Digital media disruptions IV - good content is not enough

Profile picture for user jreed By Jon Reed February 13, 2015
Summary:
Digital media is in a perpetual state of change these days. But which stories pass the enterprise relevance gut check?

change-same-cloud
Yes folks, it's time for another gut-check review of digital media disruptions - the enterprisey review. Rules remain simple: pick the impactful stories from Scoop.IT media collection, and give them a different look from the enterprise side. I assess these stories with the transition from marketing to media production in mind. Effort is made to minimize snark and social media memes du jour.

What Andrew Sullivan's exit says about the future of blogging
by: Ezra Klein
key excerpt: "The blogosphere lives. But Sullivan's decision to hang up his keyboard is nevertheless a marker. Sullivan was the closest we had to someone trying to run a blog with real scale. He was trying to make his blog — and its sizable audience — into a business. But blogging, for better or worse, is proving resistant to scale. And I think there are two reasons why."

enterprise relevance: Political blogger Andrew Sullivan's departure from the blogosphere, albeit for personal reasons, set off another wave of "blogging is dead" handwringing. But from an enterprisey view, the lessons are different. First, writers like Klein are correct that individual blogs as the home base for conversations are giving way to social channels.

A less obvious point is that the way content is shared means blog posts need more of a standalone quality. As writers like Ben Thompson of Stratechery pointed out in Blogging's Bright Future, there are plenty of blog-driven business models. For enterprises, individual blogs work better as part of a coherent approach to not only participating in industry conversations, but leading them by empowering smart folks to put their thoughts in shareable format. Whether that's Medium or a corporate web site is a case-by-case situation. Either way, blogs still have relevance as "social objects."


Sloppy P.R. charticles considered harmful
by: Jacob Harris
key excerpt: "No matter how well intentioned the inept investigation might be, the data story that is pushed out is inevitably divisive. Which political party is the most perverted? What cities are the most stressful to live in? What countries are the worst at sex?

enterprise relevance: Though the article doesn't quite live up to the cleverness of its title, the point is a good one: data-driven content has its limitations if your conclusion seems pre-cooked. Enterprise readers are wary of brands with agendas, and brand-gathered data is subject to extra cynicism - and four out of five dentists agree (hat tip to Harris for that one!)

The way to overcome that is to allow the data to breath, and tell a story that may even go off message a bit or conflict a bit with the corporate agenda. One thing Harris should have noted: the other danger is the urge for viral stories. Viral headlines have a way of betraying the otherwise solid data underneath them. Enterprise readers want to be entertained, but they tend to prize consistency over sensational.


Wearable World incubator acquires tech blog ReadWrite
by: Gregory Ferenstein
key excerpt: "ReadWriteWeb, as it was originally called, is a developer-focused tech blog, and has been a staple of the tech blogosphere since its launch in 2003. But parent company Say Media has run into trouble lately, recapitalizing with a $5 million investment at a $5 million pre-money valuation."

enterprise relevance: Another reminder that the pure media play (typically ad-driven) is frought with peril. ReadWriteWeb is/(was?) one of the better consumer tech outlets and now its future is uncertain. But its purchaser is notable: a wearables incubator in growth mode, which might make use of ReadWriteWeb to fuel its conference business. This purchase is not an indictment of the effectiveness of content, but it's a terrific marker for why a community built by content is a far better "front porch" than a business model unto itself.


Conde Nast Unveils Branded Content Shop Powered By Editors
by: Steven Perlberg
key excerpt: "Bucking the usual approach, Condé will have editors from its fleet of magazines work directly with marketers to produce branded content. That will likely appeal to advertisers who want to create native ads that blend in well with the rest of a publisher’s content. The move is a calculated risk that bringing business and editorial closer together won’t alienate readers."

enterprise relevance: What can we learn from the flailings of "old new media" and the blurring of the lines between business and editorial? This piece identifies the underlying risk of reader trust, but readers are not inherently opposed to the mix of business and editorial.

For enterprise content, readers are well aware that most of the content they consume is part of a for-profit business model. What they expect is transparency about that model and how they content they were reading was funded. When you publish content on your own site, that transparency is usually self-evident, but not so if paid or native spots are purchased on other sites.


9 ways the most innovative media companies are growing

key excerpt: "The observations and insights above were born from organizations unafraid to experiment, fail, learn and grow the bets validated by their internal metrics. There is undeniably something amazing that happens at the intersection of a specific audience, a well-designed distribution mechanic and great content."

enterprise relevance: This instant classic, posted by on Medium, is a breezy-yet-meaty piece on how companies are going beyond content for its own sake to fuse new, integrated business models. I guaranteed that even the most digital-savvy companies will find something on this last that challenges them or points to a stone unturned. The notion of doing niche at scale is just one of the concepts to chew on.


End note: If I had room for two more, I would have gone with Twitter CEO 'ashamed' of how company handles cyber bullying, revenue growth threatened, which serves as a reminder that brands that build communities have to confront trollish behavior or they will find their communities scorned (not easy when free/open conversations must also be supported). Then there is the sneaky potential of Google's new deal with Twitter, which has plenty of implications for brands, including the permanence of tweets in Google and the impact of this deal on search and "real-time marketing."

These pieces were picked from my curated scoop.it channel, enterprise media disruptions. Thanks to Dennis Howlett and Derek du Preez for referring two of the key articles in this collection.

Image credit: Change, Same Green Road Sign Over Clouds © Andy Dean - Fotolia.com

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