This month, Technology for Publishing participated in the Idealliance “Going Mobile” event, where a number of industry leaders came together to share their thoughts about what’s next for publishers.

I was invited to moderate one of the sessions, Trend Toward Magazine Articlization, featuring Keith Barrraclough, CTO of Next Issue Media; Adam Schewn, CTO of The Magazine Channel; and Joan Solà, EVP, Chief Global Markets, at Zinio.

Each of the speakers focused on the challenges this new trend brings, not only for publishers in general, but also in terms of their own business models, and what they are doing to prepare for this next shift. Here are some common themes among the thoughts they shared, and a few of our own to help you do a health check on your digital publishing strategy.

PDF is not digital.

One of the topics discussed was the need to move away from the PDF replica model for digital magazines. Although the approach worked for a while, enabling publishers to test the market requirements for digital products and offer an interim solution, it’s really just a bridge to developing a truly digital offering.

It’s about well-defined content.

We at TFP have been preaching all along that content structure and well-organized content is now more relevant than ever—if not in our face.

What’s needed is a more sophisticated content structure, one that provides intelligence on how best to mine and deliver your content. New solutions from vendors can take advantage of rich tagged content (XML, anyone?), and with clear, organized metadata models, publishers can offer targeted, granular content products that can be tuned and adjusted based on consumption data.

Investing in a content future.

We’ve been advising publishers for many years that defining and storing well-structured content is not just for what they need today, but also for what they will need in the future. If a publisher is just beginning this endeavor, it’s way behind the curve—because it’s about having a body of legacy content to publish from, not just what’s being published today.

Panelists remarked how publishers ignore the value of their data simply to generate a short-lived, one-time digital product. This came with a plea to publishers to stop leaving content bits on the editorial floor, bits that might not seem relevant to the immediate publishing task at hand but that add value over time.

The significance of articlization and mobile snacking.

These trends are a reality now. It’s staggering to see the percentage of mobile device users within the overall population and the percentage of time they spend consuming content on their devices. Content consumption has shifted to a pattern whereby readers pick and choose the articles they want to read, on an as-needed basis. This corresponds to how mobile device users consume small snippets of content throughout their day in the form of “mobile snacking,” an interesting term we had not paid much attention to until the articlization trend really hit.

So the question for publishers is not only what’s the best system, tool, or technology to use to deliver content, or what’s the next platform (Facebook Instant Articles, Apple News, Adobe DPS daily apps), but how can content be structured, organized, and stored to best deliver to any of these, and the next big thing?

If your content house is in good order, you have tremendous flexibility in pursuing these new channels and approaches. If it’s not, it’s now or never if you want to succeed in the move to articlization and in being the next mobile snack.

UPDATE: Google released a whitepaper about consumer behaviors in a mobile world, citing micromoments as the key component to setting, measuring, and achieving success.

For more, check out TFP’s September Book Picks: Managing Articlization in a Mobile World.

CEO Margot Knorr Mancini’s monthly blog on content strategy shares valuable insights and observations from her experiences in the publishing industry. 

Check out her other articles in our Content Strategy section. Also sign up for TFP’s newsletter briefings, including Media Metrics and This Week in Publishing, which highlights our weekly industry news picks and tips to help you stay informed. Have a suggestion for a topic you’d like to know more about? Drop us a note!

Posted by: Margot Knorr Mancini

A thought leader in the publishing industry, Margot Knorr Mancini has helped numerous publishers redefine their missions to become nimble content generators with the ability to repurpose content easily and efficiently. As Founder & CEO of Technology for Publishing, her analytical mind allows her to remain a step ahead of the industry, recognizing early trends and developing pivotal best practices.