Niche publishing, the key to survival in both online and print

By @chelean on
A woman prepares newspapers for sale at a kiosk in central Madrid, Spain, December 21, 2015.
A woman prepares newspapers for sale at a kiosk in central Madrid, Spain, December 21, 2015. Reuters/Andrea Comas

The rise in popularity of the Internet, where interactivity and mobility have become the determining factors of success in publishing, highlighted media organisations’ struggle to overcome these factors in order to survive the threat of print publishing extinction.

Historically, whenever a new media emerges and reaches a wider audience, it threatens to displace the existing media to some degree — a perspective extensively discussed in a journal titled, “A Historical Overview of the Effects of New Mass Media Introduction on Magazine Publishing During the 20th Century.” It particularly pointed out how magazines face competition from digital-only publishing platforms. The impact of digital publications allowed the lesser use of paper in printing which eventually decreased production costs.

What print publishers discovered

Engaging readers in this digital age also poses quite a challenge for print publishers. There is a tight race in generating consumer readership. In this regard, brands are directed to change their marketing approach from a “business-to-business” standpoint to a “business-to-consumer” approach. The main task is to directly engage consumers to patronise their brands. This change in marketing approach spawned the rise of niche publishing, which, according to Kunzon Publishing (KP), is an essential and powerful ingredient to guarantee success in the publishing business. Furthermore, niche publishing caters to a very specific, tightly defined and focused audience.

According to Pew Research report, the key to withstanding the dynamic change in publishing trend is being able to evolve. This is something that have made long-time journalists in Washington the mainstays that they are especially during the years when the death of print media is almost imminent. Instead of catering to the general audience’s interests, they instead targeted a specific audience whose interests are narrowed and deep, thus it challenges the most experienced journalists to produce quality content. In other words, niche publishing.

In turn, readers of ClimateWire, Traffic World, Government Executive and Food Chemical News find these publications’ content important and vital for their job, business and industry that they are willing to pay for subscription fees that prove to be profitable, according to the same Pew source.

The same goes for online publishing where niche and not mainstream news has made quite an impact on specific audiences. Even with a notable statistic on mobile news consumption — at 89 percent of adult in the US — there is still a struggle to engage audiences and develop reader loyalty. Digital publications were able to cater to a general audience that captured a wide variety of topics but did not generate reader loyalty where consumers are willing to pay for subscriptions.

One particular online publishing company that was able to shift from offering news to the general public to a specific and targeted audience is Bloomberg News. This news agency managed to gain nearly 275,000 clients worldwide, including financial institutions and financial groups, by delivering financial and business news. Born2Invest, another mobile news app, enjoys about 80,000 monthly active users by delivering business and financial news to targeted audience. The mobile news app delivers localised news to its readers who are interested in the business side of things.

Born2Invest founder and CEO, Dom Einhorn boasts of discovering the very essence of consumer readership and loyalty: engagement.

“Our entire business model is built on engagement. We are already in a position today where we can prove that we outperform any existing publishing model in terms of engagement as measured by time spent inside our app, screens read per user, click rates on content, etc. And in several cases, we outperform the current industry standard by a factor of 15 to 30 times,” said Einhorn in an exclusive interview.

Both online and print publishers discovered that the key to establishing reader loyalty is engagement and nowadays, engagement comes highly in targeting specific niches. Audiences find these valuable insights and quality content specifically tailored for them so important in their lives that they are even willing to pay for subscriptions.