By Larry Coffman
Transitioning from print to digital delivery of content of interest to marcomm professionals has ramifications that take a bit of time to comprehend, cope with and communicate.
The most obvious change is from static (in our case, every-other-month) delivery of news and advertising content via print, to a near-constant (even hourly) changing of said content on the web. That has implications for both the stewards and the users of the site.
When MARKETING launched in 1986, we were pioneers of the concept of contributed articles from marcomm pros for the bulk of the editorial content, an approach that’s now commonplace in niche media like ours. In the print years, the audience was essentially those in Washington state, with a focus on the Seattle area. Today, the audience is anyone on the globe who’s connected to the worldwide web.
Using email lists (rather than print mail lists), we’re able to keep much of the former print audience focused on this site. But the web delivery represents a dramatic new dimension in the scope of our readership, as well as what’s available for presentation—all without the space limitations of print.
Wikipedia defines “curation” as “selecting, organizing and looking after the items in a collection or exhibit.” Curation is a refinement of aggregation, which refers to web collection of information from multiple online sources (polls, movie reviews, social networks, news, hotels, airlines, etc., etc.). While the title of curator is most often used to describe the manager of a museum, it’s appropriate for me as well, in this new milieu.
There’s still some writing involved, of course, but my major role is to “curate” the most important and interesting information available on the web and other media, both locally and from outside the Seattle market, although local fare always will represent the majority of the content. [Out-Of-Market Offerings have their own space in the right-hand column, beneath the trio of ads.]
My role also is to give local perspective and flavor on all content chosen for posting. There’s no better example than the Wexley School for Girls closure story, which was first revealed by The Drum, a global media platform. Our story is prefaced with related information and artwork from recent dealings with Wexley and was expanded with comments from local marcomm pros. The posting, of course, includes an all-important link to the original story.
Rather than try to summarize and paraphrase information from myriad sources on major stories, my lead-in perspective always will be followed by a link to the original story, as in the Wexley case or The Seattle Times’ obituary for H. Mason Sizemore. Our contributions to the story originators are to give them credit as well as wider exposure of their story among our audience.
In this digital realm, the advertising Sponsors who make the site possible also have new challenges—and opportunities. Unlike their static print ad that could change no oftener than every other month, the Sponsors now can change their advertising message anytime they choose. We’re also encouraging them to look to each other when they need a service one of their fellow Sponsors can provide. And to encourage this kind of business synergy, we supplied them with this chart (Note to site visitors: feel free to contact them as well!).
Recipients of our email Updates and News Alerts!—who are the core group of users of the new site—are a critical part of the equation. We depend upon them to open and Share email messages and to encourage free Subscriptions to our email base on a constant basis. We also need them to contribute news of their companies, write articles and offer reactions in the Comment box below each posting.
Thanks for listening. Please note that my title, from now on, will be Larry Coffman, publisher/curator. And I must acknowledge before closing that none of this would be possible without the talents of co-publisher/webmaster Melissa Vail Coffman.