Let’s recap my first post on this topic: What is content? Today it is defined as text, graphics, audio, video, data or any combination of these. Why is content planning important? Content planning addresses the needs and interests of your audience through key themes and topics. Planning also defines the “lens” that your brand brings to content. What is a key component of content planning? A commitment to audience research is a must when creating a content plan.
Now, let’s note trends that may impact your publishing program and content planning:
• Expansion of multimedia content: marrying traditional print content with video, audio and graphics online
Implication: Requires additional/different skills than those possessed by “traditional journalists.”
• Widespread adoption of user-generated content (forums, blogs, online communities)
Implication: Requires a certain loss of control by editors accustomed to being gatekeepers.
• Shift to constantly updated content from traditional defined publication cycle
Implication: Places heavier demands on staff and requires change in mindset.
• Use of third-party content to supplement content generated in-house.
Implication: Requires establishing criteria and quality standards for third-party content.
• Pooling of print and online resources under a “chief content officer”
Implication: Requires separating “high-value activities” from “commodity-style activities” in order to reduce redundancies and focus on producing content. Within this structure, editors have mutual accountability to each other. There are many benefits from the collaborative environment fostered by talented managers free to allocate staff and resources.
As noted in Folio: magazine, Publishers as diverse as b-to-b publisher Source Media and enthusiast publisher F+W (both regrouped their operating structures around audience communities rather than media channels), Nielsen Business Media (combined content development and distribution for Adweek, Brandweek, and Mediaweek) and Time Inc (reorganized content around three business units: news, lifestyle & style and entertainment) are reorganizing how they create content. They are not cost-cutting moves, but rather an attempt to prepare the companies for the new multimedia workflow and revenue opportunity.”
Lou Ann Sabatier, www.sabatierconsulting.com
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