norms that were long since forgotten by other lateral industries. If there’s anything you should take away from this article, it’s that publishers need to explore new avenues of content authoring, development and production at all levels. Agile production process that adjoin with analog and antiquated upstream processes create hurdles and stumbling blocks that equal time and budget bloating downstream. You have a ton of in-house talent who are pulling levers for you right now. Spend some time listening to what they have to say. They often have tremendous insight into streamlining process upstream!
Photo Credit: James Arboghast Creative Commons: Some rights reserved