3 Reasons To Feel Optimistic About the Future of Digital Publishing

man peering into future of digital publishingIt’s ironic that even as we consumers spend more time consuming online content, we seem to value it less. 

That’s value with a small “v” … we value it, we just don’t want to pay for it!

On the flip side, revenue needs to come from somewhere to sustain online content creation.

Quality content has a cost, and somebody has to pay for it.

Despite this apparent dilemma, we’re optimistic about the future of online publishing!

Why?  Technology offers some powerful solutions benefitting content creators, digital publishers, and consumers.  

No Free Lunch:  The 3 Faces of Content Monetization

Let’s look at the value of content from three perspectives, and see where the interests of these three groups meet.

1. The Content Consumer:

Consumers are smart and know there’s no free lunch. 

Marketing land reported that while we might complain about ads, 92% also agreed that ads are the cost of all the content we enjoy.

Do Consumers Prefer an Ad-Supported Content, or Paying for An Ad Free Internet? 

Graph /Survey: 92% Agree Ad Supported Online Content Is Important To Overall Value Of The Internet

Even as we use technology to circumvent ads, we also accept that ads are a cost of paying for the rich content we enjoy.

  Good content has a cost, and somebody has to pay for it.

“Free” content isn’t really free … nor should it be!

2. The Professional Content Creator/Business Blogger:

Professional content creators – editors, writers, and others – are caught in the middle.  The creative class is clearly being squeezed, and a new model is needed to adequately value the content they produce regardless of its form.

Bloggers are an interesting subgroup.  If we were to sum up the content monetization strategy of this group, the statement “Give it Away” would apply.

When a blogger’s thought leadership is their brand, and the goal is to use site traffic to drive sales of other products and services, better tools are needed to extend the reach and visibility of content.

Fortunately, bloggers and other content creators have increasingly better tools to extend their online effectiveness and reach.

The collaborative blog “Independent Fashion Bloggers” summed up the need for a sound business model in this post:  “Signs You’re Ready to Quit Your “Day Job” and Blog Professionally”.

Economics dictates that bloggers and other content creators need reliable sources of revenue.  The decision of how best to monetize online content creation is still a very individual one, but 21st century tools that make content distribution and licensing easier than ever, are readily at hand.

3.  The Online Publisher

Of all the communities that we serve, the adage, “If you don’t like the weather, just wait awhile and it will change” might best apply here.

Earlier this week, the SF Chronicle abandoned its four-month old pay wall program … just as the Toronto Star announced that they’re launching theirs!

Digital publishers are challenged with finding the balance between paid and free, new advertising solutions that work, and innovative ways to unlock the value in the content they produce.

We are reinventing a business model as the balance moves to online delivery, but the demand side of the equation — our basic human need for information and entertainment — has not changed.

 The Future of Digital Publishing

What’s on the horizon?

The value contained in “big data” has barely been tapped.   New technologies are making it ever easier to extend the reach and extract the value of high-quality content.

Now, it’s your turn.  What are your predictions for the future?

  • Which will win … open access to content, pay walls, or something else entirely?
  • What other solutions and technologies will emerge to help content creators and digital publishers monetize their content?

Leave a comment, and let us know what you think the future holds for content creators and online publishers.

And, while you’re here, watch a short video to learn how our award winning toolbar turns your best content into dollars.


  1. Rhonda Hurwitz
    Aug 18 @ 06:17:59

    Good points here. Content quality can make the difference between a site that thrives and one that fails. That’s why I get cranky when it’s assumed that “anyone can write.” Not so. Experienced writers, professional bloggers and trained journalists deserve to be well-paid. They add tremendous value that is too often overlooked. — Jill Baker (we think … @JBakerMarketing on Twitter)

    • Rhonda Hurwitz
      Aug 18 @ 06:28:05

      Jill, we totally agree! The sites we subscribe to and read regularly … and the posts that jump off the page and that we then share with our social circles, are all because of the writing and thought that goes into them.

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