Reinventing Print – Strategies for Digital Success

Lynn Bizri, Dec 20 2016

Around the world, established print publishers are transforming themselves, investing in digital channels growing their multimedia content, and shoring up their expertise in digital marketing and distribution. Regional Director of Solutions at DMS Moustafa Ismail, Managing Director of Media Quest Ayman Haydar and Managing Editor at ArabNet Rita Makhoul came together at ArabNet Riyadh to discuss some of the strategies that print players are taking to win in an increasingly digital world. Below are some of the key learning and highlights from the discussion:

1)   The Potential Death of Print
Two key factors that play a role in the potential death of print are accessibility and recency. When it comes to news, print puts readers in yesterday’s world, whereas digital is more recent, easily accessible, and operates in real-time. In order to stay relevant and thrive, print publishers, which include news and niche media, must learn how to integrate digital and have it complement their content, e.g.: New York Times.

2)   Adapting Print to a Digital Environment
One of the challenges that publishers face in reinventing print is adapting it to a digital environment. Writing for print is completely different from writing for a digital platform, and readers on digital platforms (especially mobile devices/tablets) prefer to read shorter, straight to the point and entertaining pieces of content. Therefore, publishers need to hire specialized writers for digital or train their existing writers to evolve and adapt their writing style and skills. Editorial strategies also must be revised.

3)   Catering Content to Audiences
Publishers need to study and understand whom their audience is and how their audience differs from platform to platform in order to create relevant and personalized content. With the help of data, publishers can create different edits and play around with their content depending on the platform or type of user they are targeting.   

4)   The Importance of Numbers
When it comes to data and numbers, editors must conduct a proper analysis of everything they write including how much time is spent on topics and if the target audience is being reached. They must also look into the time spent on their website and content, the level of discussion that is happening, and the number and type of users that revisit their website.

5)   Monetizing Content
While there are several ways of monetizing content, the attention for typical display banners is declining, and brands are using more native and traditional display ads to reach their readers. Native and traditional display ads are more successful because people engage with them more and they allow brands to influence their readers’ emotions.

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