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Re-thinking content for engaging audiences in a connected world

There was a time when journalists created copy, filed it and then forgot about it moving swiftly on to their next story. However the advent of the internet, and especially the rise of social media, has meant that publishers have had to look again at the workflow of their whole content team.

How this works out in practice was the topic of a fascinating talk given on day two (21 March) of DIS 2017 by Gerrit Klein, CEO, Ebner Media.

Gerrit Klein Ebner ()

Gerrit began his presentation by offering information about his company explaining that they are in B2B media and have a portfolio that includes, directories, events, content marketing and ecommerce shops. The company is active in as many as 11 different markets. Gerrit describes Ebner as a niche publisher with highly focused and specialist titles. This includes a watch magazine in his company’s portfolio (WatchTime) that has a target audience of collectors and aficionados. 

Write and market

Media operated under a “publish and forget” paradigm - content was created, distributed and forgotten. “This is not the best way to deal with a single content asset (e.g. an article),” explained Gerrit. “Many weeks could have been invested in producing the asset which is then wasted with one shot.”

That paradigm was superseded by the concept of content recycling, which means write and reuse. Now the key paradigm is write and market, or given the company’s multimedia approach, produce and market it.

“To meet this challenge we have to change workflows and editorial thinking,” said Gerrit.

To get journalist to think about their content flow Gerrit gave them a series of questions that for example included - who is content directed for, where and how will distribute this content?

After the discussion the company came up with a series of points for the journalist to consider.

1. Personas - different subsets of audience, journalists have to be clear which persona they are going to work with. They have to address just one.

2. Content goals - the content needs to achieve goals. Is it about getting reach within an audience, or lead generation or visibility or SEO. Content without a cleverly designed objective is aware of resources.

3. Target audience - look at the search habits and social platforms of your target audience - where are they, which keyword specifies the interest of the target audience?

4. Detect the power of smaller chunks of content - each piece of content should be deconstructed. Abstracts, checklists could be offered as downloads and emails etc. 

5. Use all touchpoints - the content needs to use the platform best optimised to suit the audience, for example video has the widest possible reach.

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