How PressReader achieves content marketing success leveraging unique cross-sector insights

PressReader occupies unique position in the publishing industry. As a global digital content provider offering an “all-you-can-read” model, it has been adopted by media, music, hospitality, travel, book publishing and video industries. PressReader connects magazine and newspaper publishers (including FIPP members) with readers around the world, and helps digitise and monetise content. 

They deliver content from over 6,000 publications in 100 countries, to more than 300 million readers in hotels or libraries, and on airlines and cruiseships. The sheer scale of their operation allows them to garner insight shareable across industries. 

“In working with businesses in various verticals, from hospitality, to medicine, to education, travel and transportation, we’re in a unique position to see how content is being consumed,” explained Nikolay Malyarov (pictured above), EVP, chief content officer and general counsel for PressReader. 

It’s this view from 35,000 feet that allows Malyarov and PressReader to see patterns and trends across their audience of over 300 million readers, gather empirical evidence via surveys, collect and analyse the data and share it across industries.

“We tend to live in our own silos,” Malyarov said. “Publishers go to publishing events, hotel management would go to hotel events, but there isn’t much of a cross-over between these verticals.”

They found a need across industries to address and discover solutions for issues facing executives. “We’re occupying a niche that was largely empty until now and bring all of these verticals together,” he said. “They all have one very distinctive thing in common, and that they’re all consumer-centric verticals.”

So, PressReader built a content marketing strategy that would deliver their insight, analysis and opinion to publishers and journalists in the media industry, executives in consumer-facing industries like hospitality, travel and education, and influencers like associations and think tanks.

The strategy

Their strategy consisted of presenting relevant pieces through their own events, third-party events and speaking engagements, through their own magazine and newsletter.

“We want to make sure that our content marketing strategy encompasses a number of different ways we can reach the target audience,” he said. 

The first event PressReader held was in Sydney, Australia in 2016, which focused on changes in the industry. “In Australia, we invited a professional football player, who had moved on to his own company that focused on building inexpensive, ergonomic desks for schools, and the challenges he was facing, from the products sourcing locally, to breaking into the restricted education space,” Malyarov explained. “He gave a short speech to start the conversation, and set a good framework for us to network afterwards.”

In late January, PressReader held an event in Washington, DC that discussed how digital innovation would impact the future of media, with experts from technology, journalism, media and political science sectors. 

“We invited people who were interested in politics, in journalism, in business, and provided a networking opportunity as well,” Malyarov said. 

Related: Nikolay’s open letter to everyone looking for true journalism

PressReader also sends out a monthly newsletter, which is customised for certain industries, to keep its target audience aware of developments and insight between events throughout the year, and issues of its own magazine, The Insider.

The Insider, a business quarterly focused on issues facing media executives, was launched in September 2015. But, it also functioned as a showcase of best practices. “We wanted to show publishers how multimedia and other technologies can be integrated into digital editions,” said Gayle Moss, editor of The Insider. “And demonstrate how you can make digital editions more interactive and immersive.”

Over the last five issues the quarterly has evolved and expanded its focus. 

“We’re writing about subjects that keeps media and business executives awake at night. We’re not afraid to tackle the really tough issues with backup data that supports the realities, even if some people don’t want to hear what we have to say,” Moss explained.

For example, in the latest issue, an in-depth feature focused on the experience of executives in the music industry, to highlight the parallel in disruption the music and publishing industries have experienced. “The Insider allows us to share these insights and insight similar to these across industries, and hopefully, let publishers see value in it,” Malyarov said.

The purpose of PressReader’s content marketing strategy was to inform, educate and help their target audience. And, be provocative. Afterall, change in the industry doesn’t happen without discussion.

“We like to incite a healthy debate, to make people think and hopefully spark a conversation,” he said. “We need to discuss things that are not necessarily pleasant but that discussion needs to be healthy, constructive, and lead to solutions.”

Related: Nikolay’s article True journalism is not dead – not now, not ever! 

PressReader’s content marketing strategy has been successful – Malyarov calls it a win-win-win proposition for publishers, businesses and consumers – as it helps each of the segments reach their core objectives, and reach positive results. 

Thus far, Malyarov and Moss see the results of their strategy as positive indication of the value of content marketing. 

“There’s a recognition of what PressReader is… from being viewed as a supplier in the industry to a visionary and a thought leader. We’re seeing a fundamental shift,” Malyarov said. 

“It allows us to have very different types of conversations with publishing partners who have very different relationships with us now. They’re not looking at us as another newsstand or distribution platform, but as a company that cares about the industry… and genuinely wants the industry to succeed.”

Shareable insight

For those looking to create or revamp their own content marketing strategy, Malyarov and Moss suggest to spend more time reading than writing. ”Spend more time researching,” Moss recommended. “It’s easy to sit down and write an opinion, but if you don’t have data to back it up, your words are empty.”

Indeed, with the overwhelming amount of content being generated on a daily, even hourly, basis, developing a content marketing strategy with a solid understanding of content that would be relevant to its intended audience is important. Like most top publishers, PressReader “strongly believes in providing the right content at the right time, through the right channels, at the right price, to the right audience,” Malyarov said. 

* Meet Nikolay will be at Digital Innovators’ Summit 2017 in Berlin, 19-21 March. See more at

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