Cross Media Publishing - Definition and Modern Trends

Cross Media Publishing - Definition and Modern Trends

Content is king! Markets are becoming more complex, customers more demanding and publications are becoming one of the competitive factors. As a result, companies are forced to publish quickly and in a target group-oriented manner in different media. The challenge is to organize consistent publication management across relevant media, especially print and online. Without efficient cross-media publishing, a company can hardly reach the desired target groups.

What is cross media publishing?

According to Wikipedia's definition, Cross Media Publishing (CMP) or digital publishing means the cross-media publishing of content on the basis of media-neutral data. Content is created and distributed that is stored in a media-neutral form but can be used for different media (e.g. web, print and mobile) thanks to automatic processing per media in order to save the total time and costs for publications across all channels.

Content is created in a single data source, known as single source publishing, and is then routed out for various output channels. On the one hand, this is made possible by the use of media-neutral data formats such as XML for text or SVG for graphics. Secondly, thanks to the integration of several systems from which the information is published directly to the required channel.

Which systems can be used for cross-media publishing?

CMP is a major challenge for your IT. For it to work, many systems need to be linked together:

  • Dedicated CMP systems
  • ECM - Enterprise Content Management Systems
  • DAM - Digital Asset Management Systems
  • PIM - Product Information Management Systems
  • CMS - Content Management Systems (editorial systems)

Of course, not all systems should be used at the same time. It is only important that the workflows that arise during the CMP are implemented in the existing system landscape so that working time can be saved and publications can be made (semi-)automatically via the numerous channels. In addition, individual systems, such as PIM systems, offer the option of preparing channel-specific content directly in the system.

What are the advantages of cross-media publishing?

Cross-media publishing is the cross-connection between individual channels, whereby content, structure and publishing are treated separately. The content can overlap and each individual medium can also provide the reader with new information. Cross media publishing offers several advantages for users.

Uniform media-neutral database for the content

Content in all forms, including text and images, is stored in a media-neutral format (mainly as XML data). This means that it can be used quickly for different media. And this means that readers are provided with information more quickly.

Fast publication on multiple channels

Publications can be published more quickly on multiple channels without any loss of quality, as content in HTML, PDF and other formats can be easily generated from the XML data.

Minimization of errors

Thanks to maximum transparency in the organization, management and maintenance of data, it is always available to every employee in a single repository, which significantly improves the quality of the content.

Improvement of brand equity

A uniform corporate design and presentation of your own brand on all media will attract consumers in the long term and create a recognition effect.

Reduction of the workload

In many companies, image resolutions and text variants are saved multiple times or have to be converted individually for each channel. With CMP, images are saved in top quality in single source publishing and only scaled to the required quality during publishing - e.g. image data is saved in RGB mode with 300 dpi resolution, then converted into CMYK data with 300 dpi for the print catalog and into RGB data with 72 dpi for the Internet. Texts no longer need to be saved in several versions either, as these can be created automatically from one text version.

Improved content marketing

According to the 2019 Content Preferences Survey report by Demand Gen Report, 73% of respondents said they have little time to read and research and typically read three to seven publications before contacting the vendor. This means that vendors need to deliver offers at the right time that are clear and trustworthy for the audience.

You have to create an incentive that the user experiences on each individual medium. In doing so, readers will also become curious about other channels. For example, the website can be the center of the cross-media campaign. Print products such as flyers or brochures can direct readers to the homepage thanks to a QR code and encourage interaction - e.g. through discounts or promotions in the online store. On Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, the publications should in turn attract users to the website (e.g. "You can find more information and new products on our website." etc.).

The challenges of cross-media publishing

Cross media publishing and content marketing are closely linked. Content marketing is a means of communication strategy that deals with the creation and publication of high-quality content. Companies need to develop and implement a good cross-media publishing strategy in order to bring the content to the right target group in the right medium. There are many challenges to overcome.

Media have different requirements

The biggest challenge is communicating a basic idea via different channels. Each channel has its own content requirements that need to be followed when publishing. This means that content must be adapted to each platform in the best possible way. It is not enough to create one publication for all media. While flyers offer beautiful images, posts on the Internet convince with crisp and meaningful headlines. This is why needs-oriented content and targeted formats must be selected when publishing.

Preparation of the data

Preparing content for different platforms is very time-consuming. One image format for social networks, another for print catalogs and yet a third for website content: that means a lot of effort to prepare individual content according to their publishing channels. While the PDF format is used in print and images in the CMYK color palette are required in a high resolution, HTML format and RGB colors in a lower resolution are needed for publication on the web.

Create high-quality content

The consumer's needs should be satisfied at every level of the customer journey. Quality content must be published, as new customers can only be attracted by high-quality content. The most important thing is to offer the customer added value instead of advertising. For example, a company can score points with a blog on its own website where content appears regularly.

Companies are fighting for the attention of their target group. However, for content to bring long-term benefits and score points with the audience, companies must take modern trends and the needs of their target group into account. Digital media are becoming everyday touchpoints and social networks make it possible to measure the distribution of content.

Users are looking for a conversation

By individualizing content and approach, you can respond to the needs of the buyer. Companies that make an effort to engage in a dialog with the user often get a response (likes, shares and feedback). Personalization offers a great competitive advantage. The more data you have about your customers, the greater the chance of addressing them correctly. Of course, data protection regulations must be observed.

Unique content is expected

Most companies in an industry publish similar content and often duplicate it across all their channels. This makes it harder to improve rankings for certain keywords. Try to provide your customers with new information specific to one channel that cannot be found among your competitors. It is no longer enough to publish the same content on every medium, so don't copy it 1:1!

Creativity bears fruit

Publications with entertainment and humor draw attention to the brand and arouse positive emotions in buyers. Creativity improves product communication with your target group. Although this trend does not apply to all industries, even complex content and information can be communicated in an original way. Another study by Demand Gen found that 86% of shoppers prefer interactive content. The visual effect can be achieved, for example, through colorful images and animated videos.

Brand storytelling should be improved

Brand storytelling creates a comprehensive insight into the corporate culture, its history and vision. It is about making promises and keeping them when the customer orders your product. It shows the true motivation, vision and mission of the company. In short, brand storytelling is about building human relationships, engaging the audience and getting them excited about your brand.

Precise content is expected

The average word count in texts has increased, while readers' attention spans are decreasing. Although content is important, don't expect users to read all of your content. It is better to focus on the most relevant content that is presented in a regular cycle, is channel-specific and addresses exactly the users who are interested in a channel.


Cross-media publishing will help you survive the tough competition. This is because it allows you to create content once in a media-neutral format and use it multiple times in many channels, e.g. print and online.

With cross-media publishing, you avoid asynchronous data storage and many errors that can occur during data preparation. The organization, management and maintenance of data are transparent with CMP. This also helps to reduce the workload.

For your cross-media publishing strategy to be successful, you should also follow modern trends: optimize communication with customers, do not publish the same content on all media and - if possible - publish original content, as it is better perceived by customers. Brand storytelling should not be neglected either - this creates a positive impression of your brand.

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