With audiences rapidly moving online for their content, using mobile devices, ereaders and tablets for books and other types of content, the world of online publishing has grown in response to provide more content and offer new opportunities for writers to get in front of a larger audience. It’s also been a way to formalize and monetize content production within a larger business model to serve as a structure for fledgling creatives. Whatever your overall goal may be, those within the online publishing industry have the experience to provide great tips for those just starting out.
For example, take Library of Miss Gadish founder Tali Gadish who has found success creating what’s been positioned as a virtual library for kids but that also operates as an online publishing company, working with numerous writers and artists to create the digital books that are offered through the library. Here, she shares five of her top tips that have helped her develop and manage a successful online publishing company:
1. Follow your passion.
Gadish started off as a child obsessed with “Sesame Street” because it gave her the entertainment and love of learning that has remained throughout her adult life. This passion led Gadish to spend time working with children’s entertainment and production companies to develop similar learning opportunities for kids. It was this desire that led her to the idea to create an online publishing company that could offer the same type of creative content that kids loved but that also taught them important linguistic skills and enhanced their general knowledge. She suggests, “Find something that gets you excited and you love doing and then make that the core of your online content production. This enthusiasm will carry you through the hard work and hurdles that go into building an online business.”
2. Make plenty of contacts.
These contacts provide a beneficial network that can fill in the skills gaps, provide ideas and resources to remove some of the challenges along the way, and lead to connections that can propel your business forward. For Gadish, contacts she had made from previous employers, particularly Dreamworks, were for helping to develop high quality, creative content because it allowed her to tap into great talent that had worked on similar projects. This talent could help launch the online publishing company with the best content possible to attract and retain an audience from the start. Gadish notes, “Always look to those around you because they know people and have connections so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. My contacts helped me launch much more quickly than if I had to go it alone.”
3. Spot a gap in the market.
Gadish started the Library of Miss Gadish because all she saw everywhere was low-grade, non-education content for kids. No one had thought about the idea that kids actually do like learning when you can create something fun and useful for them. Gadish explains, “I spent considerable time researching was out there and that helped me identify what was missing. While my demographic may not have been able to speak up and demand what they wanted, I could see from experience working with children that they would love something that would be similar to what other generations of kids used to enjoy on TV or at the library. You can do the same with your online publishing company and locate a niche that remains untouched. Find the audience, exploit that, and they will want your content.”
4. Focus on quality.
Gadish saw there was so much poorly written and developed content for children in the digital space and, like content for adults, there was a definite need for something that was creative and helped its audience. She thought about why people fell in love with the animation from Dreamworks and realized it was because it was well done, unique, and fully developed in its characterization, visuals, music and plot. She states, “Those same ingredients were necessary for children’s digital content. They want quality just like every other age group. That meant I had to locate and bring in talented artists, animators, writers, voices and musicians to create the perfect formula for high-quality content for my virtual library. That same formula applies to any type of online publishing company. Make it incredible or don’t do it. Your audience deserves the best.”
5. Develop what your target audience wants more of.
Gadish notes that the reason books like the Harry Potter did so well was because it gave kids something magical and wonderful to fall in love with to the point where they wanted to read more about Harry Potter and his adventures. There was enough detail but plenty of room for readers to use their imagination. The same goes with the stories created for the virtual library. Additionally, Gadish has added a rewards component that encourages the audience to collect groups of stories and incentivizes them with ‘stars’ and planets “stickers.” Whether it is for kids or adults, focus on creating series within your online publishing company that hooks the audience and gives them the promise of much more to come. With that, they will keep coming back in search of more content related to those characters and adventures.
While your online publishing company also must be guided by knowledge of basic business operations, including marketing, accounting, hiring and training, and overall daily planning, these five tips provide an excellent framework for conceptualizing the type of company you could create and grow.