Three steps to publishing success

Publishing success isn’t necessarily about having the best creative talent; it’s about making sure that it’s deployed in the right way.

By James Evelegh

Three steps to publishing success
Photograph: Roven Images on Unsplash

At the Making Publishing Pay conference last week, we heard lots of stories of publishing success, from companies that had made significant changes to the way they worked and were reaping the rewards.

There were three common foundation stones:

1. They asked ‘why’

Why are we here? Why are we doing this? TTG’s Daniel Pearce recommended we all read Simon Sinek’s ‘Start with why’.

Take the time to establish your true purpose, put it in a mission statement, plaster it around the office, but go further and make sure that everyone in your team believes in it and can clearly articulate it.

This takes time. For The Drum, their ethos (“we believe that marketing can change the world for the better”) was simple enough, but took two years to bed in properly.

2. They changed behaviour

Once you’ve established your purpose, make sure you live by it. TTG’s new strapline ‘for smarter, better, fairer travel’ impacts everything they do, from recruitment to new product development. The Drum’s “making the world better” ethos has fed through into the way they organise their events: ensuring female representation on panels, serving less meat and even expanding the ethnic diversity of the team of drummers that attend all their events. You’ve got to talk the talk and walk the walk.

3. They listened to readers

Every publisher will claim to listen to their readers, but do they, really? Do you have a rolling programme of reader research? Are you asking the right questions? Are you finding their pain points? And, crucially, are you acting on what they say? If you’re simply filing it away, then it’s a useless process, but if it informs everything you do, then it can open the door to huge opportunity.

All other things being equal, if you do the above, how can you not succeed?