In today’s multimedia environment, have editors thrown out their flatplans to embrace all things digital, leaving no room for old-style publishing?
While the editor’s to-do list might now look very different than it did even two years ago, what hasn’t changed is the need to drive and maintain readership – whether you’re producing content for a public audience or a captive audience of employees or club members.
That still involves understanding your readers, planning content and liaising with a team of writers, designers and production wizards to achieve it. But technology has undoubtedly transformed the way editors operate, creating new ways to gather content, multiple channels through which to share it and new potential for truly interacting with audiences.
If traditional newsrooms left editors feeling like jugglers, some might feel the social media circus has added plate-spinning to their repertoire with a vengeance.
But these are exciting times with space for the opportunities that both digital and print have to offer.
For internal markets, change has often materialised in the gradual reduction of print volumes and frequency, hand in hand with the increase in digital channels and social media strategies. Particularly where budgets are major influencers and an easy option is the instruction to “cut the print and distribution”.
And it’s true that nationally, too, the shift to digital has been reflected in falling magazine sales, by around 6.5% as audited by ABC in the second half of 2014, although a few are apparently still bucking the trend.
It will be interesting to monitor the digital transition as some publishers embark on multi-platform reporting of data to comprise print, digital editions, web and social media activity.
In the meantime, editors should beware of making too-drastic changes too soon. Migrating across channels supported by solid research of your audience is a prudent strategy,
What’s evident is a gradual tendency for a segment of the audience to move from print to digital channels but this appears to be market, gender and age specific. Noticeably, advertising revenue generation is spreading and, in some cases, expanding budgets across channels. Advertisers are proceeding with caution, they are certainly not championing ‘out with the old, in with the new’.
At the Team we’re used to partnering and guiding our clients through the shifting sands of communications. From the first appearances of email bulletins and the popping up of micro-sites, to exploiting the opportunities presented by magazine apps and social media accounts.
What we are experiencing more and more is that content has to be re-purposed for the relevant channel and audience segmentation. There’s no longer a one-size-fits-all solution. There are content management systems that exist to make the job easier for editors, but either way it means that the content team and its editor must become the hub of content creation and dissemination ¬– the single source for multiple channels.
Smart editors are skilled at re-purposing content from a single source. It’s not just a case of ‘re-nosing’ print copy for the web, but understanding how the format and language of source content needs to be transformed to work across platforms.