Low cost, high tech smartphones and cheap yet fast internet connections have led to greater consumption of content on mobile devices. Given the ever increasing penetration of mobile devices in smaller cities and villages, a lot of content including news articles and videos are consumed online. These are not just in the form of articles, but infographics, videos, WhatsApp messages, microblogs like tweets and more. The language is also no longer restricted to English but you will find immense content in Hindi, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali to name a few and other religions languages as well.
However, there are still many publications which are trying to get their share of voice and of mind in the this vast digital space. Apart from plethora of content that is available, ever changing technology and ranking algorithms on search engines & within social media platforms make it difficult for latecomers.
Below are some of the common challenges which any organisation should plan for while making a transition from print to digital.
Writer’s mindset: The biggest challenge in going from print to digital is repurposing the existing team of journalists who write for print and getting them to write for digital. Most of the writers will have their own style and creative flair which gets hindered when they are asked to write for digital with certain constraints like Keyword research and SEO optimisation which are imperative for digital. Also, the writer needs to understand their career path and be open for change. Many a time stubbornness to change can hinder the transition process.
Right training: Requisite amount of time along with professional training must be provided to the writers to help them aid in the transition process. The training should not just be provided to the writers but to the entire organisation as publishing on digital content requires more readiness, timeliness and creativity.
Content formats: When writing for print, mostly the format is a text article followed by a few pictures. However for digital, a wide variety of content formats need to looked at. Videos form an integral part of online journalism and it becomes important for the team to bring on board people who are comfortable in front of the camera along with the team which is good in video content production and editing. High quality pictures, illustration and Infographics should also become a regular content generation format.
Balance between print and digital business: Here is challenge that requires a strategic decision making. For instance, how much of content should be kept unique for your print subscribers, how much should be made available for digital subscribers and how much of it should be given for free readership?
Active social media: When you are new on digital platforms, social media is your best friend. Running right targeted promotions and advertisements can help you get good traffic and build brand online. However a strong and consistent strategy is required. For this it is important to bring a good and responsible social media team onboard. I make sure to add word responsible here as on social media you cannot report or write anything which is incorrect. The social media trolls will tear you apart within minutes doing considerable damage to your brand image.
Good quality traffic: Digital world opens up a broader audience base for you, you can expect bigger numbers in readership and subscriber base, however it also becomes a challenge to get the relevant traffic on the website. If this is not taken care of the you brand will fall into the digital abyss of 2nd page of google never to be found.
Budgets: During the transition phase of print first to digital first, it is important to have requisite amount budgets. Company management needs to be liberal towards allocation of funds to online advertisement and social media promotion as they will go a long way to capture a greater market share.
Over expectations & commitments: Businesses need to understand that even though digital platforms are more effective to get a broader readership base, the path of growth is gradual and takes at least 2-3 years of consistent hard work and effective strategies for your brand to becomes a staple for your intended audience. Digital is a number game where every small activity and its efficacies can be measured. It is important to have realistic goals and commitments.