Tag: media companies
Chris Anderson recently talked about how a passionate amateur almost always beats a bored professional:
They choose to spend their time on what they do, and they go exactly where their passions, interests, knowledge and personality takes them–no further. If they lose interest they move on and are replaced by someone bursting with fresh energy. Self-selection ensures engagement.
When I attended BlogHer over the summer, I discovered some pretty awesome amateur writers in the form of bloggers. They write on topics ranging from health to food to politics to parenting, and sometimes go on an entertaining rant or two. And, I am embarrassed to admit that prior to discovering the large world of bloggers, my main online sources were limited mostly to CNN for news, AOL for celeb gossip & Epicurious for recipes. But, I am proud to say that I am not likely to ever go back.
So, yes, I agree with Chris. Passion is the secret ingredient that makes online content great, it’s the je ne sais quoi that ropes in the reader & commits him or her for life. A few examples: Vegan Yum Yum’ recent post on food photography for bloggers, The Simple Dollar’s post about what he learned as a first time home buyer and ten simple ways to live a less stressful life from zenhabits.
But, don’t just take it from me. Every media company under the sun is working to harness the passion of bloggers. Real Simple has put their Simply Stated blogs front and center, CNN is looking to the public to write the news through iReport, Martha Stewart has her own set of blogs in addition to a circle of featured bloggers who are part of her ad network, and even USA Today has members of its staff writing content in the form of blogs.
So, does the increasingly blurry line between media conglomerates & independent bloggers really benefit the reader? The answer is yes, in the sense that media companies are trying new ways to engage with their readers. And a double yes, in the sense that amateurs are now being legitimized by media companies and sponsors alike, and in turn discovered by more and more committed readers like me.
Interesting post from Brad Stone of the New York Times about traditional retailers and media companies embracing distribution of their content via open APIs (application programming interface). As he says:
…on a mass scale – with every company on the Web now rushing to unlock their content and make an A.P.I. available – even niche sites are set to become professional and satisfyingly comprehensive.
As the Web continues its exponential growth and fragmentation, it makes perfect sense for retailers and media companies to make their content (with brand attribution) broadly available. More exposure equals more opportunity to increase product sales and ad revenue.
We also see significant opportunity for content providers to do more than simply create APIs of their existing content – or as Jeff Jarvis describes it – “to add value atop the link layer”. For example, re-imagining and extending content within recipes and restaurant reviews by making it fast and easy for the reader to create shopping lists and reservations.
Interested in learning more? Contact me (jjaner at springpartners dot com)
What’s also interesting – as Silicon Alley points out – is that Gannett is leveraging its cross-channel media ownership, including television web properties in Cleveland and Denver, to promote the network.
Above and beyond capitalizing on the growth and popularity of social media, it’s good to see Gannett trying new approaches to reversing the decline in media company readership and ad revenues. As we mentioned in a previous post, launching deeply interactive properties like MomsLikeMe.com decentralizes and extends distribution of Gannett’s core assets and promotes new forms of engagement with their brand.
It’s not a news flash…Pew and others have documented the decline in newspaper readership and advertising revenues have continued to erode for awhile now.
There are some obvious reasons for this decline:
- Over the past ten+ years, an entire generation has grown up online; actively using the Web to create, consume and share information and advice. Many 25- 35 year olds don’t read a printed newspaper; and their online media consumption is not bound by loyalty (or subscription) to any one brand.
- At the same time, the advent of easy-to-use blog software has democratized content creation and exponentially expanded the universe of information and advice. Technorati is currently tracking over 70 million blogs, with 120,000 blogs being created (worldwide) every day. As David Sifry, Technorati’s CEO, notes: “blogs continue to become more and more viable news and information outlets”
- The change in media consumption habits has also been dramatically impacted by the explosive growth of social networks, with millions of users relying on referrals for information and advice from their circle of friends and the wisdom of the crowds from sites like Digg and Reddit.
However, there are real opportunities for media companies to leverage their core assets and reverse the decline:
- Decentralize distribution. Go to where the readers are with content feeds and applications that carry brand attribution and link-backs.
- Re-imagine content in new ways. Not just adding links to share content, but provide information and advice in ways that can be directly applied in the context of someone trying to get something done.
- Incorporate interactivity. Interacting with information and advice is the hallmark of Web 2.0 and the essence of social media. Explore new ways to transform static content to increase brand engagement.
Most of us actively use the Internet (along with newspapers and magazines) to find advice that informs our day-to-day activities and more significant life events. Whether it’s things to do, places to go or some help with a home remodeling project, we often rely on the media companies whose brands we’ve come to trust. And for good reason, as they have lots of very useful information and advice.
For example, I regularly go to Boston.com for things to do tonight – not only for listings, but also advice on things I can do for under $25. Next month’s vacation requires brainstorming about where to go, so I’ll see what USA TODAY suggests; and once I’ve settled on a destination, I want reviews and advice. And, HGTV.com is my first stop for advice about the kitchen remodeling project I’m about to tackle.
While finding timely and relevant advice from my trusted media companies is relatively easy – sharing it in an effective and consolidated manner with my friends and family is not so simple. I find myself cutting and pasting links into an email, calling a friend to tell them to check out a particular item or – worse yet – tearing articles out of magazines and bringing home a mass of paper to share with my wife. All of which makes collaboration, decision-making and taking action less efficient.
How do you share the advice that you find from your trusted media brands?