Move beyond the traditional newsletter with a true multimedia magazine.
In this new era of communication where the line between publisher and consumer blurs, your audience demands — and deserves — more than hyperbolic marketing materials. By providing real value to prospects and customers, an organization can build a stronger relationship that will yield positive results. Rather than rhetorical messages, provide high-quality articles, commentaries, interviews, and videos as part of a multimedia magazine offering.
The advent of blogs, podcasts, and online video now puts consumers in the position of being content producers rather than a passive audience. Individuals now have more power than ever before to consume just the specific content they seek, in whatever medium they prefer. As such, they have come to expect to get real value at every turn and have far less tolerance for transparent and stereotypical sales pitches, paint-by-number marketing approaches, and stale, boring customer newsletters.
Unfortunately, much of what gets produced in the new media marketplace lacks the same polish and sophistication that traditional media has offered. In many cases, this sophistication may not be necessary, but many in your audience — especially those who do not live and breathe this new paradigm — may prefer a blend of the old and the new to maintain a certain comfort level with the information you are sharing. Ultimately, the audience decides the value of any source of content.
The Rise of Audience 2.0
Audience 2.0 is all about a concept of shared value. Consumers respect the desire of companies to make money when they produce content, but the ways in which that value gets exchanged are changing. No longer is it merely a straightforward subscription fee approach, or even a Web 1.0 advertising model. Instead, each content producer must understand what value they can and should receive for the information that they produce.
For instance, a company might produce a multimedia magazine in order to communicate with prospects and customers. Although many might say that this is already done by countless organizations that publish free newsletters or blogs, the multimedia magazine concept goes further by integrating diverse types of media (text, audio, and video) as well as by presenting information in a more sophisticated manner that makes a large segment of the public more comfortable when consuming online content.
Building a Trust Relationship
Perhaps most significantly, however, this multimedia magazine concept works best when it integrates content beyond the corporate mouthpieces that typically fill the screens and pages of newsletters. By blending internal and external authors, the audience gets more variety and greater value. By taking the subject matter beyond the self-serving, it better meets the needs of consumers.
In fact, honest and straightforward stories about — and perhaps even from — competitors can greatly enhance the trust relationship between the organization and its audience. Increasingly, consumer trust represents a significant factor in the purchasing process, especially as more buying decisions get made in a virtual environment where it becomes more difficult to size up the people and infrastructure behind a product or service.
Don’t Depend on the Media, Become the Media
“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.” Many organizations lament the difficulty in getting the media to talk about their products, services, or issues. In the new media environment, the alternative is simple: create your own media outlet.
Your initial built-in audience may not be as large as some of the media you have been trying to reach, but it will likely be of higher quality since it will be composed of people already familiar with you.
Of course, you can’t become your own media outlet very effectively on the old Russian Pravda model. That is, you need to incorporate diversity of authorship and viewpoint to create truly compelling content.
Appeal to Your Audience’s Needs
Remember, any publication or media outlet must meet a need to be successful. That means creating a strong concept for your multimedia magazine and seeking to differentiate it from competitors in the marketplace.
Be realistic in what you are creating and set reasonable goals, and you will likely be pleased with the outcome. Understand what the audience wants and then meet that need to appeal to the audience you seek.
SIze vs. Quality of Audience
A successful magazine doesn’t rely on pure numbers to be a success, but rather demands a quality group of readers and listeners. In many cases, you may want to appeal more to industry opinion leaders and prospects, rather than a broad-based consumer public.
In any case, you need to understand who you want to reach and create meaningful metrics with that as the focus. In addition, some of your measures of success may be based less on audience than on the quality of interviews you can achieve in order to promote your brand or issue to influential individuals.
Implementing the Concept
Taking the multimedia magazine idea to fruition requires commitment to the new media paradigm, but it need not replace existing communications efforts. By partnering with experienced social media content creators, virtually any organization can reap the benefits of the new media revolution.