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Home » Publishers: A new tool to assess your digital transformation | What’s New in Publishing

Publishers: A new tool to assess your digital transformation | What’s New in Publishing

As part of our Collectif, in which we feature the work of our partners (see more here). Here Alan Hunter and Michael Brunt, co-founders of HBM Advisory, announce the arrival of a new tool that publishers can use to assess their progress towards digital transformation, looking at user needs, product and content strategy, to data maturity, audience monetisation ambitions for AI and more.

As advisers to the media industry, we are often asked: “What are other publishers doing in this area? And how do we compare to them?”

These are very good questions and ones to which it has traditionally been difficult for individual publishers to get definitive answers. The ultra-competitive nature of the industry means there has typically not been a lot of sharing of information, and you can go to innumerable conferences and never find out the real story behind Publisher X’s subscription growth or Publisher Y’s “success” on TikTok.

So we decided to do something about it and have created HBM Advisory’s Digital Fitness Assessment for Publishers. 

The idea is to provide people with an independent, market-tested assessment of how their organisation compares with competitors and industry best practices in terms of its digital transformation.

In case you think this is a sales pitch, we would like to stress that the assessment is entirely free for publishers to use. All they need to do is complete a multiple-choice questionnaire and, after submitting their email address they will receive a personalised report. Our goal is to be of service to the industry in uncertain times.

We believe that digital progress cannot just be measured by traffic or subscription numbers and there are some capabilities, activities and attitudes that indicate a publisher is charting  a course towards a profitable future. Or, on the flip side, that they have more work to do.

15 key criteria

What are these areas? We’ve chosen the 15 that we think represent the full range of what a publisher needs to be successful in the near future or that are indicative of long-term success. They range from user needs, product and content strategy, to data maturity, audience monetisation and, of course, ambitions for AI.

In each area, the publisher’s level is assessed by their response to a number or statements relating to it to which they can “strongly agree”, “agree”, “disagree” or “strongly disagree”. A weighting is then applied to the answers because some statements are more revealing than others and an overall score assigned.

This score puts the publisher in an attainment level in a scale ranging from Limited at the bottom, through Identified, Implemented and Utilised, to Optimised at the top. These levels are not based on average scores – though we do also provide them – but on our assessment based on our years of experience in publishing, our consultancy practice, and many, many conversations with other publishers and experts.

Indeed, in a number of areas of the assessment we have partnered with specialists to make sure we are reflecting the latest thinking. These are: ADZ Strategies, Chrysalis Transformations, In Digital, Insights Driven, Redsella and Simon-Kucher. We hope survey respondents can learn as much from them as we have.

It should be stressed that all submitted data will be held securely and not shared with third parties. We hope this will give comfort to those who might be wary of sharing their data with a rival company or one with close links to a tech giant.

Having completed the questionnaire respondents will receive the aforementioned personalised report that outlines their levels for individual categories and an overall score. We also provide a suggestion for what to do next in each category and how we, or our partners, might help them.

Our main motivation, however, is to start conversations about how the news publishing business can embrace its digital future. It has not moved as fast as it could and needs to accelerate the process to see off new challengers – the tech giants, for example, aren’t going away any time soon. We hope that the Digital Fitness Assessment for Publishers will be part of that process.

The next step is to start your questionnaire right now by clicking on this link.

Originally published on The blog

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