Efficiency is a word that publishers use a lot as they look to drive more value out of their businesses.
But what does this actually mean in practice? How should publishers approach it from a structural perspective? And how do they balance the need for efficiency with the need for quality?
In two recent webinars, we spoke to Kapero, a consultancy that helps publishers and brands become more efficient in their approach to content creation, management, and reuse, and Aller Media, a major magazine publisher in the Nordics. The two recently collaborated to unlock efficiency gains across Aller Media’s subsidiaries and titles.
In the first webinar, Kaj Johansson and Peter Lundberg of Kapero discuss how they advised and collaborated on the transformation. In the second, Lars Kroløkke of Aller Media discusses the topic from an internal perspective, including how the organization uses WoodWing to support its content-first approach.
A number of the most interesting insights are summarized below, and both webinars are embedded at the end of the post.
1. Focusing only on efficiency is not a sustainable approach
Many organizations grappling with tighter budgets react by trying to achieve the same output with fewer resources. This can of course lead to a short-term productivity spike, but over time can bring about a negative spiral of more pressure on staff and eventually reduced quality, leading to dwindling readership, and back to the beginning. The good news is that productivity gains are possible with the same resources, if you take the right approach.
2. “Efficiency” needs to be broken down to really understand where gains can be made
Efficiency is a hot topic in the publishing world, but when discussing this important subject, it can be tempting to simply say “we want to be more efficient”. Indeed, for many organizations, efficiency is simply trying to do more with less, as mentioned in the point above. But in fact, efficiency is much more than simply working harder or faster. Kapero identified several ways in which publishers can think of efficiency in a structural way (diagram below), which can provide a starting point on how to go about creating efficiency gains.
3. Consider technology after content and process
Tools and technology are a vital cog in the storytelling machine. And the right tools have an impact on the quality of your publication - whether it be through enabling your content-first approach, ensuring anyone can access the images or files they need at a moment’s notice, or having a positive impact on the consistent look and feel of your stories. But they are essentially enablers - even a world-class publishing system will not help bad processes or organization. So while tools are very important, improving efficiency starts with content and process.
4. Efficiency and quality go hand in hand
One particularly intriguing insight is that if your approach to content is set up in the right way, drivers of quality are in fact the same things that drive efficiency. In the case of Aller Media, this includes shorter processes, less - but better-quality - content created (due to better planning and reuse), and a tighter integration of print and digital. In fact, Aller Media was able to reduce the total content volume and costs of content created, while maintaining the volume they publish, and actually increasing the quality for specific articles.
For Aller Media, transforming from a publisher to a media house has paid enormous dividends in terms of efficiency, savings, and the quality of their stories. If you are curious to gain more insights, check the videos below!
Kapero webinar - Transformation from publisher to media house
Kapero co-founders Kaj and Peter discuss how they collaborated with Aller Media to transform the organization into an efficient media house, through a holistic approach spanning workflow, reuse, and breaking down silos between titles and teams.
Aller Media webinar - Implementing a content-first approach
Lars Kroløkke, Director - Digital Transformation, discusses Aller Media's challenges and experiences implementing a content-first approach, which spans everyone in the content creation process, including external parties.