Copy & Paste vs Customization of Content – Old Rules vs New Rules For Media, Part 3

This is the third in a series of posts contrasting the ‘old’ rules of the media and the ‘new’ rules that are necessary for success in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape.

Old Rule #3: The Web Is Just Another Distribution Channel For Traditional Media’s Content

There are many traditonal media types who, believe it or not, still see the web as a place for either marketing or just dumping existing content ‘as is’ in the hopes of making a few bucks.

It is precisely because the web is so flexible that it seems obvious to simply put up your content there, exactly as it was produced for a traditional medium.  For example, you’d never run a radio program on television because it’s only audio, but you can put up audio programming on the web and it’s just fine.  You can’t put a TV show in a newspaper, but you can just put an entire TV show on the web, as is.

It is this ease of ‘copying and pasting’ content on the web that often leads to a lack of thinking about serving the unique needs of the audience online.

New Rule #3: Customize The Content For The Medium

Again, it may be easy to say, “why bother customizing the content? I can just repurpose my existing content because the web can serve up audio, video, photography, text, and pretty much everything else I can think of.”  However, put on your ‘audience hat’ and think hard about how you use different types of content on the internet in VERY different ways than you use traditional media.

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Lock It Up In A Walled Garden VS. Set Your Content Free! – Old Rules VS New Rules For Media Part 2

This is the second in a series of posts contrasting the ‘old’ rules of the media and the ‘new’ rules that are necessary for success in today’s rapidly changing digital landscape.

Old Rule #2: Viva La ‘Walled Garden’ – You Must Use The Content From Media Companies In The Way THEY Want You To Use It

Traditional broadcasters pay for their content and they want you to experience that programming in the way that makes them the most money back on their investment. Some of the most profitable ways to consume content may not be the most convenient for audiences, but old media doesn’t care – they own it and they will try to force you to do what is convenient for THEM. Because they can. Or least, they COULD.

New Rule #2: Set Your Content Free – Don’t Force Audiences To Come To You.  Go To Where It’s Convenient For THEM.

Most traditional companies want to keep all their content within their own garden walls so they can control it, measure it, and monetize it. But that doesn’t work anymore (unless you’re the 800 lb gorilla in your content niche).

Why?

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Old Rules vs. New Rules For Media – A New Blog Series About The Future Of Media

Old RadioWith apologies to Bill Maher, I’ve tried to re-arrange the presentation I did at the Northern Voice conference in Vancouver and the Multimedia Meets Radio conference in Prague about ‘The Future of Radio’ into a series of coherent blog posts.

Instead of creating a single, giant post, I’ve tried to break up the salient points of the presentation into individual observations that I’m arranging as ‘Old Rules vs. New Rules’.

The goal of the series is to show how traditional media has worked and why they’ve made the strategic decisions they have, and then show how almost the EXACT opposite of those decisions are the NEW rules for success.

In the end, I hope to provide some clarity about why traditional media companies are struggling and where to look for solutions to their current problems.
So without further ado, here’s installment #1…

Old Rule #1: Shut Up And Watch / Listen

In the past, the only way to consume content was to tune into a live radio or TV station’s programming.  Old media pushed it out as a broadcast, and you tuned in.  If you missed it, too bad.  Old media controlled the how, when, and where of your experience. It was a one-way, linear push of content and information.

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The Changing Face Of Conferences – Traditional Media vs Social Media

I recently had the opportunity to speak about the future of radio at both the Northern Voice digital media conference in Vancouver and the Multimedia Meets Radio conference for European Public Broadcasters in Prague. In both cases, I came away learning a lot from the other presentations, but the lasting impact will be the realization that it’s the attendees, more than the speakers, that are transforming the definition of these gatherings by making them more interactive, social, and meaningful experiences.

‘OLD’ CONFERENCES

Every year, I go to a few conferences that are pretty much exclusively targeted at ‘traditional media’ – people who work for broadcasting companies. Here’s what happens at a typical one:

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15 Top Tips & Professional Secrets For How To Make Better Videos

As someone who’s spent many years working in television, I usually get requests for advice on how to make videos look better at this time of the year.  A lot of people received new video cameras over the holidays, they’ve tried them out, and don’t understand why their movies look pretty… Ed Wood-ish. I probably should have posted this BEFORE Christmas, but better late than never…

So here is a list of my personal best practices and tips:

  1. Think about your end product before you start shooting. Is this going to be a 2 minute video?  Is it going to be a 2 hour opus?  Is it just for your family to watch or is it going up on YouTube for the whole world to check out?   Is it a montage of your kids opening Christmas presents or is it a documentary about holiday traditions?  Is it supposed to be funny, informative, sweet, sad, or dramatic?  How much context does your audience need to understand it?  Is your audience younger or older?
    If you know the answers to these questions, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and effort. You’ll also have taken your first step to a focused video shoot, which is a must-have ingredient in a great final product.
    Continue reading “15 Top Tips & Professional Secrets For How To Make Better Videos”

10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media

It seems like Twitter is finally starting to penetrate the mainstream media. CBC recently invited some experts in social media in to share their ideas about how a traditional media company might use tools like Flickr, YouTube, Facebook… and Twitter. While I wasn’t there, it sounds like it was a big success and got people excited to dig in and use these new tools as part of their show programming.

Twitter even seems to be replacing blogs as the ‘cool’ go-to news source for ‘what’s happening on the web’. However, many mainstream media companies are still clearly struggling with what Twitter is and how to best use it.  So I’ve put together my personal…

10 Twitter Tips For Traditional Media (try and say THAT 10 times quickly…)

1. Twitter is NOT an RSS feed.

I know that the New York Times, The Globe and Mail, CBC, and others are using Twitter as a news feed, but I don’t personally subscribe to any of them. I can get that EXACT same information from an RSS feed (which I do…) and I don’t personally like my Twitter feed clogged up with every news item under the sun.

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An Argument For Test-Driving: The Best Promotional Tool Is Your Best Content

As I’ve written about before, traditional media is pretty blatant with a lot of their web material.  They want you to watch TV, listen to Radio, or subscribe to Magazines.

So here’s my ideal solution to achieve the goal of getting more people to leave the web and go to a traditional platform…

Give them the content on the web for free.

Using your top content as a hook is the best way to increase the likelihood of a user trying out the traditional media property.  For old-media types, that’s a pretty insane and counter-intuitive idea.  (And that’s probably why not enough media outlets are doing it.)

The prevailing mindset is that if you let people experience the content for free, why would they go to TV, Radio, etc afterwards?  Answer: if you don’t give them a  test drive, they’ll never buy the car.

Audiences have an unbelievable amount of choice and power and everyone is competing for their precious time and attention.  So what’s going to win you new converts?  Ads or amazing content?  You need to give it your best shot.

Here’s how I see the decision tree for a brand new audience member:

OPTION 1

-I come to your site
-I see a promo for a show that grabs my interest
-I click on it and get a generic show description, a 30 second trailer, and information that the show is on TV tonight at 9pm.
-I might make a mental note to watch it tonight, BUT, my guess is that younger audiences especially will just move on to somewhere else on the web where they can consume content.
-Or they’ll search for your show on YouTube or BitTorrent and watch it where you can’t track them or make any money.  They’re GONE.  And they’re not coming back. 
-They came for a test drive, but you wouldn’t give them the keys, so they went to another dealer.

OPTION 2

-I come to your site
-I see a promo for a show that grabs my interest
-I click on it and start watching / listening / reading instantly
-If I like it, I will find out more about the show and likely make an effort to watch / listen / read again. 
-The test drive leads to increased likelihood of a ‘buy.’

Don’t get me wrong – not all of them will convert back to traditional media.  Many of them may greatly prefer your online offering.  And you may not make as much money off of them. But some WILL follow you to traditional media.  And they probably would never have found your traditional platform without the free web content.

There are some serious perks to this strategy:  you’re thinking multi-platform distribution, you’re bringing in new audiences that have never sampled your ‘traditional’ content, you’re setting yourself up for the future, and you’re increasing the odds that new people will end up on your traditional platform.

The win for traditional media is creating a win for audiences on the web.

So don’t use your promotional space to sell the air date and air time on the traditional platform.  If your content is so amazing, let the show sell itself. Make me care.  Make me click. Get me hooked on your program.  Make me want MORE.

And THEN, maybe I will also click on the TV or the Radio.

Have you ever done a test-drive on the web that’s led you to ‘traditional media’ to get more?

RELAUNCH! A New stevepratt.com

I can no longer put off taking my own advice.

For the last several years, I’ve been advising a LOT of people – from musicians to book authors, from people wanting to get into the media to people wanting to make a living with an odd passion – to start using a blog (and other web tools like twitter, youtube, flickr, etc) to create a professional identity for themselves in the space they want to be in.

And all the while, I’ve been using my own website as a totally personal blog, with an intended audience of only friends and family who would be interested in the exploits of my children and pictures of my dog flying through the air at the beach.

No more!  On the new site, kids, dogs, and sunsets head to the dumpster.

This marks the point where I begin using this space to talk more about my professional passions, the future of:

  • media
  • music
  • creativity
  • content creation
  • reaching audiences
  • creating community

For those who are still interested in the adventures of family and pet, the archives and continuing stories will now be at steveprattfamily.com.