Last night I spoke with a friend who has always been an avid magazine reader. He stated — “I don’t really read anymore. I just sort of skim.” To which I asked, “online or in print?” His answer, “both”. There is some content you skim and some you read first letter to last punctuation. But is there a change afoot?
Despite all the talk about magazines folding, people still read online and in print and will continue to do so. Both mediums have the ability to target a specificity like Snowboarding and provide general news a la CNN, but print historically engages a reader longer—though that may be changing with the younger generation. So for now, while people aren’t reading novels online (simmer down Kindle converts), and (like it or not tree huggers) people are printing out e-books and whitepapers instead of reading them online, we have both mediums to contend with.
People certainly have less time to devote to reading. With RSS readers, Meta content sites and Google we are quickly becoming a society who consumes very focused media—we are going content narrow—feeding and creating specialists. Some think we are getting stupid because of this onslaught of content, while others contend it’s a natural rewiring.
In today’s new digital landscape both consumers and businesses are reading (and publishing) for different reasons, in a completely different manner, because of the different mediums. Some are reading to be personally informed, others to be entertained and some to research/assist a purchasing decision. (When companies really nail their messaging the output is a perfect blend of all three.) But there is little doubt that we are consuming content from more sources than ever before. As a business this poses multiple challenges regarding management and operations.
—Who is going to manage this internally?
—How do you best determine what content you have internally?
—What are the best content medium(s) for you to deliver your content given your technology expertise?
—How do you determine the best content medium to deliver each individual story?
Advertising, marketing, and content marketing have merged into one comprehensive solution to help with this. Businesses cannot think advertising/marketing without thinking—what ongoing content is going to support this campaign? Using one content agency/digital agency is more affordable and has a better ROI than the siloed approach of having: an ad agency, pr agency, design agency, marketing agency and a dirth of freelance copywriters to manage. Today, medium sized organizations can have the same shine as the big boys for much less. But determining what content you have, what your story is and assessing all the new ways users consume media is priorty one.