Publishers, editors and journalists are faced with growing demands every day. In order to remain competitive, information needs to be spread faster via new channels. Consumer behavior, particularly that of young readers, has changed completely. What do you need to keep in mind if you want to meet the continuously growing demands of the industry?
… and break new ground! What are the best ways to reach your readers? How do you attract new readers? You could carry out complex market research and reader surveys to find this out. However, it can sometimes be easier and more efficient to experiment a little bit. Why don’t you simply start the new reach portal or try out one of the social media channels like Snapchat?
Of course, this is often easier said than done. For many newsrooms, new and additional workflows mean considerably higher costs. What can help here is a slim, flexible infrastructure that allows new products to be developed quickly and with little effort.
The decisive indicator here is “time to market”: The time needed from developing a product to its introduction on the market needs to be as short as possible.
Few publishers nowadays can afford to develop projects over many months, with the launch of the product preceded by lengthy specification phases.
Costs often nip new ideas in the bud or mean that the project will become unprofitable in the medium term.
Yet newsrooms will continue to feel growing pressure to feed new channels with content. Do you know which channels you want to supply with content in the future? What comes after Snapchat, WhatsApp, Pinterest & Co.?
It is impossible to predict today what your target group’s channel of choice will be in a few years’ time. You hardly reach teenagers via Facebook nowadays, and many younger users use Snapchat instead of Instagram now. Consumer habits are changing rapidly. To be able to keep up, flexibility and rapid actions are needed here.
Creating a small project team to experiment with new products, set aside from day-to-day business, can be a promising start. You should be guided by agile procedures. You will achieve your goal more quickly if you follow the lean startup method rather than the waterfall model. And you shouldn’t necessarily try to solve a question 100 percent. Try out a spike solution for a minimum viable product (MVP) that can already be useful and tested on the market. To quote Facebook’s CEO Sheryl Sandberg: “Done is better than perfect.”
Build – Measure – Learn: In this iterative cycle, your new products evolve, user reactions are measured and adjustments are made if necessary.
No publisher works like another. Do creative elements play a central role in your monthly magazine and are you looking for speed on your news website? Is your content merely generated by reporters while it is curated and edited for the different channels at the desk? The end result is either a website or a printed newspaper. The roads leading there are often different for each product.
Do not accept any restrictions in your editorial workflow.
Layout before content? Content before layout? It’s best to be able to do both!
Game reports and concert reviews are most relevant when they reach the reader without delay. For the editors, this means that they have to write their article at the scene as well as provide photos and videos.
Besides obsolete editorial workflows, the existing system architecture often stands in the way of this. Do you know how often new ideas are not implemented simply because they cannot be realized with the software solutions used? Systems that a few years ago fulfilled every requirement of the newsroom may well be out of date today. The focus has long shifted from print to other channels.
Many local publishers’ strength is their proximity to their readers. Hyperlocal content is collected on the go and is then made available to the central news desk. Now it is important to edit the content quickly for the different channels and to get it out there.
To be able to do this, content needs to be media-neutral.
Once data has been entered in a structured way, it has to be possible to use it multiple times in different formats.
This is the only way to strike a balance among the different media channels.
It goes without saying that you need to be able to enhance content for each channel individually. This could be the photo gallery for a newsreader app or a video for a website. If you are lucky enough to have an editorial system supporting this, then you can say: “Create once, publish everywhere”.
Integration is key
Copy and paste from print to website? I still see this far too often. All content should be available at the newsdesk without breaks in the system. Here, a digital asset management system (DAM) that is integrated into all channels is a good option for managing your digital content.
Standardized interfaces are also helpful, be it for importing bulletins from agencies, RSS feeds and e-mails, or for seamlessly integrating the various output channels – such as InDesign for print, Drupal or WordPress for websites and Facebook, Twitter or WhatsApp for the social media. The key to success: open interfaces and existing integration in different channels. This is efficient and saves resources.
Flexibility, curiosity and networking among the various media channels are the most sought-after elements in an efficient newsroom. New media channels are becoming increasingly relevant to their readers at a growing speed. You have to react quickly to media trends and developments – for example in the social media – if you want to stay in touch with the times.
To master these challenges with existing resources, you will need suitable tools: a flexible content management system that collects media-neutral content and a digital asset management system are mandatory in order to work efficiently.
Dr Hauke Berndt started his professional career in 2002 as a customer consultant at ppi Media. After three years of working as an account manager for many customers both in Germany and abroad, he moved to the sales department in 2008, which he has been in charge of since 2012. On July 1, 2016, Hauke Berndt joined the management of ppi Media, where he is responsible for customer projects, sales and marketing.