Two Publishing Experts Preview Their Pre-Conference Workshop

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Pricing can be a huge decision. I recall Bob Coleman, founder of Coleman Publishing, telling me how he had to quickly bump up a price on a course he offered after it proved too popular. Christine Durman, a partner at Abbey Road Associates, told us not to "jump straight to your pricing; think about your presentation, your packaging, your structure. Thinking through those elements will give you more confidence in your pricing."

Pricing is one area that Luis Hernandez and Ed Coburn, senior VPs and chief strategy advisors for Mequoda Systems, will advise attendees on in their much-anticipated Pre-Conference Workshop: Multiplatform Publishing - How to Manage, Measure and Integrate Your Content, Marketing, Revenue and Technology, Monday afternoon, June 6, at the SIPA 2016 Annual Conference.

"Many publishers, even very successful publishers, base their pricing on gut feel, anecdotal feedback or other  random data that does not incorporate a lot of the research that has been done on buying psychology and behavioral economics," Hernandez said. "They're leaving money on the table.  We'll discuss cascade price points and how to use contrast pricing, for products, events and even advertising, to encourage customers to gladly pay higher average prices."

Just their insights on pricing alone might be worth your time and cost, but there will be much more. The four-hour workshop will present information that provides the cornerstone of Mequoda's very successful consulting business.

"Publishing across platforms is a tricky—and potentially expensive—business," Hernandez said. "During my time [as managing director] at SIPA, I had a chance to spend a lot of time talking to publishers about their challenges and the approaches they take. With Mequoda, I've spoken to many more publishers outside of the SIPA community and can see how they have approached many of the same problems. Ed and I are planning to share how publishers across many markets have built successful multiplatform strategies."

Here are a few more of their insights:

1. Content remains king, Hernandez said. "Well-written, useful, aligned content is critically important, whether it's being used for audience development or is part of a premium information product. Your quality content separates you from your competition and also from all the other poor content on the Internet."

2. "Audience development is about engagement throughout the customer lifecycle," Coburn said. "These days, the very first pieces of that process involve optimizing your content for search and supporting that with social media to bring people to your website. When that is done well, getting a user to download a whitepaper or sign up for an email newsletter is generally the next step as users transition to become members. Only then—and assuming a conversation has been started—should monetization begin.

3. "Revenue is a function of product development and sales and marketing," Hernandez said. "We'll be talking about how publishers can view their product line as a system of products, designed to bring users from consuming free content to higher levels of engagement and higher price points."

4. "Understanding personality profiles is increasingly important in lean, multiplatform organizations," Coburn said. "Successful multiplatform publishing requires teams to work across disciplines. Publishers have been making organizational changes to deal with the realities of the modern marketplace. Often these changes are made as a reaction to changing conditions and not in concert with transformations made throughout the organization. But in publishing, getting ahead means being proactive in all facets of the company—including the organizational structure.

5. "Digital publishing requires a well-conceived and thoughtful technology plan," Hernandez said. "Most publishers aren't technology experts, so this task can be especially daunting. Publishers will purchase a single piece of software without thinking through how it is going to integrate with the other parts of their organization, or how it might affect their future options. Once you have a solid plan, you can evaluate and select the technology that most cost-effectively meets that goal."

6. "You get what you measure," said Coburn. "So, it's important to have metrics that are tightly aligned with your goals, which means your goals need to be absolutely clear. We often find ourselves dispelling myths. For instance, many people track website traffic to demonstrate their ability to attract an audience. While traffic is important, we know from analyzing the data from our many member sites that for most publishers there's a single metric that is the best predictor of profitability and that's not it."

View more details and register for the multiplatform publishing workshop today. You can also choose from workshops focused on innovative product development, copywriting and video.  

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…