I was surfing the web today trying to find information on the municipal elections that are coming up in my local area and I landed at www.durhamregion.com. I came across a story written by a Jillian Follert ‘The Facebook effect: how is social media impacting Durham elections’ and 'Lights, Camera, Action: Oshawa candidates take message to the screen'.
There are so many great stories and conversations on the web today but what baffles me is that once I finished reading the column I had to login to rate/comment on what I had just read. Ok fine, most big online newspapers make you login, but what really surprised me was that I couldn’t share the article. I scoured the page looking for any mechanism to share it on my Facebook wall or tweet it.
“Intuition is the supra-logic that cuts out all the routine processes of thought and leaps straight from the problem to the answer.” — Robert Graves
My immediate thought was technology has changed the news, or more to the point how news is distributed on the internet, yet durhamregion.com seems to be so late to adopt or implement it properly.
I visited other sites (East of the City and Durham Parent) owned by the same company and found none offered any sort of sharing to either Facebook or Twitter. East of the City for example is touted as Durham Regions premier lifestyle publication. So why have publications like these forgotten the reader?
Since my last post, sites like Durham Parent have undergone tummy tucks to fixed, tightened, flattened and reshaped their online presence. If you are a first time reader or an avid follower you might be in awe of their complex, full featured CMS site. Unfortunately all of Durham Parents improvement seem to take place below the belt. Recent changes to the web portal look as though they’ve gone a little overboard and in my opinion it looks as sterilized as a baby’s bottle.
In Jillian Follert's article she even explains the fundamental purpose of social media:
“Social media is Internet-based platforms that allow people to contact large numbers of other people in quick fashion. These include Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, blogs and podcasts.” – Jillian Follert
Although traditional publishing companies have become late adopter’s of social media. These locally produced publications have turned to social media by creating their own personal Like/Fan/Twitter accounts. It seems Print Editor’s have finally started experimenting with different touchpoints. But, they still don’t get it. And YES, I could spout off a long list of things these media companies need to start doing. From the outside they’re starting to look a little ridiculous to other media savvy organizations.
WEB 1.0 – Publishing pre-formatted pages through a CMS
WEB 1.5 – add Relationships, Taxonomy and Metadata
WEB 2.0 – add Audience Data and Mobile Strategy
Here’s the trick: The trick is applying social intelligence to allow brands such as theirs to mine data streams (threads) from there friends and followers. Enabling publications and online publications to be at the centre of content discovery by allowing them to leverage information while keeping the conversation relevant to their audience.
This process is referred to as Content Velocity (Sales, Content, Audience Development).
Insight: How does the average business owner take advantage of this insight? Well it can appear a little daunting at first. It starts with a plan and setting some goals. It may take time to develop a following, but interaction is the key. So start small, drive the audience back to your content and share using social affinity icons (Facebook Share for instance).
Take a few tips from the pro’s: Brands need to know who their audiences are and who has the most social resonance (like we can see online) with specific content. Finding their advocates by determining what content best matches their brands audience can be hard. Sure you can poll them, ask them to supply content ideas, offer prizes and giveaways to develop traffic or by finding brand ambassadors outside your organization to do the work for you -There are so many online resources.
Obviously social media is a hot topic right now, but thats only one facet of a businesses market reach. Social media allows talent prospecting like on Linkedin, product placement and feedback like Facebook and Twitter, or sharing a unique video message on YouTube.
Sure Newspapers’ and Magazines’ are trying to exploit trends, they’re trying to capitalize on online technologies and inspire social commentary. To what end? Most publications haven’t figured that out yet so they do what comes naturally - They just keep publishing.
I love to write for instance about BIG local media and their publications. It’s about content consumption. But, It has been brought to my attention that my choice of narrative style might actually be taking away from the salient points I am trying to make. Seems as though my criticisms stand out more than my solutions. I guess like most of you I have become a member of their self-disparaging reader base.
Print might not be dead, but the producer’s of print have to develop content in a way that will increase its effectiveness to the ordinary online user. With a web first component, editorial enhancements, collaboration based and focusing on engagement – feedback plus sharing equals ROI.