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Publishers, What’s Your Next Step?

Published on 7/26/2016 by Brittni Castilaw

When publishers look at their revenue sources, they likely see subscriptions, ad sales and events making up the bulk of their income. It takes a significant investment in each channel to successfully implement the strategy and monetize it. 

What's your next step

Even then, your publication didn’t just rake in millions of dollars in subscriptions (print or digital) over the course of a few months. It took blood, sweat, and probably a few tears’ worth of investment in your brand to boost subscriptions.

It’s the same with ad sales. We are seeing big changes in the way publishers create and sell their advertising solutions, with content marketing playing an increasingly important role for brands. Native or sponsored content has opened the door to more advertising opportunities while providing added exposure for your advertisers.

Events also require a large, up-front investment. From speakers to sponsors, putting together a successful and (most importantly) profitable event is not easy. To increase your margin every year, you must understand the changing factors that bring your audiences to town, and why they continue to attend.

So let’s say that your subscriptions, ad sales and events are still packing them in. What else can you do?

The answer is quite simple - content licensing.

Some publishers are squeamish about content licensing due to the uncertainty of your breakeven point. We agree that this is an important consideration. But what if your breakeven calculation was easy? When you contract this effort to a trusted third party, the revenue possibilities are substantial and you are profitable on the first sale.

To be successful at content licensing, your brand has to already have earned trust with your audience. And this has already been accomplished through the energy and resources you spent to increase subscriptions, ad sales and sponsor popular events – these efforts create a valuable, trusted brand. Don’t discount what it took to get to where you are, as it is an ongoing investment that will continue to pay out year after year.

If you were to launch a content licensing effort in-house, it would likely take months and as mentioned earlier, your breakeven point would be a mystery. But because you have invested in the other three channels, the groundwork has already been laid and you are leaving money on the table if you don’t put such a strategy into motion.

When deciding if content licensing is the best next step for you, simply look at the current revenue generated from subscriptions, ad sales and events. If you see continued growth, your brand has value. That means content licensing will make you money.