siia iis2014 headerThree themes prevailed at the Software and Information Industry Association’s IIS 2014 event in New York City last week—disruption, change, and a new focus—and all three are essential for content publishers to understand and prioritize in 2014 and beyond.

In the words of Henry Blodget, CEO and Editor-in-Chief of Business Insider (syndicated by Newstex), “Digital is as different from print and television as print and television are from each other.” He predicts that in the coming years smaller publishers that specialize in digital content will grow to become big media brands and players just as small cable news channels became bigger players in the television media market over the past decade. You can view Henry’s predictions in the video below.

During the IIS 2014 Summit, SIIA asked 13 decision-makers to share their content industry strategies, tools, and predictions in brief videos (including Henry Blodget’s video above). You can get all of the insights on the SIIA blog. In addition to discussing disruption and change, these decision-makers offered insights about attracting investors, the value of brand partnerships, and more.

The many speakers who took the stage at the IIS 2014 Summit also discussed the themes of disruption and change in great detail. With this expected disruption and change, speakers urged audience members to rethink their strategies and tactics and refocus on content end users. As Michael Hansen, CEO of Cengage, said about the changes happening in the book publishing industry during his lecture, “People have been publishing textbooks for 25 years. Now some bright-eyed and bushy tailed technology guys are brought in—25 years younger than many of the employees—and not even talking the same language. They don’t understand why they’re there. [But] what is this ultimately about? The student, the end user. We have to refocus on the user.”

The key takeaway for content publishers is simple. Digital content publishing is still evolving and you need to be nimble to keep up. During his lecture, Skift CEO Rafat Ali described the B2B media publisher of the future. That organization will change its focus to include B2C, and it will merge media and data into a new “mediata” organization. Rafat offered a number of recommendations to B2B publishers in the room. Highlights include:

  • Focus on broader audiences.
  • Publish content in a variety of media.
  • Syndicate that content to ensure it is distributed to professional audiences.

Knowing disruption is looming and preparing to make the necessary changes in focus, strategies, and tactics in order to keep up is critical to digital publishing success in the future. The conversations at IIS 2014 should remind content publishers to stay the course and ride out the bumps by being flexible enough to travel over them smoothly.

Image: SIIA IIS 2014