Thursday, 30 April 2009

My comments on a recent publishing discussion

>>> ADRIAN >>> my comments inside

Re-Purposing Content & The Chicken or the Egg

I was talking with a client yesterday about their site and trying to help them generate content, and suggested looking at a resource they already had: their quarterly magazine. Many associations produce a magazine or newsletter throughout the course of the year (whether it be annual, quarterly or monthly). These magazines are usually very polished productions, meticulously laid out, with a wealth of valuable content. The problem (if there is one) is that after they get sent to members you have no idea if they are truly getting the complete value out of the magazine.

>>> ADRIAN >>> This is pure speculation.

Due to busy schedules, a lot of your members may only read an article or two and not be getting the value out of it that you are putting into it.

>>> ADRIAN >>> That’s the same with any magazine, or newspaper or book even – and it has been that way since the dawn on publishing.

Most of you re-purpose those magazines by turning them into PDF documents and posting them for download, but that still requires the users to download them, and page through them online (or print them) - which also means that your hard work isn't being fully utilized.

>>> ADRIAN >>> Why isn’t it? What’s your point. What level of perfection do you expect?

So what we recommend is going further and truly re-purposing everything you can by using blogs or wikis! Instead of looking at the magazine as a whole item to be posted, break it up into the individual articles and post them out there for members to read as blog posts.

>>> ADRIAN >>> Brings into question the value or blogs vs. features – and our features/tutorials are too meaty for blogs.

Every one of those articles can be cut and pasted into our tools and are then ready for reader comments and ranking online. Also instead of posting them all at once, post one or two articles per week. That way each week one article is getting focus and your members just have one thing to focus their attentions on.

>>> ADRIAN >>> Or conversely, users get tired of e-mails and e-newsletters and value good old fashioned hard copy print.

If your magazine has 10 or 12've just created 3-4 months of valuable content without having to do any more work.

>>> ADRIAN >>> yes, good point, but we’d over-fragment most of our content if we did that

The only work you've got to do is to create a site level blog so you can start posting articles to it. If you've visited the website for any publication these days you'll see them doing this all the time (Entertainment Weekly for instance posts the articles out of their magazine online about 5-7 days after the print version hits the stands).

So what's the Chicken or the Egg?

In the scenario above, we're assuming that you produce the magazine and the re-purpose the articles into blog posts. could do the reverse. Have your magazine staff post articles as they come in onto the website first and start generating feedback and comments from your members on those articles.

>>> ADRIAN >>> yeah, either way works, I don’t see it as a ground breaking difference

The writers of the articles can the get some great questions/feedback from your members, and update their article for publishing in the magazine.

>>> ADRIAN >>> That’s the first good point you’ve made

The magazine becomes the OFFLINE archive of the content for those that haven't had a chance to come online to read. The "pros" of this method is that it tells your members that to get the most recent information and content to log into the website each week, and that their comments and feeback can directly affect the publication...the "con" of course is that all of the content is now online before the magazine comes the magazine doesn't have as much value as it used to. But in a world that is trying to be more "green," doing things this way my be the wave of your future.

>>> ADRIAN >>> But, it would create administrative nightmares, too much email discussion and who’s going to pay for all our time to do this.

>>> ADRIAN >>> This guy is living in his own perfect publishing paradise utopia – and is somewhat detached from reality as a result.

Friday, 10 April 2009

A blog to ISUG members to inspire....

It’s my pleasure to be able to welcome you to the new ISUG member’s blogging area with my first post to the community in my role as ISUG Editor.

It was a couple of years ago when I first started tuning into what is sometimes called the ‘blogosphere’; and at that time it was not really taken seriously as a communications channel in a professional sense. Print journalists working for so-called ‘proper’ media outlets and publishing houses dismissed blogs as puerile, unprofessional and amateurish at the time.

Times have changed.

About 18 months ago, in my role as a freelance technical journalist, I got my first chance to start blogging professionally for an IT news site that is part of CBS News in the form of CNET’s

To say that it changed my life is no understatement. I often spend my non-connected hours thinking of great angles for stories and how I will write them.

I urge you to join the blogging community and get involved. Remember, a blog gives you great freedom in terms of expressing your opinion. As a journalist, when I write a news story I have to report the facts with no opinions of my own. Any opinions I do feature must be those of other people (industry analysts for example) and must be reported as such.

A blog is different.

You can express your own opinions in your blog. You can talk about personally experienced technology problems and share your thoughts with the ISUG community.

So please join us and start to blog along with the rest of the global ISUG network. It just might change your life too!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009


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