The Digital Vibes


Online publishing and blogging
March 27, 2009, 1:11 am
Filed under: Blogs, Online publishing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , ,

The same, but not quite? Is blogging a subset of online publishing? Or should online publishing follow the concept of blogging as a best practice? We all have our takes on this, but March has given me this little conundrum to ponder on.

Three weeks ago, I attended Blogout! 2009 organised by The Digital Movement. You can check out Claudia‘s post-event write-up on TDM. The vibe was casual and fun. The event was organised and attended by some of the most dedicated enthusiasts in the local blogosphere and social media scene. What was truly admirable was how well the bottom-up grassroots event was organised, and how passion shone through in every aspect of the event. Kudos to the team behind it!

The event covered the following topics (I shamelessly culled from the TDM post – description and links – but check them out!):

The best part about Blogout!… I got the opportunity to meet – a blogger who blogs about a traditional form of pottery fired in dragon kilns, and a blogger who blogs about Cosplay and literary arts. Imagine that!

And now my experience at Blogout is juxtaposed against a three-day seminar led by US-based Mequoda Group in Singapore, that I am currently attending. Organised by the Magazine Publishers’ Association, this online publishing and marketing  workshop covers information on how to attract, convert, engage and monetize online traffic to create a more robust and profitable web presence.

Being a professional seminar, the vibes were at the other end of the spectrum from what I felt at Blogout. Yet the deep dive into the strategies so well explained by Don Nicholas, really expounded the methodology behind successful online publishing.

My 3 key takeaways, among many other things, by the end of Day 2 are:

  • Keywords
  • Driving traffic to your site
  • End users are loyal, advertisers are fickle

The topics of driving traffic and monetising by selling to your end users were addressed at Blogout, but explained in great detail at the online publishing seminar. Yet the subject of keywords is something I have never heard being addressed by a blogger, but heavily emphasized at the seminar. Keywords… something for bloggers to think about.

All in all, two very different events, yet equally insightful for me. An eventful March with lots to think about.

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Changing face of journalism and PR
October 6, 2008, 12:21 pm
Filed under: Online publishing, Social Media | Tags: , , ,

There’s no doubt that PR and journalism are linked, therefore any changes in the media landscape would affect the PR practice also.

Mequoda recently had a post on how to hire a kickass online editor… good insights into a different pool of editors that PR folks will soon have to deal with:

9 personality traits of the perfect Online Managing Editor that can write great content, sell your products, and create buzz about your brand (yes, it’s only one job)

Ten years ago, marketers were responsible for positioning products to sell, while editors were focused on producing great content. Online, the two are one in the same. You can’t be a profitable online business if no one finds your content or is enticed to buy your products. This is why we say that every editor must also be a marketer.

But there are plenty of other traits that make up an Online Managing Editor superstar. Besides the classic skills like their attention to detail, strong grammar, project management and creativity, there are less obvious personality traits you need to think about.

First let’s talk about the personalities that don’t fit the kick-ass Online Managing Editor description:

The “Print Guy/Girl”: A strong print portfolio doesn’t transfer online as easily as you might think. Print editors don’t need to think about SEO or selling anything. Your Online Managing Editor needs to write every article with both of these things in mind.

The Casual 9-5er: In online publishing, nothing is 9-5 anymore. Business hours don’t close, just like your website doesn’t close. When sudden news arrives that is detrimental to your audience, you need someone who not only is available, but also is willing to go the extra mile in order to post the content and satisfy your audience.

The Ego-Centric Journalist: A journalist over-confident in his work is less likely to adapt to your style guide. Just the same, when your style guide changes or your company starts moving forward in new directions, your Online Managing Editor should embrace it, not resent it.

The Disciplinarian: Someone who reminds you of what their job entails and what they “won’t do” is not a superstar of anything. Online publishing is an ever-changing platform. Someone who joins your team in the fall, will likely be doing something slightly different by the springtime or summer. Adaptability to change is key.

On the other hand, here are the most desirable traits you will find in a kick-ass Online Managing Editor :

The Casual Marketer: Some editors just have marketing blood in them, and some need to be trained. Either way, an Online Managing Editor with copywriting experience or at least a background in information marketing will understand the relevance between great content and revenue potential.

The Go-Getter: Your Online Managing Editor should enthusiastically reach out to other Online Managing Editors and be able to find mutually beneficial relationships. Exchanging promotions, links and other trade-offs will expand your reach and build your audience. Your Online Managing Editor should understand that audience development is part of their job.

The People Person: Your Online Managing Editor is the voice of your articles and blogs and will be the personality of your brand. A strong desire to engage, both online and off, with your readers is a benefit that your audience will see right away.

The Sales-Driven Writer: This might depend on your compensation package, but an Online Managing Editor that is driven by sales is more likely to “write to sell”. A Online Managing Editor that will not accept bonuses dependent on how much they sell is not confident in their ability to do it.

The Social Media Junkie: The more in touch with social media your Online Managing Editor is, the more likely that folks in that space will trust their content, thus the more likely they will be to link to it and recommend it to others.

Question here. Larry Weber described the future of the marketing communications department in his book Marketing to the Social Web, with roles defined by paid and unpaid media. If PR has traditionally influenced unpaid media as a credible messenger to the masses, how then should PR deal with the marketing and sales-driven online editors that publishers should now be hiring?



SNAG Mag
August 26, 2008, 12:33 am
Filed under: Online publishing, Social Media | Tags: , ,

Now why didn’t I think of that?! There’s a new magazine in town and I think it’s a great idea! Husbands & Dads is a prosaic title for precisely husbands and dads and marks a radical departure from the likes of Maxim, FHM and GQ.

This definitely gets every wife and mother’s support, but how well will men take to it? If it’s a hit, you can bet that a seismic shift in attitudes towards gender roles has already taken place.



User-generated online news stand
July 21, 2008, 4:13 pm
Filed under: Online publishing, Web apps | Tags: , ,

There’s a new and interesting user-generated magazine archive site called Mygazines, where you can “browse, share, archive and customize unlimited magazine articles uploaded by you, the Mygazines community”.  

I’m not sure how many copyright infringements this Napster-like portal has committed, nor how many loafer-clad toes of old-world publishing executives this site has stepped on, but the fact that one can browse and read magazines for free, surely appeals to many.

The magazines open in an e-book format, which means you can’t skip the ads, and it is better suited for pages with lots of pictures (ditto fashion magazines) as it is rather tedious to read wordy articles this way. But then again it’s free, so I’m not complaining too much.

I don’t really see much social networking happening on the site yet, but I think it’s a matter of time and traffic.

The biggest question for Mygazines I suspect, is how to handle the backlash from the publishing industry? I wonder if publishers have learnt from their counterparts in the music industry, that going to court to fight file swopping will simply win the battle but lose the war, since the sands of the industry landscape have already shifted.

Again, only time and traffic will tell.



Repurposing content online
July 1, 2008, 11:12 pm
Filed under: Online publishing | Tags: , , , ,

I’ve been receiving daily posts from Mequoda with strategies for publishers to bring and optimize their content online and on other platforms, thanks to a tip-off from my partner who’s been following Mequoda for some time.

Mequoda recently wrote a post providing a case study of how Real Simple magazine is repurposing content to extend its reach and create ubiquity in its readers’ lives. This is a tested-and-proven strategy already adopted by Oprah to anchor her as a goddess in many facets of a woman’s life – from daily TV ritual, recipe search on her website, to reading O magazine before bedtime.

I’ve extracted some excerpts to spark off ideas for your content:

Real Simple repurposes their magazine content online by featuring recipes, as well as beauty, life, organizing and food tips via articles and videos.

Website content is repurposed in theirsix editorial-based email newsletters.

A weekly half-hour show, called Real Simple TV, launched on PBS in 2006. Since then, they have added video to their website which features cooking classes, beauty tips and more that starts from their magazine and is repurposed into their television show.

The content from their magazine inspires numerous Real Simple branded books. Real Simple has published six books to date: Real Simple: The Organized Home, Real Simple Cleaning, Real Simple Solutions, Meals Made Easy, Real Simple Weddings, and Real Simple Celebrations.

But repurposing content doesn’t stop at products. Real Simple also hosts different entertainment and cooking events, such as the Real Simple Entertain NY event. Used to satisfy advertiser requests to touch the consumer in person, Real Simple also sponsors a number of events each year. “Problem Detector” seeks women’s opinions on their most frequent and bothersome problems and informs the magazine’s editorial.

Real Simple has also branched out into radio. They have a relationship with XM media on its Take 5 women’s channel that includes a variety of one-minute Real Simple Solutions segments that run 10-12 times a day.

Merchandise is huge for Real Simple. Their readers and articles have inspired dozens of branded home office and desk accessory products are sold primarily through Target stores; cleaning products are sold at smaller chains. In the first year, more than a million units were sold.

RealSimple.com has seen a 75% growth in traffic over last year, resulting in more than 760,000 unique visitors a month with an average of over 5.5 million page views (May 2008, according to Compete.com). Content from Real Simple magazine is repurposed for free all over their website, with recipes, stories or videos and then used to sell subscriptions, books and back issues through email newsletters and by driving traffic from their other media outlets. Every publisher should be giving away lots of free content online to increase traffic and sell more subscriptions, products and services.

To read the full post, visit: http://daily.mequoda.com/i//online-publishing-strategy/how-real-simple-publisher-repurposing-magazine-content_724-1.html