When I was growing up in Philly, there were two local citywide papers, a bunch of regionalized/neighborhood-centric papers and local TV stations. If you wanted to get information -- AKA, consume content -- these were your main sources.
The closest thing we ever came of getting content from a brand was a TV commercial or a print ad.
Of course that was many moons ago, in a land far away.
“Marketers now produce a continual stream of content just to keep up with user demand. This requires a shift to the publishing model, which calls for new strategies, people, and processes.” That’s the lead of a 2016 Wall Street Journal piece aptly titled "Brands As Publishers." It’s aptly titled, of course, because every brand in the world today is its own publisher of content. Well, at least it should be.
Quality & Responsibility
The digital publishing industry has to excel on two fronts. Quality of content is not enough to ensure readership. Publishers also have to be responsible for the delivery and experience of the digital content they create.
And rest assured the mobile experience can no longer just be good enough. The requirements are getting more elaborate and the margins between acceptable and unusable are becoming finer.
This was the motivation behind Convergence 2019, the inaugural industry conference from Marfeel, an ad-tech platform. Held at Google’s London headquarters, the event was created to help digital publishers -- AKA, every brand -- deliver the highest technological standards and be able to devote more resources to their core business of content.
Here’s some of the highlights from the event that every publisher -- you know who you are -- should be acutely aware of as we move ahead in 2019 and beyond.
Silos are the enemy. Silos are the enemy in every organization for every brand for a multitude of reasons, and content publishing is no different. This was the clear, unmistakable message from Marfeel CEO Xavi Beumala. “Optimization doesn’t work in isolation,” he said. “Your advertising setup has to blend with your content and user experience, and your site also has to deliver this experience in a fast, pleasing manner.” The bottom line is, all features need to be aligned on a single goal for maximum impact.
What are their intentions? According to Google, “Marketers who rely only on demographics to reach consumers risk missing more than 70% of potential mobile shoppers. Why? Because demographics rarely tell the whole story. Understanding consumer intent is much more powerful.” The fact is, Google wants publishers to deliver content that satisfies the user’s intent, flawlessly, at the first time of asking.
Even as the technology changes and best practices become outdated, knowing readers’ intent behind their decision to access your website will help publishers continue to generate revenue. Moreover, Marko Zulj, senior channel partnerships manager for tech & apps for Google, believes it is vital that publishers have what he refers to as “a profound knowledge of your user profiles.”
Mobile, mobile — and just for kicks, mobile again. During the event, I hosted a roundtable discussion on what is driving audience growth and where publishers should be focusing more of their efforts. It will come as no surprise — at least, it better not — that it is ALL about mobile. Without exception, the panel agreed that marketers/publishers need to stop treating mobile as an afterthought.
Winston Churchill once said: “History will be kind to me, for I intend to write it.”
A mere 12 words, yet a very powerful and provocative thought, one that’s 100% applicable today, perhaps even more so than in Churchill’s time. The reason I say that is simple: With the digital age, everything we do and say can be documented, stored and recalled at a later time -- a time for others to judge us.
It can also travel from one end of the earth to another in a millisecond.
Perhaps I am getting too deep into my own thoughts here, but I believe brands/publishers/marketers -- ALL of us -- have an undeniable responsibility to produce and generate what we now refer to as content in the most ethical manner possible.
OK, maybe that was a tad too philosophical. Be that as it may, we publishers -- AKA every single one of us, whether you like it or not -- are responsible for what we well, publish.