Digital publishing trends & insights – 2023 in publishing

Off the back of some recent publishing events we attended, we have been thinking about the state of digital publishing, and what publishers should consider. It is clear that this is both an exciting and challenging time for many in the industry, and now more than ever, embracing digital opportunities is at the forefront of many publisher strategies. Here are some themes, trends, and things to consider when reviewing your digital strategy.

Long-term investments for the win

This is not so much of a “trend”, more of a statement on how the best way to win the top prize in digital publishing is to really invest in digital as a channel and prioritise digital strategy, assets, and skillsets. Going in with both a long-term and experimental attitude to the digital medium is a great way to have an impact, fast.

Adaptability – markets & mediums

Again, not another fad, but a true statement: those publishers who are able to adapt and embrace new markets and mediums will thrive. This is especially true during challenging times.

  • Are your readers looking for more online resources? How about creating a digital archive?
  • Have you considered your ability to harness user-generated content?
  • Is there an emerging market you could start targeting?

Tip: think carefully about big print runs and expensive publicity. Invest in community marketing instead.

Open access and accessibility

When it comes to open access and digital, it’s important to keep the real issue at the heart of any changes you make. Be disciplined about features and scope, especially when they don’t add much to the accessibility bottom line.

And while there is a lot to consider when it comes to digital accessibility, working on your metadata is a good start.

Impact is key to driving digital transformation

Want to push digital publishing at your organisation? Not sure how to “sell” digital to the higher ups, or indeed the authors themselves?

Talk about the impact and reach of digital. Help people see how digital can help you reach more readers, engage a new target audience, beat the competition etc.

Generative AI entering the scene

Decentralisation and information sharing has taken a new exciting step forward with generative AI. (Fun fact: publishers are already using generative AI to run some of their quizzes).

AI is the future. It won’t likely replace writing, but it will enhance it. What we have to do is focus on the ethics of using AI and promote transparency.

Warnings on data monopoly

The issue with regulating a lot of the online world is the slowness of traditional legislation, as we have seen in the numerous EU and Google rulings. As publishers, we should always consider the context of the data we collect.

Data is also something where often upskilling is needed: does your organisation really have a grip on its data collection and retention?

Storytelling behind the data

And though data is important, even more essential is the storytelling layer that allows publishers to glean insights from metrics and analytics. Don’t forget the crucial narrative step when analysing your digital data.

Conversational for the win – social publishing

And when it comes to distribution, consider how you can use social media and community marketing to help your content go far and wide. Traditional media still has a role to play of course, but there are also many interesting elements to social publishing that brands can learn from. A lot of this comes down to authenticity and personality.

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