How does a publisher create value? In most cases, he will take content produced by others and adds value by packaging it into one or more products. Next, he attaches credibility to the products and makes those people, who can benefit from his information, aware of their problem his solution. Finally, he offers his solution to his prospect just at the right time, when he is ready to use it.
You might now wonder, why I say, “adding value to information” instead of “creating and distributing valuable information”. In this case, I suggest you take a look at this article in our sister blog Success and Inner Growth.
Valid Information Is Not Enough
I agree that content need substance. But even the best information has no value if one of three ingredients are missing:
To keep things simple, I will talk in the rest of this article only about books. But the same concepts apply also for music, movies or newspapers.
This means in most cases, that an author of a book takes care of the substance requirement. The publisher takes care of relevance, credibility and timeliness. Next, he bundles everything into a product offer and starts to sell it.
The Publisher Business Model
From the viewpoint of the producer, the value of anything is equal to the amount of money he can get for it. This means for an author, that the value of his manuscript is determined by the amount a publisher will offer him for it.
Of course, the author can decide to become his own publisher. Today, this is perfectly possible, and all the tools he needs are in everybody’s reach.
But even a self-publishing author, must understand how to create value in his publisher role. So, let us now see, what it takes to transform information or a story into a product generating a revenue stream.
Publishers’ Way to Create Value and a Revenue Stream
You might have seen in my article about planning a business, that there are three business function involved in creating value and a revenue stream: marketing, production and sales. Today, we will examine, how these three functions work together in the context of publishing to create value and a revenue stream.
Thinking outside the box helps to use known information in new creative ways.
Marketing is responsible of finding groups of people, who share specific problems and needs. They develop then concepts an outline for a book that could help them to solve that problem and satisfy their need. This ability to solve a problem and provide satisfaction makes the book relevant to this group.
After the marketing department of a publisher created an outline for a book or another information product, which might be relevant to a significant market segment, production takes over.
Editing and producing information products with professional care is an easy way to improve credibility.
The production department has now to acquire or create a product along the guidelines of the marketing department. They could
- try to acquire the right to republish an existing product
- acquire the right to translate an existing text and hire someone to translate it
- find someone who is willing and able to write a new text from scratch
- do the necessary research and writing in house
After the publisher has the text and the right to publish it in his hands, he can use them now to create one or more products in a variety of formats. Examples are:
- printed books
- audio books
This way the publisher adapts the core information product to the wants and needs of different customer groups. In other words, he adds extra relevance.
One person might have time to listen to the information on their commute to work. The next one feels that he can grasp a concept much faster in a multimedia format involving many senses at the same time. Someone else likes a paper book, add notes and mark key sentences.
Furthermore, the packaging of information can be a perfect start to add credibility to the information it contains. After all, a carefully crafted product signals that the people behind it know their trade and take their work seriously.
But in the end, it is the responsibility of the sales department to add as much credibility as possible to the product.
First, the sales department is the public face of the business. Therefore, the behaviour of sales process can do a lot to nurture or destroy trust of prospective buyers.
But it is not only the behaviour of salespeople. The sales process should also generate social proof for the offer. Examples of social proof are likes and shares on social media.
Another tool to create trust are endorsements by recognised experts and public figures. Sales and marketing share this task, because one of the easiest ways to get there is to involve some public experts from the beginning. If you allow someone to add his input into the early product outline, it will be much easier for him to endorse the product. And if you hear objections from authoritative experts early on, you can take care of them and improve the outline before things go wrong.
But the sales department of a publisher shares not only responsibility for the credibility of the information product. it must also take care of the timeliness requirement.
Food and information must be served at the right time.
The prospect must be aware of the product early enough. And he needs to access your information at the right time. Telling someone “You could have done it better” is almost an insult. But if you can tell the same person “I can help you to do it better”, you have a good chance to earn his gratitude. So, timing is essential in sales.
Three Departments – One Team
Accordingly, marketing, production and sales share a lot of responsibilities in a publishing business, although their day to day activities are quite different. For a successful publishing business all functions must work hand in hand. If only one of them sucks seriously, the publisher will create only little value. And without value creation, there is no sustainable income stream.
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