Recently in Publishing Category
June 11, 2013
Disarming honesty - and useful experience - from Andrew Betts at FT Labs:
About 10 days ago, the hacker or hackers calling themselves the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) carried out a very targeted cyberattack against the FT. We're not the first to be targeted and in fact as I write this we're not even the most recent. But the experience taught me an important lesson. Targeted attacks against a single large corporation are not like the random, almost embarrassingly fake emails you get telling you to reset your PayPal account. They're painfully, soberingly realistic. Those that were sent to the FT compromised scores of our corporate Google accounts. And one of those was mine.
May 30, 2013
Bit of a farmyard metaphor at work in the journalism blogs this morning:
You have to hand it to Newsquest/Gannett. They certainly know how to milk a cow to death.
Some say those brands are diminishing anyway. So sponsored content is just another way to milk the old cows as they die.
This is what people often miss about the more bizarre decisions some publishers make: they're not trying to build sustainable business models for the future - they're milking what profits they can out of titles before they die.
I'm speaking tonight at the Brighton Content Strategy Meetup, on all things multichannel, and why your iPad doesn't give a damn about your content strategy.
I'd invite you to come along, but, uh, the event is sold out. I probably should have blogged about it before now, shouldn't I?
UPDATE: Places available... Go, go, go, grab 'em now...
Ah well. This photo has a critical role to play:
All will be explained later. Well, if you already have a ticket, that is.
May 20, 2013
A field guide to spotting a content marketer:
This new quasi-professional class doesn't produce actual contenty kind of content, you know: only thinly-veiled advertisements for their services. It's really content-marketer marketing, if that makes sense, and they are the product they sell. Helpful e-books and webinars meant to induce you to hire their services, long-ass comments on blog posts that craftily guide back to their own blog posts, maybe the occasional self-published paperback, printed on demand for the upcoming speaking engagement, glossy with snake oil.
They write in the second person, as if they are always having a firm conversation with a beloved client. ("Try this thought experiment with YOUR brand...") But the writing is consumed exclusively by other content marketers, all busily keeping up their game, all hawking their own half-baked consultancies.
There's a sad ending to this tale, though. What will happen to all those content marketers when the content bubble bursts*?
*They'll reinvent themselves as Pinterest consultants or whatever passing bandwagon comes next.
April 15, 2013
I seem to spend more time liveblogging at conferences than speaking at them these days, but this Friday sees a rare chance to catch me on stage, talking about media and doing business in a city of pleasure.
Yes, I'm part of the media panel at the Brighton Summit on Friday, and will probably be getting into an argument with the editor of the Argus. Because that's who I am... ;-)
April 10, 2013
This rather bland statement from Tumblr CEO David Karp hides something interesting:
What we've accomplished with Storyboard has run its course for now, and our editorial team will be closing up shop and moving on. I want to personally thank them for their great work. And please join us in wishing them well.
Storyboard was their experiment to create a newsroom team within the company, highlighting the best of the content shared within the blogging platform. And now it's dead and gone. Ken Yeung puts it more brutally for The Next Web:
On Tuesday, Tumblr announced that it was laying off its entire editorial team responsible for its Storyboard service. A year after the company created the team of journalists and editors to help cover it as a "living, breathing community", founder David Karp said that Tumblr's experiment had come to an end.
Storyboard was always an odd idea. Putting a meta-curational layer over a service that is curational at its heart seemed like a redundancy and so it proved. Tumblr users are already great at finding and highlight good metrical within their service. They don't really need journalists to do that for them.
I suspect that we'll see more of this. Brand journalism is one of those ideas that has gone from an abstract though to wide-spread adoption in far too short a spec of time, without any real rigour applied to the whys, the hows and the "how much" in particular - both how much it will cost and how much value it brings to the company. Storyboard was a cool idea that wasn't properly thought through; the mere existence of good quality content doesn't create value unless there's a sensible strategy underlying it - and there doesn't seem to have been a good one here.
It sometimes feels like the amount of content strategy seen on the web is inversely proportional to the number of people with "content strategist" in their job title...
March 21, 2013
Hello Adam Tinworth,
Your request to be included in Twitter Cards has been approved. We've activated Summary and Photo cards for *.onemanandhisblog.com.
I'm becoming such a markup geek.
(No idea what I'm talking about? Here's the Twitter cards documentation)
Update: It's working...
March 18, 2013
So, I know brand content is where it's at right now and all, and that fashion companies are leading the way. But why on earth has Karen Millen chosen to present their's in such an intensely user-hostile way?:Have these people never used the internet?
March 14, 2013
Great post from the Digbot 3000 on the desperate scramble for search traffic around Google Reader's imminent demise:
My beef is with the agencies and professionals who will undoubtably see this as an opportunity to create a topical, interesting article to generate traffic - why is this beefy? Because the majority of them won't have even considered what traffic they're getting, they will be writing articles for the sake of it (blog schedule, marketing KPIs, fill the time etc). All of them hoping to rank and generate organic traffic for a search term that will last about 1 week, followed by a slow trickle til July 1st and then a sudden peak again as everyone reveals their 'comprehensive reader review' articles in a bid to show you that it is in fact they who are the most cutting edge.
Content tactics masquerading as content strategy...
March 13, 2013
Private Frazer's Doomed Magazines is five years old. At this rate it might out-live the industry:
Actually, of course publishing will survive, but in five years time there will be fewer titles and fewer big companies. Magazines will continue to close, publishing businesses will go out of business or merge, and fewer people will be employed. We will continue to read articles (on mobile devices, obviously) about the 'vibrancy' of print because another tiny indy publication has launched; the PPA will continue to send out press releases about the health of the industry even as its membership continues to fall; and senior executives will continue to pay themselves ten times more than most of their employees as their reward for managing decline.
There's so much that's quotable in the post, that I had a hard time picking out just one par. Go read.
Congratulations, Private Frazer, you miserable old sod. :-)
March 4, 2013
I would never decry any service as worthless. There are people who have caught mass attention via Tumblr, and sold great piles of things as a result. There's a use for everything, and an exception to every rule. The exceptions are the reasons that others try. But Tumblr sets the bar of success incredibly low. The payout will almost always be zero. Not beer money, nothing.
Just because somewhere is the easy place to get attention doesn't mean it's the right place...
(One of John's sketches made an appearance on this blog a long time ago...)
February 25, 2013
My, my. It's been an interesting few days for web publishers, hasn't it?
Interflora's Search Death
First of all, Google wiped Interflora from the search rankings:
Searching for the terms [Flowers], [florist], [flower delivery], [flowers online] and hundreds of other related search terms yielded the interflora.co.uk domain in first place – until yesterday afternoon. Now the website does not even appear for its own brand name:
Eeek! There's some suggestion that because it was using blogger gifts to garner links, it was penalised for that. However, at least one commenter suggests that it was involved in more direct paid linking:
I have to say at this point that I know quite a few bloggers who posted the interflora links and it wasn’t in return for flowers or products but paid for links from a rather well known SEO company… Totally against Googles t’s and c’s – to be honest the bloggers themselves could jepordise their own pageranks of they don’t remove the links too.
Punishing Local Papers
That sounds pretty prescient, because it turns out that Interflora had been buying links from local newspaper sites - and they got hammered for it:
David Naylor, a consultant who specializes in search-engine optimization or SEO, described in a post of his own how the Interflora content had broken the rules, and how the company’s own PageRank had declined sharply as a result — and he also noted that the PageRank of the local news websites that posted the content hadn’t just declined, but had actually dropped to zero. According to Naylor, such a massive drop for a single infraction is unusual.
What's telling is one of the comments:
So Google created a currency and is now pissed that people/entities trade it between themselves, am I getting this right?
No, she isn't. What people seem to be struggling with is what links actually represent to Google.
A link is a vote
The core innovation at the heart of PageRank - Google's system for assessing a page's relevance and importance - was that every link to that page can be counted as a vote for that page. The more votes, the better the page. If someone is taking the time or trouble to link to it, it indicates at least some level of significance.
The SEO profession tends to obscure that truth – intentionally or not – by use of the words "backlinks". Take that jargon out, and put the word "votes" in, and you see how this becomes uncomfortable. You're not buying or selling "backlinks", you're buying and selling votes. Feel comfortable about that?
From Google's point of view, people buying their way to the top of search rankings is a problem. It means that content which people don't feel is important enough to link to in the general run of things is placing higher than things which people do feel is good. That's undermining their core search business - so no wonder they're penalising it harshly. People want the best results from their search engines - or they'll go elsewhere. If you think your content is the best, but no-one's linking to it, you need to figure out if your assessment of content quality is wrong, or if you're so disengaged from the rest of the web that no-one thinks to link to you. (And this is where a decent SEO consultant can help you.)
You can't sell what you don't own
Your PageRank - and you ability to convey benefit to someone else's site via a link - isn't yours. You don't own it, and can't sell it. It's just Google's opinion of your site's worth. It's more akin to a credit rating than anything else - and try selling your credit rating and see what happens to you then…
Here's what you should bear in mind: you can sell the attention of your readers to others. You can sell the chance of traffic from your site to them. You just can't convey search benefit to them when you do so. That's why Google has guidance about using nofollow on those links.
If your bothered by that, think about this the next time you do a Google search - do you want the best result back, or just the one that someone has paid the most to get there?
Sarah from journalism.co.uk has been looking into this as well…