Posts Tagged ‘Publishing’

Why Social Media Fits for Fashion: An Overview

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Although fashion and social media are two industries that have always seemed to be very separate, over the past year, with the news of publishing powerhouses losing readership to their online counterparts and advertisers dropping like flies, the fashion industry, once ruled by magazines, has seemingly surrendered and is beginning to embrace digital media.

Survival of the Fittest

Big-name magazines like Glamour, Vogue and Elle now have their own blogs – usually connected to the publication’s website. Most major magazines including Vanity Fair and Vogue’s UK edition also have a presence on Twitter as do many of their individual employees. New York Fashion Week even maintains its own Twitter account with details of shows and Fashion Week events.

Technologically speaking, it was recently reported that Conde Nast, one of the industry’s largest publishers, intends to release some of their top magazines on the newly released Apple iPad. Conde Nast also announced that Vogue, one of the publisher’s largest and most well known fashion magazines, will be launching an iPhone application. This application will help user with shopping and styling. The Wall Street Journal’s Christina Brinkley calls it “part of the all-out rush in the fashion industry to embrace technology—most notably with blogging and tweeting.”

Power Plays

Bloggers, once considered lint on the tailored jacket of the fashion industry, have become a force to be reckoned with. Blogs such as Bryan Boy and Style Rookie creator Tavi Gevison have garnered enough respect to warrant star-treatment typically reserved for the upper echelon of style writers and editors.  In fact, Tavi, who is 13-years-old, was flown to Tokyo to cover a party with popular French label Comme des Garcons for Harper’s Bazaar.

Not only are these bloggers writing extensively about the industry, they actively participate in events including runway shows. This past month at New York Fashion Week alone we saw an influx of bloggers not only attending designer’s shows but sitting front row amongst fashion industry royalty such as Anna Wintour, Grace Coddington and celebrities like the Olsen Twins.

To accommodate these bloggers, designers have also embraced the digital age. This past season, big name designers like Marc Jacobs and Calvin Klein made their shows available to home viewers by live streaming their shows.

Shares Well With Others

The fashion industry is traditionally based on a hierarchy of exclusivity and while some industry veterans disagree with the growing digital trends it seems that the industry as a whole is starting to accept that their target audience is paying attention to these mediums. What is the draw? Besides the obvious:  it’s cheaper and easier  to access –  interaction is key. Fashion bloggers are interacting with their readers; hosting giveaways and translating runway looks to the sidewalks. This accessibility is putting a different face on fashion – one other than models and style moguls.

The fashion industry has learned the same lesson as many other industries: shunning the online world will not make it disappear or lessen its influence. It seems, for now at least, that fashion publications, designers and editors are embracing digital media and learning to wield the powerful tools that are the digital world.

Seth Godin: His Brand, In Public

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Seth Godin

Seth Godin is on the tip of everyone’s tongue’s today (as he probably planned to be).  Not only did he launch the Brands in Public project yesterday evening but I was able to be in attendance (thanks HarperStudio!) today while he gave a talk to the Digital Publishing Group addressing critical issues in today’s publishing landscape.  Before getting into the re-cap about the event, a bit more about Brands in Public:

Squidoo has built several hundred pages, each one about a major brand. (Here are some examples). More are on the way. We’ll keep going until we have thousands of important brands, each on its own page (and we’ll happily add one for you if you like). Each page collects tweets, blog posts, news stories, images, videos and comments about a brand. All of these feeds are algorithmic… the good and the bad show up, all collated and easy to find.

Of course, these comments and conversations are already going on, all over the web. What we’ve done is bring them together in one place. And then we’ve made it easy for the brand to chime in.

That last sentence is probably most important.  For this ease-of-use, Seth wants $400/month for a brand to use this page as a portal to interact with consumers on the web.  Is this the right thing to do?  Is it worth it?  Where is the value for consumers and the brand?  There has been significant debate surrounding this move and even Seth himself says “BIP” probably shouldn’t be the 1st option:

If you have the tools and wherewithal to build a page like this on your own site, you should consider that. The challenge is getting it done, regardless of where the page lives.

A big post from Jason Falls today debates this even further.  He wonders if BIPs are holding brands hostage:

At first glance, you just think, “So what? The brands can just participate in the conversations on the various social networks and they Brands in Public spider will pick up those conversations as well. Hopefully, Brands in Public isn’t doing anything shady by parsing out the brand participation and that theory will hold true. However, think for a moment of the power, reach and influence Godin has. If his idea takes hold (it probably will because on the surface it’s a good one) and he markets it the way he’s capable of, Brands in Public could be come THE place to go see the “unfiltered” conversation about brands everywhere.

If that scenario plays out, then the $400 or more fee Godin’s company plans to charge is, in a way, blackmail.

It’ll be important to watch how this develops over the coming weeks and months.  There is no denying that time time is now to engage with consumers, directly, online but is this the best way to do it?  How many “walls” should be between you and your audience?  Seth talked a lot about platforms and tribes in today’s #digpub event and a lot of what one sees in this BIP execution also was discussed today in regards to the publishing industry.

During today’s talk, Seth made strong analogies between the necessary innovation that must and is happening in the music industry to what has to happen in the publishing industry in 2009 (arguably, it should’ve started 10 years ago).

  • Thinking less about the physical product.  Actual books as “dead trees” shouldn’t be the focus but more books should be the vehicle of great ideas which people will forever be attracted to.
  • Applicable to marketing in all industries, he then ran though some solid strategy points -
    • Permission marketing – it’s about developing relationships, creating value and making marking (with permission) a two-way street
    • Scarcity – simply, if you have something of overwhelming value and cap access – it usually becomes more sought after
    • Selection related to risk – as a publisher, you want to be in a position to be finding writers for your readers instead of the other way around
    • Finally, it’s all about attention – if the tools and content you’re producing are creating overwhelming value for your audience, you’ll often hold their attention and, subsequently, their permission

Update:  Seth posted a change in direction for the Brands in Public project today.  In what I think is a smart move, if a brand wants to participate, it becomes opt-in and they must contact Squidoo directly.  All the pilot pages set-up for brands to adopt are now inactive.

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East Coast vs. West Coast: Newspapers in Flux

Wednesday, March 4th, 2009

With news breaking this week that the Old Gray Lady is dipping her toe in the lucrative hyperlocal news market and looking to breathe new life into a business that is being squeezed from all sides, Mike Davidson paints a completely different picture out in Seattle with the Post-Intelligencer grasping for air.

While the Times is hopefully heading in the right direction (towards turf that Baristanet and Patch are vying for as well), Mike points out some great ways any news service can become more relevant:

Getting smaller and staying local

Many privately held businesses and all publicly held ones require growth. It isn’t enough to turn a healthy profit every year. If your business isn’t growing, your management is questioned and your stock declines. The first step in keeping local news viable is realizing that it may not be much of a growth business, and it may be quite a bit smaller of a business than it has been in the past. These two factors do not bode well for the prospects of publicly held local news companies in the future. Imagine the P-I as something more along the lines of what Cory Bergman has built with his network of neighborhood blogs like My Ballard. I would argue a fully built-out neighborhood blog network like this is more valuable than what the P-I currently has. Nothing against the P-I’s website… it’s great… but it doesn’t pull me in as a citizen of my neighborhood. It’s a conventional mix of local stories that usually aren’t that local to me along with national stories I prefer to read on sites like instead.

Local news companies need to concentrate on creating communities of people who talk to each other, not just people who read the news and leave. Where you can connect people, you can make money.

Make something that’s worth paying for again

I may not pay for every author I happen to read on a daily basis, but there exists a collection of more than a few people on my blogroll who I would pay $5 a month to read, if it were exclusive. I’ve always been bearish on paid content as a model, mainly because you could usually do better with advertising, but with CPMs dropping through the floor, I’m not convinced that is necessarily the case anymore. What I’d like to see attempted is positioning a publication as more of a “discussion club”. Heck, maybe you even can read the content for free, but in order to join the discussion, you need to be a paid club member. With membership also comes social events around town, swanky garb, and other niceties to help you rationalize your modest membership fee. I always thought the New York Times should have done this with Times Select.

Bear in mind, I’m not suggesting just throwing up a pay wall. That would not work. The idea is creating bits of value — in addition to content — that people would gladly pay several bucks a month for.

Partner with your people

As a great business, your customers should be your best partners. In the case of news agencies, this doesn’t need to stop at readers evangelizing your publication for you. In many cases, they are actually willing to help you run it. Why have a staff of 150 when you can have a staff of 15 and engage your community to help produce a lot of the content? People like doing things that benefit their community. Make sure your business is seen as a way to do that.

The future of journalism may be in pro-am publishing


Be sure to click over and read Mike’s entire post.  Lots of great insight and comments not just on ways to “save the news” but also why this is happening in the first place.

Define your own filters

Thursday, April 3rd, 2008

There’s not much that hasn’t already been said about the findings from Pew on how young people are getting their news not so much directly from the source but from friends – through the filters of email, social networks and other tools. But with a few days perspective and the appearance of other stories that offer additional insights into similar stories a fuller picture can be painted of the latest water-line we’ve reached in the evolution of news and community.

Take for instance the increased focus on creating “appealing content” by journalists in the recent PRWeek/PR Newswire Media Survey. Add to that the 73 percent that now say they turn to blogs as part of their research efforts. Even if it is just to “measure sentiment” that’s a significant number of writers that new touch base with social media outlets in order to get a sense of what’s being said on a topic as they’re writing their own stories. And add to that the fact that more journalists are being tasked with re-purpose their stuff for online and you get a feeling that, even if the corporations they work for aren’t quite sure of where they need to go, the men and women in the trenches know exactly what they need to survive as both employees and media brands.

One group of writers that won’t be working harder are movie critics, an industry that continues to be decimated by cutbacks as movie conversations shift to blogs and fan sites. While there is a bit of a case to be made that the loss of professional critics will hurt smaller movies that need critical praise to survive, I don’t think the serious film community is exactly going to be hurt. Plenty of niche sites exist that appeal to this crowd and the better films still make it to mainstream sites.

I wonder, though, if that situation could have been avoided if the professional critics that looked down on fan enthusiasm had instead gotten in the conversation more and engaged with online writers. If they had spent some time building relationships and gotten to know people would that have led to more links back to their reviews, leading to more links back to the sites in general and so on. I don’t know if that would have been successful but it certainly would have done a lot to avoid the “critics are out of touch in their ivory towers” attitude that has become pervasive over the course of the last number of years.

You still have surveys showing print publications are more trusted than online sources, though honestly the data isn’t sliced and diced enough in this MediaVest survey to show how opinions might vary by age group.

One way some major media companies are attempting to do that is by partnering with niche publishers, most often with advertising or content networks. But these aren’t conversational tactics, their branding efforts. That’s better than nothing but it’s also limiting in some regards because there’s still no opportunity for interaction with the people behind the brands.

The Internet is changing how we pull content into our days and how we interact with that content. From the way we research obscure trivia to finding and donating to political campaigns to what we get for our concert ticket money our expectations of content availability to how we think journalists will find information.

There’s value in creating your own experience, though there’s also some in having an experience defined by so-called experts. But people are, because communications are no longer limited by geography or even niche interest, finding the experts most relevant to them and latching on tightly. And that shift is only going to increase as new technologies develop.

Perspective matters

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Because I like to extrapolate (it’s my second favorite thing to do after insinuating) from one vertical to another, this AdAge story on what women want out of the Internet certainly got my interest. It’s certainly filled with some interesting information on current trends of female behavior online and how traditional behaviors might be shifting or changing, all presented via graphics that, if they were static and not interactive, would not be out of place in People Magazine or Entertainment Weekly.

Aside from that, this sort of story could be written on just about any given demographic any given week. That’s how fast things are changing. That’s why blogs and the industry watchers and players who pound them out are so valuable to marketers. If you’re going to try to reach people where they are, then it makes sense to know where that is, no?

The audience, now more than ever, is a constantly moving target. If one tool stops meeting their needs they’ll move on. And the early adopters are never going to sit still long enough for you to get a bead on them.

So while trade mags like AdAge and others serve a great role in terms of providing context and in-depth reporting, for insights on consumer trends I’ll take blogs any day of the week. That’s especially true since those blogs are often written by people who are trying to dissect and analyze the data for themselves, making their perspective all the more relevant to the reader that’s trying to do the same thing.