Welton doesn’t see any industry-wide destabilization looming this year, although he’s quick to note “that doesn’t mean there won’t be more bad news that includes layoffs, brand closures and all the other things that make us cringe. It’s the nature of business, especially one in such a transformative period.”
So what does he suggest publishers do to keep an even keel this year?
Remember that what’s old is new
That includes email, what he calls “the best touchpoint a marketer has,” as well good old-fashioned storytelling. He reminds us that content is a commodity, but good content is quite another matter. Welton also notes the dramatic swing away from social media, something we talk about quite a lot around here.
“A few years ago you heard a lot of buzz like ‘social media is the new SEO.’ Well, in 2019 SEO is the new SEO,” Welton writes. “Search traffic is booming for publishers. The most current research indicates that it accounts for around half of the traffic publishers are bringing in—nearly double what social media accounts for.”
“Publishers are bullish on SEO, so I believe it will contribute to even more traffic in 2019, which of course means more revenue potential for publishers,” he notes.
(Data) safety first
Data security is a huge deal for every business, and publishing is no exception. As Casey explains, “earning the trust of your consumers and ensuring their sensitive information is safe is obviously critical, but it’s up to you to actually make sure that it is. Easier said than done though. Ask Mark Zuckerberg.
“This year, and probably the next several years, we will all be focusing on creating safer environments for data. Until then, data will continue to be a frontier land, rife with opportunity… and danger.”
If you can’t collect, manage and store it safely, you have to fix that. Now.
Look out for social misfits
In 2019, publishers need to be cognizant of changing attitudes toward social media, Welton insists.
“I don’t expect some sort of mass exodus away from social media this year, or next,” he writes. “But I also don’t expect publishers to invest heavily into social media this year or next. There’s too much uncertainty in the stability of all the networks and there’s too much upside in investing in areas like data, search and owned and operated platforms.”
If you read just one of the many “Trends for 2019” articles, I’d say take this one to heart. Embrace what works, keep your customers safe, and don’t rely on an unstable platform for your bread and butter. Thanks, Casey; we will watch how this all unfolds.