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New Innovation Report: Why you need to think about 'precision content'

John Wilpers ()

Over the last several years, publishers have often grasped almost desperately at slogan strategies – “digital first!”, “responsive design!”, “mobile first!”, to name but a few.

“Digital First” sounded good, but amounted to not much more than putting content online before it goes into print. Then came “responsive design’, which made sites look good on mobile, but again did not ensure meeting the specific needs of mobile consumers. 

This is John Wilpers, author of the annual FIPP/IMC Innovation in Media World Report and senior director/USA at Innovation Media Consulting, writing in a chapter of the upcoming 2017/18-report. 

The report will be launched – as has become custom – at the 10th Digital Innovators’ Summit (DIS) from 19-21 March in Berlin, Germany, where John will also speak. You can sign up for DIS 2017 here, and pre-order your copy of the 2017/18 Innovation Report (digital and/or print) here (more info about prices below).

Like other slogans, “mobile first” was also fraudulent, writes John. It “simply put, content ultimately destined for the desktop on mobiles first. The content wasn’t specifically designed or created for the mobile platform or mobile-need moment.”

Innovation 2017 spread ()

Instead, he says, “we should start talking about content that is appropriate for and relevant to the consumer’s needs at the moment, as well as the format (video, photo, text, etc.) and platform (mobile, desktop, wearable, print, etc.) that work in the context of the particular ‘moment’ or ‘use case’. And if we really want to label it, let’s start calling it ‘Precision Content’.”

“Precision content” would solve the biggest two content questions:

1. What content do your readers want at what moment on what device and in what form?

2. How do we best tell the story to them (irrespective of, but with very definite consideration to different devices)?

“In working with publishing companies around the world, we (Innovation Media Consulting) see most editors planning content without considering the very visible behaviour of their readers. Too few editors know the kinds of content, the hour of the day, and the platform where their readers are consuming content,” says John.

Rarely is content geared towards the morning “use case” – quick updates, need-to-know information they need to get through the day or just look smart first thing in the morning. As more and more people continue to move to a mobile-only relationship, “the ‘need’ to provide ‘precision content’ on mobile will only become more and more essential.”

It goes beyond shifts in time, but represents a fundamental shift in how consumers engage and what their expectations are, writes John, quoting Forrester analyst Jennifer Wise.

A story today is often seen as a single object, even when it has multiple parts (one or more videos, a photo slide show, audio files, etc), and published only once. “All those requisite elements which could be consumed individually in other settings and at other times are wasted.”

Here he refers to an article written for FIPP.com by Dominik Grau, chief innovation officer of Ebner Media Group in Germany, on taking another approach: “A long story is never just a long story, it is a collection of an array of facts, figures, data and elements that are called ‘minimum information units’ (MIUs),” wrote Dominik. “Combined with a ‘touchpoint matrix’, such MIUs can be powerful resources to maximise the impact of your content.” (Read Dominik’s article here: How to maximise the impact of your content).

The Mobile chapter in FIPP/IMC’s Innovation World Report 2017/18 has much more on this, including ten actions for generation superior mobile content. Aside from the chapter on mobile, other chapters focus on:

1. Messaging apps and chatbots

2. Monetisation

3. Progressive v Native advertising

4. Print innovation and offbeat

5. Re-inventing legacy editorial teams

6. Technology

A reminder that the brand new report will launch at the 10th Digital Innovators’ Summit (DIS), where John will take the audience through some of the top innovations seen in media in the past year.  Delegates there will also hear from Ebner Media Group CEO Gerrit Klein. His session is about content strategies in a connected world. See the full agenda here, and sign up here.

Pre-order your FIPP/IMC Innovation in Media World Report now:

• FIPP members: Digital: free | Print: £59 | Print + Digital: £59

• Non-members: Digital: £109 | Print: £109 | Print + Digital: £135

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