Smaller publishers are tired of having to bend to the will of advertisers to stay afloat

Brands might say: “Can I get editing rights? I want to approve all content before it goes live.”

Traditional publishers today seem to have reached breaking point. Even just this first sentence is somewhat controversial: what does ‘traditional publisher’ mean?

In a world where everyone can be a publisher, we’re using this phrase simply to define the media companies who hire teams of journalists, and publish either off or online.

For this group of businesses, commercial and editorial lines are blurring, and since there’s an endless list of potential partners to create bran­ded content with, or distribute to, it’s harder than ever to keep afloat with any kind 
 of credibility.

Advertisers no longer have a small handful of highly influential printed papers and magazines to partner with to promote themselves; they have reams of options. From bloggers and vloggers to online magazines, websites, events, communities, and social networks — the list is endless.

And while the likes of Buzzfeed and Snapchat (which we’re including because of their partnerships with professional publishers) can command high figures because they can provide both big numbers AND huge levels of engagement, they’re in the minority.

Speaking to several professional publishers over the past few months, many are tired of having to over-commit or be dictated to by advertisers, and are keen to work with fewer brands on exclusive, collaborative and higher quality relationships.

The effect of all this? Opportunity, of course, but also: frustration from all sides.

How we can be better at dealing with this

· Be a smarter broker between brands and publisher partners: make sure that clients know that they can’t dictate exacting details, and that publishers are going to deliver quality, with measurable writing. Write a killer brief with clear goals.

· Lead the relationship: when there’s payment in play, the typical PR/media dynamic doesn’t exist.

· Look for innovation from your publishing partners: not just standard adverto­rials and banners.

· 8

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