for choosing the right publishing software
There’s no question that publishing is a highly competitive industry with a continuously evolving landscape. With new technologies continuously driving efficiencies, digital content is being published faster, more frequently, and more accurately than ever before. At the same time, content still needs longevity.
There are an increasing number of channels through which content is distributed and consumed. In a demanding market, publishers need the agility to deliver content as it becomes relevant, and the ability to pivot in order to put out content across a range of ever-growing channels. That’s easier said than done. So how can you do it effectively?
One way it can be achieved is by choosing the right publishing tools for your software stack. PublishOne’s Mark Hünneman shares his insights and top tips for choosing the right publishing software.
A simplified model of publishing
To truly understand how and why the right software can make a difference to your publishing efforts, it’s important to revisit the fundamental elements of the publishing process. A simplified model looks something like this:
● Creation: It starts with the creation of content, whether that’s new or existing. That content is then enriched through editing, additional content, and so on.
● Management: Once you have the raw content, the publisher manages the content and enriches it further in the build-up to publication.
● Distribution: When the content is approved for publication, it then gets distributed via a range of channels, from online portals and e-learning sites to e-books and XML. Alongside digital variations, there may even be printed books, journals, or magazines.
This may be a simplified model, but you can already see the potential scale of complexity involved with publishing the same content in different formats. On top of that, each phase has a steady pipeline of new inputs or outputs, from new authors and new products to new distribution channels.
Things to consider when choosing publishing software
To meet the challenge of successfully handling all the moving parts involved with the publishing process, here are 5 top tips for choosing your publishing software:
Publishing software should be adaptive to your workflows and processes, not the other way around. That means processes can be easily adjusted to incorporate new steps. The software should be loosely-coupled, scalable, and agnostic, so you have the freedom to upgrade other elements of your software stack without having to change your main publishing tool. Well documented and stable APIs, for all the important functionality, are therefore key – after all, you don’t want to keep upgrading and changing your software every few years.
From the author’s perspective, you also don’t want to waste time teaching them new tools. You need author tooling that’s simple, familiar, and makes it easy to configure content in a structured format ready for distributing across every relevant channel. Authors tend to have a preferred writing tool, so ideally you need to choose publishing software which can easily adapt to author’s preferences, offering easy integration of new services as they become available and which requires minimal author onboarding.
Should authors encounter a problem with the technology, it’s important for them to get timely help so that they can focus on creating their core content and not on resolving IT issues. That means they should be able to make structural changes to a document easily and frequently as required. Ideally, metadata should also be used to make navigating long and complex documents, and finding the right content, easy and simple to do.
With any new software, it’s always advisable to start small and then scale. When you’re seeking a new publishing tool, ensure it fits with your existing tech stack. Ideally, it’s a product with straightforward tooling. That way you can begin by using it with a limited number of authors, products, and channels to test out its functionality.
Once you’ve tested out your new publishing software solution, it’s time to consider what worked well and what could be improved. For example, did it take too long to onboard new authors or did it require a costly upgrade in order to work with your existing software stack?
As well as reflecting and evaluating its effectiveness, it’s also important to cast an eye to the future. Will it be able to handle readability scoring, automatic keyword extraction, and bibliographic reference checking and correction? If you publish in multiple languages, does it have translation automation?
A framework for investment
There are two key questions for publishers looking for the right software to give them the edge in a competitive market. Firstly, how quickly can you reach a new author, create a new product, or reach the right audience, through the right channels? Secondly, how much does it cost for you to do that successfully?
The first step is to ensure that you have the right IT hardware in place – your technology stack. Alongside this, you have your software tools, whether that’s software as a service (SaaS) or licenced, on premise solutions.
With your IT infrastructure in place, your organization can then develop and implement workflows which utilize those tools. And when that content is given a clear structure, the most valuable asset you have is the content itself. Any investment you make in this end-to-end process needs to support your main objective: to ensure your content is timely, it reaches the right readers through the right channels, and that it’s error-free in a consistent format across channels.
Hardware and on-premise solutions are typically a large capital expense, with a shorter product lifespan. SaaS products are more cost-effective operational expense, and as part of a cycle of continuous improvement receive regular enhancements and updates. With a subscription model, there’s also no long-term lock-in, so you’re not tied to a specific provider or a set number of users for longer than you need to be.
PublishOne is a cloud-based solution for publishers looking to create once and publish anywhere. To learn how our software can help to unify, streamline, and expedite your publishing process across a variety of print formats and digital channels, contact us.