What’s the most critical thing about any publishing operation, can you guess?
It doesn’t matter what kind of publishing business you’re in — books, magazines, music, comics, games, journals, newspapers — distribution can make or break you.
By way of illustration, I want to tell you a true story.
Many years ago, I worked in a customer support team inside a division of one of Australia’s largest newspaper publishers.
The team I started in supported subscribers in one state, which meant that we handled calls for one of Australia’s largest cities, and also all of its regional areas. Eventually, I worked in a team that support another team, and we handled the back-up work for approximately five mastheads: Two national, three regional.
During this time, we hit a period in which we started losing subscribers. And I’m not talking one or two here and there. I’m talking a rush of exits.
The belief inside the business was that digital was taking over. They were doing things about that, including adding digital subscriptions.
But on the whole, the narrative was: We can’t keep up with digital.
That wasn’t my experience on the phones, though. My experience on the phones was: Non-delivery.
Most of the time it was non-delivery in line with promises, and then deliveries not made on time. It was extremely rare for someone to cancel because they were just getting their news online: They had an entirely different process, and the money wasn’t ‘lost’, if you like.
Now, the business didn’t control the delivery. It was an outsourced function. The people who were doing it were running newsagencies. They didn’t have a vested interest in any newspaper, for the most part.
The delivery folk weren’t delivering just our product. They were delivering everyone’s products: Not a big deal in the city; it’s a massive deal in the country. Why? Because if our competitor’s trucks were late, our deliveries were late.
If you are feeling a little bit baffled right now, because controlling supply chains is Business 101, then you might get what I’m talking about.
Distribution of your product is king.
The content invites users.
Your delivery channels and delivery consistency together create loyalty.
This is why I personally use MissingLettr for ensuring consistent delivery in digital channels over an entire year — with the added benefit that I only touch the content once.
Well, technically, twice. But that’s a story for another day.
If you want it, too, you can get 50% off your first three months by using this link: https://goo.gl/joMYu4.
And if you want more goodies like that, sign up for my daily emails.