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Publishers: Best practices from the Specialist Media Innovators

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20 of Europe’s specialist media innovators share their experiences and strategies for growing revenues

This is an excerpt from our free-to-download report, Specialist Media Innovators in Europe

What new ideas and inspiration can you discover for your own media business from our profiled innovators? This is our guide to the main takeaways – and how to follow up for more detail in the individual case studies.

  • Events and online communities assist in bringing your audience together. 
  • Develop new marketing solutions for advertising clients. 
  • Digital subscriptions propositions are a core route to reaching new audiences.
  • Technology strategy is key, whether that be installing third party solutions or developing in-house systems, often in collaboration with other media owners.

1. Expand your audience

Success starts with deeply knowing your audience, and understanding the secondary audiences you can reach. 

Know your market ecosystem

  • Karger map their entire medical research and clinical practice ecosystem. 
  • Wolves Summit have identified corporates and government agencies as key players in the start-up market.

Reach secondary audiences

  • TU Media target business execs and policy makers as well as technologists.
  • Karger are helping healthcare companies communicate better with patients and connecting investors to healthcare start-ups

Appeal to younger demographic groups

  • Alt Eco is using TikTok to reach new groups.  
  • TU Media is also targeting younger cohorts.  
  • Dennik N provide educational materials for schools.

Translate to new countries/languages

  • Bonnier have taken successful features across borders.  
  • Wolves have expanded from Poland. 
  • Dennik N have launched in Czechia and Hungary. 
  • Mensagem have launched English and Creole editions in Lisbon

Download the free report “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” for strategy details

2. Content innovation

Explore content innovation within core brands, producing multiple forms of content plus personalisation, to drive engagement and reach new audiences.

Move to audio/ video

  • Zetland now lead with audio storytelling.  
  • Dennik N moving to a paid audio product.  
  • Roularta have created an in-house studio for audio and video.  
  • TU Media investing in podcasts

Create personalised newsletters

  • William Reed is using audience behaviour to build personalisation.  
  • HR Grapevine and Agri Media are launching segmented newsletters.

Professional development/ training

  • Roularta has created a new education division and include an online tracker.
  • Karger has developed a suite of new courses for scientists and clinicians.  
  • Bonnier Business News collaborated with Copenhagen Business School.  
  • B2B Marketing put team professional development at the heart of their corporate membership proposition.

Mobile apps for engagement

  • Alternatives Economiques have a mobile app to drive audience engagement.  
  • Zetland make it easy to switch between text and audio

Download the free report “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” for strategy details

3. Product innovation

Develop digital stand-alone products that solve problems for your audience and can be charged for separately.

Publisher tools

  • Dennik has made its monetisation tools available to its competitors.  
  • Zetland has developed Good Tape, a transcription tool for journalists

SaaS workflow tools

  • Spitta has built practice management software for dentists.

Digital marketplaces

  • LV has created livestock trading platform Bullship and farm machinery marketplace Tracktorpool

Digital brands in emerging markets

  • LV has launched woodland site.  
  • Rapid News launched into a new manufacturing niche

Partnerships and consultancy

  • Wolves work with corporates on their start-up incubators.


  • HBI created a deals database in the private healthcare sector

Innovation teams/ ideas labs

  • Spitta has an inhouse innovation team which prioritises new ideas and develops them.  
  • LV has an ideas lab that has created new products like Bullship.  

4. Events and community innovation

Capture event content to keep the conversation going post event, explore digital versions of in person events and nurture online communities.

Integrate event content into communities

  • B2B Marketing has fully integrated its experts and event content into a thriving membership community that also generates new topics.  

Digital all year round content hubs  

  • Rapid News launched an online hub TMT to complement its in person events.

Innovate industry awards

  • Karger’s new innovation awards have connected them with healthcare start-ups and investors
  • The Drum broadcasts global awards events from its in-house studio, reaching a wider audience

Contributor/member engagement 

  • Zetland enlists volunteer ambassadors to help grow membership.  
  • Mensagem runs events for contributors.

Build membership packages around events

  • HBI created a membership proposition by adding content and online networking to delegate tickets

Download the free report “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” for strategy details

5. Innovation in Marketing solutions

Clients are looking for measurable marketing solutions that can be tailored to their target audience.  

Content agency  

  • Roularta is developing a medical content creation agency.  
  • Karger advises pharma and clinicians on how to communicate with patients.  


  • William Reed tracks audience behaviour and can create contextual advertising

Intent Data

  • HR Grapevine have developed a client dashboard that allows them to track and retarget people who have engaged with content.  They can track editorial reading behaviour to help advertisers tailor content marketing to suit latest trends.

Download the free report “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” for strategy details

6. Digital subscriptions

Digital subscriptions are scalable internationally, appeal to younger demographics, and provide audience data and insights as well as recurring revenue.  

Converting print subs to digital

  • TU Media have built 25k digital subscribers from scratch and reduced print frequency.  
  • LV launched a digital service for an established print brand.
  • France Media launched a digital membership proposition for Bonjour Paris

Free registration/first-party data

  • William Reed stopped print on all but one title and invested in tech to establish free registration, reaching 250k records. 
  • Alternatives Economiques has recently launched free registration in addition to paid digital subs.

Bundling with community and other features

  • Bonnier Business News have grown ARPU by adding audio, events and other digital features. 
  • B2B Marketing have added value to membership by investing in content-rich community and expert access

Referrals and ambassadors

  • Zetland drive membership growth via word of mouth

Corporate subscriptions

  • B2B Marketing have dramatically increased membership rates by focussing on larger corporates.

7. Tech strategies

Both in-house development and upgrading your third-party tech stack are viable tech strategies.  Clear objectives, experienced teams and investment are needed.

In-house development

  • Spitta have developed SaaS products alongside their publications with in-house dev team.  
  • HR Grapevine built intent data and a virtual events platform in-house to integrate with registration.
  • France Media built a data platform in-house
  • Henneo acquired IT consultants to develop its in-house tech agency
  • Zetland built the Good Tape transcription software in-house

Tech stack upgrade

  • William Reed installed Adobe, Piano and Abacus on all sites and is using Salesforce to track customers across multiple brands.

Download the free report “Specialist Media Innovators in Europe” for strategy details