Publisher - How Technology Continues to Change the Publishing Industry


The Accelerated Pace of Technology

Publishing and media is changing rapidly; like other industries, it is compelled to adapt with the introduction of new technology. Ten years ago, people were tied to their desktops for documents and the Internet; you could not check e-mail while riding a train to work or flying to a trade show. But now, the Internet is much more easily accessible. In fact, it is said that computer and transistor performance will double every 18 months for the foreseeable future. I was introduced to Moore’s Law and this idea, often attributed to David House, at the Tech Museum in San Jose. It illustrates how the amount of time needed for change compresses when new technology is introduced. In other words, as time goes on, change will come more and more quickly; good business practices involve staying on top of this change.

The key to success is recognizing what the true core of your business is, and not what the tools may or may not allow you to do. Everything in a business is connected; it’s just how you choose to link the pieces.

The Change

A decade ago, printed publications were considered to be the most important piece of the media mix; digital content was often considered to be a fad or a novelty for those who adopted the Internet early on. However, the industry changed and we adapted with it. Over the last 10 years we’ve added video content, virtual trade shows, web analytics, responsive web design, and e-newsletters into our services and workflow; but with every addition we supplemented it with good content.

Focus on Your Core Business

For our industry, media is still about connecting buyers (or potential buyers) with sellers through content that helps in the decision-making process. The key to making these connections is to offer readers information they find valuable and necessary. Here are a couple points to remember:

1) The core principle behind media and publishing has not changed; only the delivery has evolved.

  • Don’t get caught up in spending all your time and budget on a new website. Your product (editorial) needs to back it up.

2) It doesn’t matter whether you’re digital or analog, bad content will fail.

  • As a media company, content must be our main focus because it is the heart of our business. Information is what drives all successful media companies and those that provide the best quality content in their audiences’ desired formats will prevail.

3) Content, audience, delivery and availability will always be key components of the business. Most people will never argue that compelling informative content is a must to be a successful publisher, but it is crucial that the right content is married with the right delivery.

  • For example, many audiences may not want to read a 2,000-word feature article on a smartphone, so news items and short editorial pieces may be best for inclusion in certain digital newsletters.
  • Given its format for in-depth reporting and very descriptive articles, printed publications are an extremely viable medium in today’s B-to-B marketplace. Magazines offer an experience that cannot be replicated by computers. Tablet editions are improving and evolving but the physical printed publication still has a place in the media landscape.

In short, if you focus on content first, your business will be able to tackle technological advances much more effectively. Value is adaptable to any platform, and if you have a good product, you will be able to find a way to transfer it to responsive mobile sites, e-newsletters and online videos. Staying aware of changes in technology and making an effort to keep up is important! But that can only come once you’ve created a valuable product to begin with--and once you have, then you can tack on the bells and whistles.


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Group Publisher - Roads & Bridges