Millennials consume content very differently to the way previous generations did. We grab five minutes with vjoon’s David Rheault, to get his thoughts on what publishers should be doing to meet changing consumer expectations.
Q: What will be the media mix of the typical consumer in five years’ time?
A: Media is an industry that continues to go through massive change and disruption across all verticals. As print continues to cede advertising dollars to digital, many content creators and publishers are still struggling to find the perfect blend to attract advertisers and customers. Over the next five years, social media will continue to grow, while the smart publishers will use their magazines to promote their brand and strengthen their relationship with their readers. I think you’ll see a lot less searching for content with users having more digital feeds of information, which is why content providers need to focus on reinforcing their brand with their consumer.
Q: What are innovative publishers doing now to anticipate future changes in media consumption?
A: Again, I think branding is key in today’s market. The market will continue to shift to digital, so using traditional print to bolster digital consumption – of your brand and content – is the key. Companies like Netflix have already been wildly successful building their brand with an increasing amount of organic content. Traditional content providers have always focused on organic content, but as traditional content providers continue to contract and consolidate, their brand becomes their most important asset.
Q: How are publishers changing their workflows and processes to work more efficiently?
A: This is one area where I think the production and workflow tools have evolved, but the objective hasn’t really changed a lot in the past decade. The overall goal now, and has been – create/author your content once, with the ability to publish that content across all channels. Whether you publish in print, digital, or both, you need to take advantage by selecting a system that automates the production workflow by publishing to multiple channels in an automated manner. There are many systems that do this, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out our own software, vjoon K4, a pioneer in this area. Your CMS also needs to allow users to work anywhere. Content creators are increasingly spread out, across cities, countries, and even the entire globe. Affording these users the ability to create and edit content without restricting them to an office has become not just a feature, but a necessity in current workflow systems.
Q: Which nascent technologies should publishers be most aware of?
A: The biggest nascent technologies that publishers need to consider are artificial intelligence and machine learning. AI has been an important concept and big buzzword the last couple years, but publishers are just starting to taking advantage of what can be done with AI. While many publishers are using AI technology to leverage things like image tagging and content analysis, I think publishers should look to use AI to bolster their audiences. While companies like Netflix (you watched this, now you should watch this) and Amazon (you bought this, maybe you want this) are leveraging AI to a great extent, I don’t think publishers are fully realising this type of potential to build their audience. There are a lot of tools out there with respect to audience measurement and analytics that publishers aren’t using or aren’t using well, so if you’re not building your audience, you’re losing ground to those that are. Couple this with machine learning to help organise your content – make sure you’re using accurate taxonomical classification – and you’ll be able to promote the appropriate content to your customers. You can create the greatest content in the world but if you’re not getting it in front of the right readers, you’re exerting effort for little return.
Q: What are the secrets of building deeper relationships with readers?
A: This is the easiest question to answer: User Generated Content. Back to the millennials; this generation, by percentage of population, will be the largest demographic the world has ever realised. Millennials trust people over brands. The explosion of UGC, whether it’s Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, or Twitter, is understood and leveraged by millennials more so than other traditional media. So traditional publishers will need to build a trusted brand, and encourage production of UGC. We live in an increasingly customised world, and millennials haven’t really known a world prior to this. Prior generations bought albums, millennials use iTunes and Spotify to create custom playlists. Prior generations played video games where you shot aliens or gobbled dots, millennials play sandbox games, building their own cities, kingdoms, and experiences. The customised nature of UGC is perceived as more authentic, so striking the appropriate blend of brand, organic content, and curated UGC is going to be a big factor in the success of brand-reader relations.
Q: How are good content management systems evolving to meet the challenges and opportunities publishers face?
A: Content management systems, in general, are offering more features to support content velocity. We are building incredible amounts of content and data, and systems are adapting to the speed at which publishers require content to be created, edited, and presented. CMS developers are obligated to update their software more frequently and offer features which allow publishers to move content quickly between content production and content presentation. While even WordPress can be used as a rudimentary CMS, most customers already have a production CMS that they do not use efficiently. Finding expert level users and trainers, educating your staff, and creating the most efficient workflows is probably the easiest and most important investment you can make.