Tips for leveraging digital publishing: educational publisher guide  

There are some useful, specific benefits for educational publishers who embrace digital publishing. 

Firstly, going digital will allow you to build on existing processes and scale more efficiently. Accessing digital data will also help you refine your offering. Digitisation is often the key to international expansion, plus being a disruptor in digital publishing can help you form better relationships with educators and educational institutions.  

So, let’s delve into some of the top tips for educational publishers when it comes to succeeding at digital publishing. 

Streamline operations and align with the latest edtech 

Publishing digitally will help you streamline and simplify your publishing workflow. Working online leads to smarter working habits, automation, and a centralisation of both material and staff. Be part of the latest edtech movement by becoming more agile.  

  • Focus your digital publishing efforts on smartening up internal processes. Digital asset management is a useful concept to get to grips with. (The caveat here is that if you need a full-on digital transformation, streamlining benefits may only kick in after restructuring).  
  • Digital publishing allows you to access the latest tech and tools to help make your business more competitive, so branch out and start incorporating them. Have you thought about how AI might help
  • Working with online educational material means you can be part of agile classroom environments: collaborate with other publishers and platforms to see beyond publications to implementation.  

Harness data both internally and externally 

One of the top benefits of digital publishing is the ability to gather granular data on how people access material online…and then doing something with that data.  

Data tracking is tied to the specific platform and the tech you are using, but pretty much all digital publishing offers you exciting data opportunities. 

  • Add value to your content products by offering good built-in analytics and learner data. Embrace your digital publishing platform’s potential and offer data insights to educators, administrators etc.  
  • It’s not just about what data you collect, but how you visualise and store it. You can add a lot of value by communicating data through dashboards, learner portals etc.  
  • Use the data you collect to help improve your product. You could even monetise user data and make it part of a premium product or service. 
  • Incorporate data collection into your digital publishing products; for example, alongside automated usage data, you can offer feedback pop-ups and forms. 
  • Use data to track trends; you can even use your own data to help you become a thought leader in the educational space. 

If you’re not making the most of data, you’re not really using digital publishing to its full potential. 

Collaborate with educators  

Working together with educators to create better digital classrooms is paramount.  

The material that you produce will have a direct impact on teachers and educators, so don’t leave them out of the conversation. Work with them to find ways in which your digital material intersects with the digital classroom tools they use.  

  • Don’t neglect educator support. There’s a pressure on educators to be digitally agile and literate. Have a solid support culture and take educator feedback seriously.  
  • Use educator feedback to improve your digital materials. Are certain performance or sequence issues creating friction within the curriculum?  
  • You can add value by having a teacher portal or online teacher materials, or even interactive portals where teachers can interact with each other. 
  • Think about how you can invite educators to be a part of a digital community. You don’t want to overload people and create more work, so keep the ask simple. 

Test your tools 

Downloading glossy free trials of digital publishing software is easy to do, but usability is the real test. You can only really get under the hood of digital publishing tools once they’re integrated into your editorial processes and being used at scale.  

  • The challenge here is to be curious and test your technology in a thorough manner before you commit to anything. 
  • Be wary of case studies if they are keeping you away from actually trying the software and having a proper demo. 
  • Don’t invest in a tool that doesn’t also come with the right support framework and the processes. Software that doesn’t work in tandem with your business is pointless. 
  • Digital content should be easy to use and manage, but many enterprise publishing tools are clunky. Be demanding when it comes to figuring out all its features. 
  • Work with a consultant or a technology partner who can help you navigate the different tools out there and help you find one that will match your needs. 

It’s true that embracing digital publishing will involve some disruption and changes to the ways in which you work, but it’s also true that this disruption can be mitigated and that it doesn’t have to end up with a wholesale rejection of old editorial tools. 

Don’t be afraid to customise software and integrate your specialist tools 

It can be very tempting to buy a software package that will “solve all our problems”, but that rarely happens. You will get a software that works, that gets you closer, but you will probably always have custom features that fall out of scope. 

Custom software often gets a bad reputation, and there are many cases where open-source and readily available off-the-shelf software is the better choice. But at the same time, software customisation is getting increasingly affordable and could leave you with a digital publishing experience that is perfectly tailored to you.  

There is also an argument to be made for integrations. There are more and more specialist tools in digital publishing that focus on a small part of the entire publishing workflow. For example, you may have a different tool for content licencing, identity access management, and e-reading. That is completely normal and in fact, these hybrid environments mean that each element can better refine its performance. 

Understand digital marketing to help you grow 

Understanding how to market digitally can help you get so much more out of digital publishing.  

  • Think about the ways in which web design, customer and user experience, and content can all come together to really help sell the story behind your materials. There’s an opportunity here to widen your marketing reach and bring in new kinds of content like short-form video. 
  • It’s very important to acknowledge the need for human faces and social proof. Why not have expert interviews with some of your writers and authors? 
  • Consider how sneak peaks, previews, and free trials can create a potential customer database that you can then remarket to.  
  • At the end of the day, digital marketing is not that different from other types of marketing. There are definitely more tools and platforms and terminology, but don’t let that intimidate you. 

Multichannel is king so embrace content diversity  

Consider all the channels that your material is going to have to engage with… and adapt accordingly. 

  • The digital classroom, apps, VR headsets – students are engaging with educational content and edutainment in a variety of ways. Think about how you can expand your content formats to meet these needs. 
  • Try to recycle and reuse material as much as you can and bring back old material back into digital circulation. 
  • Audio channels and podcasts are still a massive asset for many media companies – is this a channel that you could consider too? 

We are edtech and educational publisher specialists for a reason: we love solving edtech problems and helping publishers thrive in the world of education. Is there anything else about digital publishing that you want to share?  

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