|Media companies are being asked to get more out of their content development efforts as they extend and enhance their publications and brands across a broader array of distribution channels. Just as the Web did not replace print, smartphones and tablets will not replace the Web - this is not a zero-sum content game.
Six tips on how to create a successful cross-platform business were outlined:
1. Test and learn. Publishers can't afford to pursue big, bet-the-company initiatives that offer no clear payoff. Start small, testing different content types, revenue models and price points (for paid content). This is not just an R&D mandate: Give all your employees the freedom and courage to experiment.
2. Let the data guide you. Track your experiments religiously. Find the combination of metrics that best indicate progress toward your objectives. Allocate more resources toward the projects that are working and either kill the underperformers or, if they're strategically important, find ways to improve them.
3. Break down the silos. Cross-platform content requires cross-functional collaboration. Developers need a better understanding of editorial and the audience so they can build better products. Marketers need better insight into editorial products so they can promote them. Editors need to understand corporate objectives and the financial feasibility of new projects and products. This doesn't require a dismantling of the church/state divide, but it does require a more open approach to content development.
4. Be consistent with your brand across platforms. The structure and tone of a tweet is much different than a long-form magazine article, but editors' behaviour on social media must not stray too far from the overall message of your publication. For initiatives that stray far from the core, consider launching under a different brand.
5. Differentiate with quality. The pendulum is swinging back from search-optimised dreck toward quality content. Invest accordingly in quality as you extend your content into new channels. As Journal Register CEO John Paton recently noted, "Lousy journalism on multiple platforms is just lousy journalism in multiple ways."
6. Monetise everything. At the end of the day, it's all about driving revenue. No projects should be allowed to go forward without a clear business benefit. During the industry's transition from print to digital, creating a real business case for new content development is simply a matter of survival.