Monday, March 4, 2013

Fear of the Unknown: Digital Transitions

Once upon a time, thinking about educational publishing transitioning to digital offerings was quite intimidating to our business. Where do we start? How do we start? Then, by some possibly divine measure, a former colleague brought business to me from a company already in the throes of making this transition. They needed content for two educational supplemental products--one for the students and one for the instructor. It was an "ah-ha"
moment for me, full of as many clich├ęs as this blog already has! It was even an epiphany! Content, content and more content--but only quality content. Never will the need for quality content go away--the trick for those in the industry who've grown up in the print world is to realize that two things will never change:

  1. The need for quality content.
  2. The need for an understanding of your markets so you can sell this quality content. 
Now you just need to add learning more about digital delivery. And what did you do when you first entered your markets? You talked to your customers--you visited them, surveyed them, got to know them, asked them what they need, expect and what their students need and expect; you asked about business models and you shared it with the sales representatives. And you make sure that everyone in management knew that you took the time to get this in-depth information for your markets. After that, digital transitions will be based on information, facts and projected numbers you will feel more confident about.

Finally, just like when you first started your career, spend time with those that know digital--we all spent time with production professionals; now we spend it with digital professionals.

Don't fear the unknown; take steps to make it known, because at the end of the day it's still quality content and market knowledge that leads to sales, no matter how slick the delivery.