Starting a digital publishing is rewarding, particularly if you’re passionate about content writing, advertising and marketing. Unfortunately, starting out in this industry can be difficult. Most of the market share is held by larger and more established companies, which leaves startups and small publishers struggling to attract new audience. Add this to the fact that running a digital publication requires a substantial workforce and large funds, and it’s easy to see how difficult it is for small publishers to survive.
Fortunately, if you’re running a small digital publishing business or are planning to, there are ways to get around these problems and ultimately achieve success. Here are a few tips you can use:
Know Your Target Audience
The web is already packed to the brim with news, blog posts, how-to articles, and other types of content. If you want to be heard over this cacophony, one thing you can do is to target a specific demographic instead of trying to please each and every kind of reader. Doing this helps you narrow down your marketing and distribution activities and create content that will resonate with your target audience.
One excellent example is BuzzFeed, whose content is usually targeted to millennials with a modern, liberal mindset. Even though they might not always agree with everything that BuzzFeed posts, these young folks visit the publication again and again since they know that most of the content on the website is relevant to them.
Make Quality Your Number-One Priority
As a small digital publisher, you might feel pressured to produce as many articles as you can in one day. This way, you can throw out more articles in the world and hope that they’ll find their way to the right audience. But this isn’t exactly effective, particularly if you end up producing low-quality articles because you’re rushing to finish them. Slow down and take the time to craft the best possible content, and you’ll find it easier to impress your target audience.
Use the Right Platform
Like many digital publishers, you probably believe that putting your content on as many platforms as possible is the right way to reach more people. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t always work. It’s like that biblical parable of the farmer who scattered his seeds, with some getting eaten by birds and others growing up in places that don’t support good plant growth.
If you want to ensure that your seeds (i.e. your website content) grow and flourish, you need to put them in the right place and ensure they’ll be seen by your target audience. Here are some of the best platforms to “plant” your content:
- Social Media
Facebook and Twitter are the most common social media platforms for content publishing. But don’t just stop at creating a page or account for your business and posting content on a regular basis. To maximize exposure, you’ll want to use the advertising tools offered by these platforms. Facebook, for example, allows you to boost your posts, while Twitter lets you promote your tweets or your account.
- Google Platforms
Google is spearheading the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project, which is an open-source initiative that aims to create ads and websites that load quickly on mobile devices. Getting on this platform is important particularly if most of your target readers are using tablets and smartphones.
There’s no need to worry since implementing AMP isn’t that difficult, particularly if you’re using WordPress for your website. Just make sure that your content is in article format and that it’s timely and topical (since AMP articles are usually considered “news”).
Aside from using AMP, you can also submit an application to join the Google News program. This is a great step since a lot of people get their daily updates from the Google News platform, so you’re sure that your content will be seen by many sets of eyes.
Medium is a great place to publish your content since it has millions of existing readers. The website curates content before publishing it, which is why it’s known for high-quality articles — and why people won’t hesitate to read your articles if they’re on Medium. You can migrate your entire website to Medium but, if you don’t want to fully rely on the platform for hosting, you can simply publish your best content on it then link the articles to your website.
Use the Right Tools
It’s hard to compete with large digital publishers, who have their own team of writers, graphic artists, web designers and other experts. If you want to keep up, you’ll need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars to create your own team — which probably isn’t in your budget.
Fortunately, you can get the same level of professional results without paying too much by using online tools that are specially designed for digital publishers. One of them is Canva, an online graphic design software that allows you to choose from thousands of templates that you can simply edit and provides you with tools to create your own design. There’s a free version but, if you want to have more flexibility, you’ll want to get Canva for Work, which costs $12.95 per user per month.
Another great tool is CoSchedule, which is essentially a scheduling program that lets you plan when your articles will be uploaded to your chosen publishing platforms and social media sites. With this tool, you can do all your scheduling in one go and have more time to focus on other tasks — with the knowledge that your content will be posted on time and to the right platforms.
Running a small digital publishing business is definitely not a walk in the park. But by taking the right steps, you’ll find it easier to navigate through the challenges and create a sharper competitive edge that you can use to achieve success.