There have been an increasing amount of digital innovations over the last few years, or even months, that have made it easier to push out content in multimedia formats. The danger is we focus too much on the medium and not the message. If you get your message right there are huge advantages to using new media. There are few if any barriers to entry. The output is easier to view. They can be very cost effective to use. And they allow you demonstrate your innovative and creative side. The growth in the Irish digital economy has been a two speed experience so far with the consumer way ahead of business. A relatively new medium, called Blab can be used as a powerful tool to reach out to potential customers with a view to bridging the digital gap. However, when you’ve finished creating your content and you’re picking your medium ask yourself honestly – ‘Am I just putting lipstick on a pig?’ Remember, it should be all about the message not the medium.
I’d better explain…
I’ve no idea where I heard it first but it fast became one of my favourite phrases. I have frequently used it to describe an exercise in futility
‘Ye did what? Sure, may as well be putting lipstick on a pig!’
A little research (and by ‘research’ I mean I looked it up in Wikipedia) tells me there have been many variations but the meaning is always the same – there is no point in dressing up something weak to try and make it look good.
There have been an increasing amount of digital innovations over the last few years, or even months, that have made it easier to push out content in multimedia formats. The danger is we concentrate on the medium and not the message.
What is ‘New Media’ anyway
In my Congregation post last year on podcasting I spoke of the Four Horsemen of Traditional Media – TV, Radio, Newspaper and Magazines. 30 years ago the barriers to entry were significant. There was a finite amount of media space – a set number of TV stations, radio stations and printed media. You couldn’t just create content and push it out
In 1991 the media world was smashed wide open with the advent of the World Wide Web. Since then the progress and development of ‘New Media’ has been astounding. We are at a point where anyone with a connected device (it doesn’t even need to be a computer anymore) can create content and push it out.
http://t.co/D9pwMXuZOa recently passed a billion websites by their count….
— Tim Berners-Lee (@timberners_lee) September 16, 2014
Though we are only one year removed from the launch of the one billionth website, the one trillionth will probably launch in 2016.
At some point though we’ll have to drop the ‘New’ and it will all just be ‘Media’.
Especially when you consider we’ve been Google-ing since 1998, building WordPress websites since 2003, liking things on Facebook since 2004, watching YouTube since 2005 and Tweeting since 2006.
The Benefits of New Media
There are few if any barriers to entry
Imagine how hard it would be to get a TV programme commissioned. And now think how easy it is to start your own YouTube channel.
The output is easier to view
Sticking the YouTube v TV angle – at a recent company earnings announcement Omid Kordestani, Google’s chief business officer, revealed “YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds in the US than any US cable TV network.” Mobile devices have increased the reach of new media to the point where traditional media are powerless to compete.
They can be very cost effective
In a lot of cases you can start off by only spending your time and effort. There are lots of free platforms that will allow you create a meaningful web presence.
Allows you demonstrate your innovative and creative side
With barriers to entry down you now have to step up and prove you can add value using new media. Done well you can create a little ‘wow’ factor as well as delivering your content.
— Fergus Ryan (@GusRyan100) December 3, 2015
Companies need to catch up with the Consumer
While the internet and new media make it sound like plain sailing all the way to the checkout… its not.
The growth in the Irish digital economy has been a two speed experience so far.
On the demand side we are seeing an incredibly tech savvy Irish consumer quickly adopt and embrace all the advantages and benefits provided by the internet.
On the supply side we are seeing Irish businesses and brands lose money to overseas competitors because they are slow to connect with their audience online.
Consumption is the main driver of an economy and that includes the digital economy. The Irish consumer is willing to do business online
Irish consumers have an average of 3 connected devices
Ireland is 6th (out of 46 countries) globally for multi-screening
Over 90% of Irish people aged 25-34 browse the internet every day.
This penetration slides down through the age groups but still comes in at over 70% of 55 years olds are daily browsers.
93% of people who research on mobile go on to make a final purchase
Irish consumers spent €3.7 billon online in 2013 but a staggering 70% of that went overseas companies.
Go and compete… But Remember…
Irish companies need to take their online presence seriously. Even if you consider yourself a traditional offline business, you’ll benefit from a meaningful online presence. 50% of consumers who research online still prefer to buy from a physical shop even if the purchase cold be completed online.
When you’ve finished creating your content and you’re picking your medium ask yourself honestly – ‘Am I just putting lipstick on a pig?’
Weak content is pointless and will not be made more engaging by a flash new medium.
If you work hard to ensure your content is
provides a solution through your product/service,
is so helpful its worth sharing
and has a clear call to action
Then the medium is irrelevant. Sure, it might add a little ‘wow’ factor as I said earlier, but only if the content is all of the above.
New Media will help you sweat your content
When you sit down to create your content you should have more in mind than banging out 600 words of text. You should also be considering the keywords for Search Engine Optimisation and what is the best format to produce the content in. For a little extra effort you may find that an eBook, a video or a webinar might go a whole lot further than just a text blog post.
I won’t dwell too much on this topic because Alan O’Rourke has a fantastic blog post already covering this called A One Month Micro Marketing Plan all about promotion over production.
Similar to Alan’s post I would have turned this submission into either a short eBook or a series of blog posts. Once you have that piece of anchor content finished you can then begin to think of ways to sweat that content. Alan demonstrates that perfectly in his Micro Marketing Plan so I won’t steal his thunder.
All I will add is a piece of new media I’d encourage you to try.
Blab is a relatively new video streaming tool that works in conjunction with Twitter. If you’re familiar with Periscope or Google Hangouts On Air it has similarities with these. It was created in April 2015 and has become popular with digital marketers.
The main attraction to Blab is the ability to repurpose your content.
For example, in this post I’ve added a video of the live stream I held to discuss my blog post. Minutes after your livestream has finished Blab will send you a recording of the video in mp.4 and the audio in mp.3. This allows you upload the video to your YouTube channel and the audio to your podcast. Apologies for the poor picture quality, it’s usually much better.
So, your one piece of content (eBook) can be repurposed into a livestream, a video and a podcast in one sitting. Then you can go to town with social posts, blog posts and everything else Alan mentions.
The bottom line is, it should be all about the message not the medium. I’d highly recommend reading Alan’s post if you haven’t done so already.
Fergus Ryan started his own company, 4th Level Digital Media in 2014. He specialises in helping people and businesses capture their corner of the internet in a meaningful way. Fergus is also works freelance covering the sport of Mixed Martial Arts for Setanta Sports, 98FM and Independent.ie.