Monday, May 21, 2007

Workshop Recap: Place content in various media platforms

The day of relying solely on print publications for revenue and readers is gone. Surveys show nearly half of the people who read newspapers online do not read the print editions, said Tom Eblen, a newspaper consultant and retired University of Kansas professor. Like the rest of the journalism industry, business-to-business publishing companies need to utilize various forms of media, not just print.

Eblen gave the presentation “The Straight Scoop: Radical Changes in Communications and How to Adapt to Continue to Serve our Readers” at the Spring Writing and Editing Workshop organized by the Kansas City chapter of the American Society of Business Publication Editors. The May 15 event was held at the Brookridge Country Club, Overland Park, Kan.

Eblen gave two examples outside of business-to-business publishing as ways to use media platforms successfully.

ESPN’s content lives on all media platforms, Eblen said. The company’s product can be found anywhere, from video games to mobile phones to websites. Walt Disney, ESPN’s parent company, now wants all of its companies to follow ESPN’s example, he said.

Closer to Kansas City, Eblen pointed to the success of The World Company in Lawrence, Kan. The company places stories in its print publications (the most well-known being the Lawrence Journal-World), online and on TV (the company owns Channel 6, a Lawrence TV station). The media outlets often cross promote each other.

Business-to-business publications may have an advantage over other media outlets, such as daily newspapers, Eblen said. A B-to-B publication wants to reach a segmented, specialized audience. Across all media platforms, a B-to-B publication may have a defined marketplace, as opposed to an undifferentiated marketplace.

When deciding how much to invest in online content, publications should know the average age of their readers. People under 30 tend to turn to online content exclusively for news, he said. People in their 50s are more likely to read newspapers.

Websites should be simple to use. No task should require 10 clicks of a computer mouse. Magazine content from at least 10 years back should be on website archives. Every publication should have its own website and lead in its category.

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