10 minute guide to digital publishing
What is digital publishing?
Between the invention of the Gutenberg press in the 15th century and the 1980’s, not a great deal changed in publishing. Until then, publishing, by definition, involved putting ink on paper. By 1985 however, things were beginning to look a little different. In the last 20 years, an explosion of digital technology has fundamentally changed the way we interact with information. As the publishers and media producers developed their digital capabilities to serve this demand, a new kind of publishing emerged.
Digital publishing is the dissemination of information via digital channels. That information can be words, pictures, video, audio, and more – and the digital channels are numerous and diverse.
Why is digital publishing important?
A rhetorical question perhaps, but since digital (particularly mobile) devices have become ubiquitous, digital publishing has become the preeminent form of publishing. This paradigm shift has ushered in a new era for organisations of every type.
In the modern landscape, an organisation’s ability to deliver digital content is the base upon which competitive advantage is built – and that advantage relies upon two components. Firstly, the content itself – the quality of writing, accuracy, uniqueness, timeliness, relevance, etc. Secondly, the user experience.
Modern user experiences are truly multi-channel. They make use of device features, offer familiar native navigation, and adapt to screens of every size. To do all this successfully, the digital publishing discipline has evolved to support a mix of native apps, and contemporary technologies such as HTML5 to deliver desktop and mobile web for the channel-agnostic consumer.
For Publishers and Media Organisations
To meet the demands of modern content consumers, publishers and media organisations have had to adapt drastically. Whether the content is daily news, periodic magazines, or conventional books, mobile devices have changed consumer habits significantly.
Of course, this brings massive opportunities, but also real challenges. Modern media producers must have the ability to deliver their content on any platform, but perhaps more importantly, they need to offer high-quality experiences. Consumers won’t tolerate poor quality images, or badly designed pages – and it’s all too easy for them to find competitors.
For brands, digital publishing triggered a new age of content marketing. Admittedly, content marketing existed well before the advent of digital – for example, tyre manufacturer Michelin has been producing guides for over 100 years – but digital created a level playing field. Companies of every shape and size can now produce high-quality content, and compete with multinationals.
With unlimited access to digital content, consumers conduct their own research, often without contacting organisations, so that content has become a key battleground in discoverability, demand generation, and even ongoing customer experience.
For Organisations Generally
Of course, the list of digital publishing opportunities goes well beyond what we can cover in a 10 minute guide, but the technology can be applied to training, business-to-employee (B2E) communications, investor relations, and so much more.
Digital Publishing Technology
To support organisations’ needs, an ecosystem of digital publishing providers has developed, each with different strengths and weaknesses.
Digital Publishing Suppliers
A few of the digital publishing providers that matter most.
Adobe (Digital Publishing Solution – part of Experience Manager)
When evaluating a digital publishing platform, you may wish to consider:
- Business connectors – How well will it integrate with your existing tools (Such as InDesign, content management systems, and others)?
- Dashboard, analytics and reporting capabilities – To monitor content performance and guide your content strategy
- Workflow and automation capabilities
- Price, and ease of implementation
- Multi-channel capabilities – What platforms does it support?
- Rich media support – Will it support the ingestion of varied media
- Monetisation – Does the platform offer tools to help monetise your content?