2021: The publishing industry is moving forward

Jan 27, 2021 | Articles

Andrea Burgueño

Andrea Burgueño


Probably one of the most resilient industries ever, the publishing industry keeps moving forward in 2021. After a year of changes and drastic decisions, those publishers who passed the stress test are growing stronger and moving confident towards an equally challenging year.

However, there is no time to stop. Like everyone else these days, publishers are compelled to evolve. How? Here are some of the most interesting changes so far.

The publishing industry has become more human

One of the biggest surprises of 2020 was to see relevant journalists leaving their jobs at well-established media companies to start their own projects. In other words: high-profile journalists quit their brands to start their own, entirely based on their names and previous work.

By highlighting their individual value, journalists are not only building their brands, but also, connecting directly with their audience. This audience is also directly supporting their work. Therefore journalists are free to choose their own criteria and change them in a more nimble way.

The humanization of the industry is also leading important newspapers and magazines to prioritize individual talent. They are recruiting relevant writers in order to grow their subscriber base.

Traffic will drop again, but that’s OK

Everyone knows it. As soon as our life returns to some kind of normal again, we won’t spend so much time online. Even though the pandemic reminded people the value of information, news publishers will probably see the biggest traffic drop.

A way to compensate this seems to be focusing on niche publications. Cooking, fitness and home magazines and newsletters on politics are some of the most successful options so far.

However, working on niches requires a high level of expertise and a high investment of time and effort. Therefore working only on niches might not be profitable enough.

Diversification matters

That’s also one of the reasons why diversifying the business is highly important. It is not only a tactic to compensate for the advertising revenues that publishers are missing, but also, to secure publishers’ income and to balance their efforts.

An easy way to start diversifying revenue streams is certainly by testing new formats such as newsletters, podcasts and virtual events.

Let’s talk about podcasting… again

In a previous article we already said that podcasts were on the rise and we also explained why, but it’s worthwhile to highlight the fact that podcasting is one of the fastest-growing types of media.

Among its many advantages, there is the capacity to connect with younger audiences. Also, the fairly low production costs made it relatively independent. However, things might change now that Apple and Spotify are taking over the market.

Newsletters can be a great asset

They can be extremely helpful when it comes to building a wider audience. Individual creators have already proven it to be a good resource. The question is now how can large organizations leverage newsletters. And whether that would imply working on more usable models too. As people start to get tired of receiving many newsletters a day, complex designs, colourful layouts, etc. stat to be elements that cause fatigue.

However, even though newsletters might become simple again, the publishing industry should not forget about innovation. This is still something that makes a significant difference when it comes to outperforming competitors.

Virtual events as another type of content

Despite many challenges and difficulties, some newsrooms managed to take their events online. It was surely a giant effort, but it will pay off because everything points to the fact that virtual events are going to be part of our lives even when things return to normal.

Virtual events are here to stay and now it’s the right time to start exploring the many possibilities that they offer. There is still a lot to be done. The publishing industry just needs some courage and a lot of creativity.

How are publishers' values evolving in 2021?

Due to the delicate times we’re living in, publishers have been forced to become more human and emphasize with their audience.

What should publishers focus on in 2021?

Diversifying their business is going to become crucial to grow in the publishing industry. Also, podcasts, newsletters and virtual events are going to increase in popularity.

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