As time passes we all do better and newer things, often forgetting what it was that got us to our new positions. Tools improve, code grows, and ideas change and that brings new opportunities. Twenty years ago very few publishers were putting their content online. Then, tentatively, that changed. For a time it felt like the industry was unstoppable and everyone was getting online. Smartphones and tablets meant people could read digital content everywhere. The future was bright.
Then a recession came along in 2008, and the economy has never fully bounced back. In certain sectors, people have found their wages stagnant and new opportunities limited. More people in retirement means there is a growth in traffic, but retired people are often reluctant digital subscribers. So where does that leave the publishing industry? How can we serve users the content they want and need and which matches the business needs of a publisher?
Let’s get personal
Years ago I would pass a small record shop on my way home from work. I’d pop in, listen to some CDs and the owner would select some music for me, which I’d often buy. If I was looking glum, he would offer me a mix of cheerful or whimsical music. If it was a Friday, some party music. He understood me, what I bought, and what I looked at in the shop. Every now and again if he saw some crossover potential he’d introduce me to something new. He knew me.
In a human-based business, that’s almost impossible to scale up to a large chain of shops. But imagine if a website could know you? It wouldn’t need to know who you are, just like the record shop owner didn’t know my surname. But it could respond to what I browsed, what I looked at, and how I was behaving on the day. It could serve up content that best suited my mood, rather than just showing me content I’d already looked at. And it would do this by recognising you on arrival.
Make it pay
This year we’ve been rolling out a datawall and paywall system that integrates with Standfirst for Web — it understands the visitor. In the early versions it will be used to drive paid subscriptions, but over time will gather data to serve what your readers might enjoy — a course you’re offering, a book you’re releasing or an event you’re running and avoid repeatedly showing the user the same thing time and again. It’s already running over on FamCap with great success for them.
And because it will know what’s interesting to your user, the relationship can be much more like the one I had with the record shop owner. It can feel personal and useful without feeling creepy or intrusive like so much remarketing can feel. After all, when you’ve already bought the one and only bottle of car wax you need this year, you don’t need to see twenty more adverts for it on every website you visit. This isn’t about following a visitor around the internet. It’s about making them feel welcome when they return.
A platform for success
Many of our clients are also running on Standfirst, which you can think of as a scalable, turbo-boosted version of WordPress. We’re hoping that for our clients we can bring new opportunities with fast, simple but capable software solutions.
We’ve been working with the publishing sector for over 10 years now and the tools we’ve developed are routinely used in the wild and stand up to the test. Find out more information about our products for publishers here. Feel free to get in touch if you want to discuss your publishing software frustrations or missed opportunities — we are constantly innovating in our bid to make online publishing easier and we may well have a solution for you. Isn’t change interesting? We think so.