6 mistakes to avoid when diversifying published content


The theory of diversifying published content is well-established among publishers in the modern industry. We all know that stories can be told in many different ways, and technology has enabled us to produce apps, games, and interactive ebooks to shine alongside print products. In a seminar at the 2016 London Book Fair, it was labelled by Alison Jones as “making your ideas work harder for you”. Unfortunately, not all publishers are equipped to do this effectively.

In this article, we’ll look at six mistakes to avoid when diversifying a product range for new technologies.

1) Go in blind

It’s rare that a whole range of books will be ripe for digital transformation. You’ll never know for certain before it’s put live into the marketplace, but it’s worth seeking the opinion of existing customers and others in the industry about which content is typically most popular. Go with your gut if you get a kick from the risk.

2) Copy and paste

Rather than copying the raw text from a book and throwing it into a mobile or tablet app, consider the ways in which readers will be consuming it. Can the paragraphs be broken down? Can the language be simplified? Where can you input video and imagery? These are important questions to ask when optimising content for digital products.

3) Price it stubbornly

The monetisation beast raises its head yet again; a monster that publishers big and small are well-used to battling. Consider giving away some content with the option to buy more, or using a digital product as a loss-leader for promoting something else in the range. Pricing it at paperback price will rarely cut the mustard.

4) Release without testing

Code has a habit of messing things up now and again. Before release, digital products need testing and re-testing across the spectrum of devices on which they’ll be available. The best results will come from multiple testers rather than one individual. Specialist testing companies can do the job to avoid lumbering an inexperienced team with it.

5) Think go-live is the end

Go-live is just the beginning (although it could be the beginning of the end if you do it wrong). Think about app store optimisation and further marketing activities to promote the product to the right audience, online and offline.

6) Ignore feedback

There will be direct incoming feedback, online store reviews, and information inferred from download data and user behaviour statistics. And there’s likely to be a phase two, when this information is analysed and acted upon. It’s great PR to thank users for their input and highlight where their feedback has impacted the product. This helps build a loyal community.

Marc Defosse is Managing Director at Ribbonfish, a London-based tech company that builds solutions for the publishing and media industries. You can connect with him on LinkedIn and follow Ribbonfish on Twitter.

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