Digital publishing for the financial sector: what do you need to know? – Part 1

Digital Publishing for financial services

Kevin Williams

Posted on April 21, 2015

The story of digital publishing for the financial sector is a significant one to us because it’s our story too. Twenty years ago, our agency’s work focused predominately on print media: paper is how things got done. The business world, and especially the financial industry, revolved around its careful distribution, for our contracts, our communication, our identity.

But as the ways in which we receive, share and interact with information have evolved, we’ve had to, too. Digital publishing, as a skill set and a medium, is as now firmly embedded in our thinking and creativity, as much as paper ever was. But what does digital publishing let us do exactly, beyond the odd PDF and eBook?  And are our clients making the best use of its potential at a crucially competitive time?

In this short two-part series, we’re going to run through some of the most relevant developments in digital publishing, and review some of the ways that financial services organisations could be using it to its fullest.

Where are we now?

Digital publishing isn’t new or unfamiliar, but it is changing. We’ve come a long way from simply saving paper by distributing documents via PDF or reading the latest bestsellers in eBook form. With the massive surge in popularity of advanced mobile and tablet tech, developers have been under pressure to invent new and better ways of showcasing information for an increasingly discerning and demanding audience. Slick, visually impressive, interactive usability has been key. We want it fast, fun and relevant, and not just to enhance our leisure time: we want to see it in our business lives too.

What’s working well?

Two great examples of how technology has risen to meet demand are turning page PDFs and the growth of mobile application software. A quick look at Issuu.com gives us an instant snapshot of how PDFs have moved beyond the standard converted Word document. Beautiful, visual publications, easily designed in-house and then readable on any browser, or through downloadable native IOS and Android apps.

But it’s the traditional print media sector that are leading the way beyond something that merely looks good. Apple Newsstand and Android’s many alternatives are now full of app versions of magazines and publications that integrate enhanced user experience with some revolutionary insight tools.

Embedded video, interactive animations and personally defined reader journeys that put our audience in the driving seat are changing the ways we can communicate information and tap into the motivations and interests of our readers. And it’s not just our readers that benefit. Real-time analytics let us learn what our audiences respond to and how they interact with our content, letting us fine tune our approach and follow-ups, channeling interest into tangible action and results. It’s inbound marketing at its most exciting.

So what does that mean for us?

It’s a great time to be embracing digital publishing. The technology has moved beyond expensive, exclusive testing phases and is now readily available, easy to use and cost effective. Most importantly, it’s in our audiences’ hands, and they’re looking for it. Software platforms are competing against each other to provide the best range of features and services. Good news for agencies like us as it means it’s getting easier and easier to incorporate digital publishing into our inbound marketing strategies and for our clients to reap the benefits of their appeal.

And with the digital publishing focus thus far dominated by entertainment and lifestyle industries, for the corporate sector, the playing field is still wide open. The future is going to hinge around what corporate organisations choose to do with that opportunity, and who’s going to get in there first.

Coming up in Part 2: We reveal how our clients UBS are leading the way in financial services digital publishing, and review two leading software options, Adobe Publishing Suite and FutureFolio. What could you be doing with them?

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