Features

The journalist's toolkit has changed dramatically, according to news industry analyst, Ken Doctor. He considers an early 20th Century doctor and the meager tools of diagnosis he had in his traveling black bag. "The journalistic equivalent is the pencil and pad," Doctor says, jotting down facts in chicken-scratch shorthand that only he could read (if lucky), and traveling here and there to gather the facts from the most reliable sources. Now that journalist has the whole world at his fingertips. Even in an age of endless web information, it goes beyond Google searches and Wikipedia entries; today's journalists are also scouring social media, namely Twitter, for breaking news ideas.
By - Posted May 03, 2013
We've all heard about the value of content curation in the digital age. People put a premium on any tool that is able to help them sort through the deluge of information. And content creators have realized that they can add quick value to their sites by providing a stream of curated content that is relevant to their readers. Bruce Clay Inc., a global internet marketing solutions and optimization company, and PublishThis, a cloud-based content platform and end-to-end content marketing manager studied how curating content as a strategy effects publisher SEO.
Posted May 01, 2013
Naming the top digital media influencers today is no easy task. There are so many great people responsible for developing digital media into the powerhouse it is now and will continue to be in the future. The list of thought-leaders grows every day, but we asked some digital media experts who they felt are the most influential people in the industry and why. We received a wide range of responses from our experts. Most of the nominees are responsible for innovations in digital media that have forever changed our world. There is certainly no lack of big-name innovative companies and their concepts, but they aren't the only ones influencing digital media today.
By - May 2013 Issue, Posted May 01, 2013
Many content experts have often complained about ebook publishers that, unfortunately, don't often take full advantage of the technology and instead simply deliver static, electronic versions of an existing book. To many, this seems like a wasted opportunity to offer more value to readers, but others are starting to offer suggestions on how to improve the experience.
By - April 2013 Issue, Posted Apr 29, 2013
Today's consumers have ravenous appetites for econtent-enough to earn them the nickname "digital omnivores." While that moniker may already be familiar to many electronic publishers and content providers, they may be surprised to learn that, between 2011 to 2012, the digital omnivore population surged 160%, according to the results of Deloitte's recent "State of the Media Democracy" survey.
By - Posted Apr 26, 2013
If "knowledge is power," as the saying goes, then content analytics is a game-changer for any digital publisher concerned with harnessing the power of content. Today, content providers know more about their audiences than ever before. All the data in the world isn't worth much unless you know how to make sense of it and, more importantly, can put a plan into action that capitalizes on what you know.
By - April 2013 Issue, Posted Apr 22, 2013
Content management tools may be getting more sophisticated, but that doesn't mean the job of web publishers is getting any easier. According to a recent Forrester report, The Forrester Wave: Web Content Management For Digital Customer Experience, Q2 2013, plain-old web publishing will not cut it any longer. These days, if you're in the business of web-publishing, you also have to be in the business of creating digital experiences.
Posted Apr 17, 2013
The textbook market has long been ahead of the rest of the publishing industry when it comes to digital books. Textbooks were a natural fit for e-readers, allowing for easy updates and social studying features, but a recent Springer whitepaper, "eBook Use and Acceptance in an Undergraduate Institution," says the proliferation of devices has not necessarily translated to higher ebook acceptance among college students at Wellesley.
By - Posted Apr 10, 2013
Building reader engagement is at the top of every web publisher's to-do list. Getting your users to comment and partake in online discussions is one of the best ways to keep them coming back to your site. But when you open your content to commenters, you also open it to trolls, and many very successful websites with engaged users are still struggling to find ways to foster discussion and drown out the troublemakers.
By - April 2013 Issue, Posted Apr 08, 2013
Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) have long been quietly working behind the scenes to make sure content producers can get their products to consumers. But just like everyone else in the content business, CDNs are facing changes. EContent talked to Charles White, chief revenue officer for Mirror Image about the changes facing his industry.
Posted Apr 05, 2013
When Newsweek announced last year it would be scrapping its print edition after nearly 80 years and migrating fully to the web, it represented the latest example of what appears to be the print world's approach to the inroads of digital: If you can't beat 'em, join 'em.
By - April 2013 Issue, Posted Apr 01, 2013
Content providers are no strangers to the free versus fee debate, but over the past few years some newcomers have entered into the fray. Third-party companies have started offering media passes, often allowing users to manage a variety of digital subscriptions in one place. While some options, such as R.R. Donnelly & Sons Co.'s Press+, have seen measured success, others-offered by big players in the digital media space-have failed.
By - March 2013 Issue, Posted Mar 25, 2013
It wasn't long ago that the position of "chief content officer" was merely a glimmer in the eye of a few particularly tech- and trend-savvy marketing executives. Some time around the turn of the century, as digital media was beginning to cement its foothold in the worlds of marketing and commerce, and as the social media revolution was in its most nascent stages, the idea that a company should employ a director -- or a team, or even a whole department -- to create custom branded content to compellingly and coherently represent their organization in all of its prospective media channels was born.
By - Posted Mar 22, 2013
Customers are one of a company's most valued assets. At the same time, customer data is one of the most valuable assets a company can acquire and use. Knowing how and why a customer is drawn to a company's products and services provides insights organizations can use to deepen that customer engagement into a very profitable relationship. Fortunately for organizations--and especially their marketers--there are many customer data tools that can help a company most effectively and efficiently collect and analyze that customer data.
By - Posted Mar 20, 2013
Maybe it's the cachet that comes with increased media attention. Often it's the quick opportunity to reward eager venture capitalists and other money seeders. Likely it's the promise of liquidity and a quick infusion of cash. But whatever the reason, the allure of going public is hard to ignore for a privately held digital content company that has its sights set on bigger, better things.
By - March 2013 Issue, Posted Mar 18, 2013
In an increasingly challenging publishing world where authors see their prospects fading, Tim Sanders saw opportunity. So he and a team of fellow entrepreneurs recently founded Net Minds, an ambitious new Pasadena, Calif.-based startup that seeks to transform the industry by offering an entirely new model for book writers to bypass traditional and self-publishing.
By - Posted Mar 13, 2013
While the newspaper industry has been embracing the need to charge readers for online content, bloggers have been more hesitant to take the paywall plunge-for good reason. More often than not, bloggers just don't have the audience or name recognition needed to convince readers that their content is worth paying for. But on Jan. 2, 2013, pioneering blogger Andrew Sullivan announced that his popular blog The Dish was leaving The Daily Beast to move to its own subscription-supported model. The media pounced on the news, debating the merits of Sullivan's move. While the discussion continues, it's likely that it will be a while before we know if his bold move will pay off.
By - March 2013 Issue, Posted Mar 11, 2013
Fifteen years ago, Thea Selby and Linda Ruth founded the Exceptional Women in Publishing organization to address what Selby referred to as "the vacuum in women's leadership in the magazine industry." On March 6 at EWIP's fifth annual Women's Leadership Conference, held in San Francisco's elegant Art Nouveau City Club, more than 250 attendees took a moment to reflect back on the massive changes that have taken place in the publishing industry since 1998. But the primary focus of the event was how to leverage the technologies and trends, from video integration to mobile monetization to social media partnering, that stand to radically impact the industry's future.
By - Posted Mar 08, 2013
More art than science, content marketing involves a softer, gentler sales approach that aims to inform and entertain prospects with the unstated goal of turning them into customers. Clever videos, e-books, whitepapers and sponsored e-forums are becoming increasingly popular as businesses see that they drive engagement and ultimately sales.
By - Posted Mar 06, 2013
Digital data has not only gotten "big," as we now put it. Data has gotten fast, unstructured, and overwhelming. According to IBM, 90% of the data in the world has been produced in just the past 2 years. Feeds from social media, offline transactions, user video and image posts, and more all converge into massive dashboards that give marketers and now publishers increasingly real-time, unmediated, and holistic views of the consumer. The big impact of Big Data is only beginning to be felt among content providers, but many in the industry see it as both a threat to the traditional ownership media companies had over audiences and an opportunity to reinvent content as data-driven products and services and to give a struggling media industry new business models.
By - March 2013 Issue, Posted Mar 04, 2013
The Content Marketing Institute reports -- in its 2013 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends -- marketers are now choosing LinkedIn the most for content marketing purposes. In 2011, 71% of B2B marketers posted content to the site formerly associated with nothing more than a virtual resume, but 2012 showed an increase to 83%, with Twitter and Facebook trailing by a nose at 80%.
By - Posted Mar 01, 2013
"Content marketing" has grown from a murkily defined buzzword--or rather, a series of evolving buzzwords including "branded content" and "custom publishing"--into a ubiquitous, and in some high-profile cases demonstrably effective marketing strategy. Whether they knew it or not, millions of American consumers were touched last year by savvy content marketing campaigns from a broad spectrum of brands ranging from Oreo cookies to the Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns. With the rise of content marketing has come a proliferation of solutions for companies lacking the resources or the internal know-how to execute their own content marketing strategies from scratch.
By - Posted Feb 25, 2013
Facebook's January announcement for fourth quarter 2012 revealed 1.06 billion monthly active users on the site and, with those numbers, marketers expect their reach to be vast within the social network. Instead, they were disappointed. A 10-15% view rate of page posts isn't a number that social media marketers like, especially on the most popular social media platform available on the internet, but many continue to struggle with understanding how to be seen.
By - Posted Feb 22, 2013
In a world of free content -- from app to university classes from the likes of Princeton and MIT -- the consumer is making out like a bandit, while content producers wring their hands over the prospect of finding a way to make money. Companies are being forced to find new ways to market their services to encourage people to pay. How? Increasingly, it's through customized experiences.
By - Posted Feb 20, 2013
If you are in the business of digital content-and in this day and age, we all are-you have undoubtedly heard the phrase "content strategy" tossed around lately. You've heard how important strategy is to any content endeavor, but you may still be wondering what that means to you.Content strategy defines how a company is going to use content to meet the needs of a business, guides decisions about content from creation to deletion, and sets benchmarks against which to measure success. Deciding to post a YouTube video is not content strategy, nor are the myriad and growing numbers of features that your CMS offers. A strategy sets a vision for the future. Although it can be revised, it is perennial, not seasonal.
By - January/February 2013 Issue, Posted Feb 18, 2013
Cassey Ho is not your average media mogul. She started out as a Pilates instructor, who used the web as a way to engage with her students by posting workout videos on YouTube. Eventually she started blogging as well, and she developed a following. FITNESS magazine named her the Best Healthy Living Blogger of 2012, and Sharecare called her the second most influential online personality. EContent talked to her about how the web enabled her to turn a passion into a career.
By - Posted Feb 15, 2013
A recent survey discovered that Americans are three times more likely to click on related links at the bottom of an article than content shared on social networking sites.The study, "Behavior Shift: Getting Content in Front of Consumers"-conducted online within the U.S., Oct. 3-5, 2012, among 2,512 adults by Harris Interactive-sought to find out more about the ways in which adults from the U.S. "discover and navigate the Internet's fire hose of content," according to nRelate, a content discovery platform that was behind the study.
By - January/February 2013 Issue, Posted Feb 13, 2013
Five years ago at the inaugural Intelligent Content Conference, there were 35 attendees. The 2013 ICC event, held in San Francisco on February 7 and 8, drew more than three hundred professionals from the disciplines of digital publishing, content management, content marketing, content strategy, mobile communication, and IT. It's as good a sign as any that corporate publishing-that is, businesses outside of traditional publishing using content to drive revenue growth-has moved to center stage.
By - Posted Feb 11, 2013
Socializing Your CEO, a report released by Weber Shandwick indicates that only 18% the CEOs of the largest companies in the world have their own social network pages-a 2% increase from the 2010 report. It would appear that CEOs are simply not jumping on the social media bandwagon, at least not personally. In fact, in a search of the CEOs of the top 25 companies, according to Fortune, Margaret C. Whitman with Hewlett-Packard is the only CEO whose profile shows up (though it lists her as Director of EBay and she only has six connections). What gives?
By - Posted Feb 06, 2013
They say the best things in life are free: love, health, happiness--and maybe even software. Indeed, completely gratis open source software (OSS) with no licensing strings attached is all the rage today, as evidenced by the popularity and proliferation of OSS products currently in use, including the Apache HTTP Server, Linux, Android operating systems, internet browser Mozilla Firefox, and ecommerce platform osCommerce.
By - January/February 2013 Issue, Posted Jan 28, 2013
There's a strong case to be made that 2012 was the year Twitter came of age. Founded in 2006, it was one of the earlier Silicon Valley social media Cinderella stories. It overcame a head-scratching premise-remember the days when 140 characters seemed like an impossibly short constraint in which to express oneself?-to become a ubiquitous global channel of information. Twitter is now a de rigueur component of the news media, celebrity entertainment, and even the American political discourse. Think Twitter town hall meetings.
By - January/February 2013 Issue, Posted Jan 23, 2013
Guy Kawasaki probably needs no introduction, but just for the record, he is the author of 12 books, a former chief evangelist for Apple, and an entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of Alltop.com and a founding partner at Garage Technology Ventures. And now he is an "artisanal publisher." Kawasaki teamed up with Shawn Welch to write and publish APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur. Kawasaki is now a bit of an evangelist for "artisanal publishing" and took the time to answer some of EContent's questions about his book and trends in publishing.
By - Posted Jan 21, 2013
From traditional desktop PCs and laptops to smartphones, tablets, consoles, and interactive TVs, consumers are using more devices than ever before. That puts added pressure on digital content companies (DCCs) to ensure an ideal user experience when people switch between these various screens. As a result, many businesses are turning to responsive web design (RWD), which can create a single source of web content that displays in a readable and relatively controlled way anywhere it's viewed. RWD's single code base delivers to any screen, so that when a change needs to be made to a web page, it only needs to be done once, saving valuable time and money. But while RWD can, under ideal circumstances, adjust your content according to the device and enable more fluid and responsive interaction, it doesn't always work across the board and may not be the best option, especially compared to traditional user experience (UX) design, some experts say.
By - Posted Jan 18, 2013
Any self-respecting electronic publisher knows that content must adapt to the latest technologies and platforms to remain relevant to a fickle public. Today that means making your product available on as many portable devices as possible. "Users are turning to their smartphones and tablets more than ever before to search, play, shop and access the content they love while on the go. That's why it's critical to put your content, brand or business on an app, keeping users engaged and tuned in," says Li-at Karpel Gurwicz, marketing manager for Conduit Mobile. "Consumers want to be informed and entertained at the click of a button, and by putting your content at their fingertips at all times, you'll stay ahead of the competition as you increase brand awareness and build your online community."
By - Posted Jan 14, 2013
Gartner has predicted that, by 2015, "big data" will generate 4.4 million jobs globally. The bad news? Only one-third of those jobs will be filled. Why? There is a shortage of skilled analysts to do the work.
By - Posted Jan 11, 2013
The ability to build online networks has been boosted significantly by social media sites that deliver literally millions of potential prospects to content providers hoping to grow an audience. These sites vastly expedite the process of gaining online momentum requiring much less time and expense than what was required prior to the days of Web 2.0.
By - Posted Jan 07, 2013
The naming of Ray Kurzweil as Google's new director of engineering in late 2012 may not have registered as even a blip on the radar of many digital content companies (DCCs). But this simple hiring announcement concerning the famous futurist, author, and inventor may, in fact, represent a symbolic milestone in the rapidly changing information age. Because it's yet another sign that smart DCCs-including Google-value the promise and potential of artificial intelligence (AI), which Kurzweil has long preached has the capacity to greatly enhance our lives.
By - Posted Jan 02, 2013
While without a doubt the internet has made it easier to search for jobs-from such general job-seeking sites as Monster.com to more specialized ones such as JournalismJobs.com-it has also, in some cases, made it more difficult for someone to get hired. According to a survey released in April by CareerBuilder, LLC, nearly 2 in 5 companies use social networking sites to research job candidates. And a March survey from Eurocom Worldwide shows that 1 in 5 technology industry executives admit to rejecting an applicant based on his or her social media profile.
By - December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 31, 2012
The EContent team suggests some sites, projects, and resources that, while outside the scope of the EContent 100 list, are well-worth a closer look.
December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 21, 2012
With its generous use of color and graphics--and its emphasis on shorter news stories--USA TODAY, the self-described "nation's newspaper," made a big splash when it stepped onto the national news scene 30 years ago in September 1982."USA TODAY sort of imagined what web publishing, web content would look like before we knew there was going to be a web," says Alan D. Mutter, a consultant specializing in corporate initiatives and new media ventures involving journalism and technology.
By - December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 19, 2012
The 2012-2013 EContent 100, a list of the 100 Companies that Matter Most in the Digital Content Industry.
December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 04, 2012
The digital content industry is constantly in flux, but perhaps never more so than in 2012. From Facebook's IPO to Newsweek's announcement that it will go all-digital in 2013, it's been a big year for econtent--and for EContent. Submissions for this year's EContent 100 list were better than ever, and consequently our judges had their work cut out for them. It was a spirited debate-one that often embodied much of the debate that surrounds the larger content business. What truly makes a company successful in the digital world? That's the question we set out to answer with this year's EContent 100 list.
December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 04, 2012
Here are the eight professionals who decided which companies would make the EContent 100.
December 2012 Issue, Posted Dec 04, 2012
For every brave soul that posts a comment on a website or blog there are likely hundreds of others simply lurking in the background. Content providers crave interaction and want to encourage discussion, yet many find themselves faced with a dearth of comments, save for perhaps those spammy postings that pop up every once in a while. What can they do?
By - Posted Nov 30, 2012
"Cyber Monday" may have come and gone, but that doesn't mean America is done with its online holiday shopping. In fact, a recent LivePerson survey found that 63% of shoppers plan to do 50% or more of their holiday shopping online. And this holiday season retailers have relatively new tool at their disposal with sites like the wildly-popular Pinterest.
By - Posted Nov 28, 2012
For electronic content providers and digital publishers, the age-old question remains: fee or free? Today, the answer for many lies somewhere in between-in other words, freemium. As a business model, freemium-offering a completely gratis but possibly feature-limited product or service that also allows options for premium upgrades/options that users can pay for-is increasingly in vogue, as evidenced by the popularity of Facebook, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, Dropbox, Google, and countless other businesses offering free versions of products used by millions today. (Case in point: IHS recently revealed that an astounding 96% of all smartphone apps downloaded in 2011 were free.)
By - November 2012 Issue, Posted Nov 26, 2012
What happens if the lights go out? It's a question that strikes fear into the hearts of content providers everywhere--especially those that have transitioned from preserving hard copies to digital storage. Decisions about how to protect content-in this case, digital content--should be based both on an assessment of the purpose and value of that content and the development of a policy that outlines what is stored and how it is stored.
By - November 2012 Issue, Posted Nov 20, 2012
As the publishing industry continues to evolve, publishers are experimenting with new online models. But to find the right commerce solution, you must think about your primary objectives. Are you building a branded content destination, or are you glad to attract followers around the edges of the digital world in social media outlets or around other properties that do not bear your brand name? Is video an enhancement to your message or a distraction? Is your content valuable to other brands? All of these things must be considered before you choose a commerce model.
By - November 2012 Issue, Posted Nov 19, 2012
If it's not your job to pour over your site's Google Analytics results you may not have noticed that the search giant announced, just over a year ago, that it would make SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) search the default for signed-in users - and you definitely wouldn't have realized the effect this has on your company's SEO efforts. Optify recently took a look at what this change has meant for marketers and put its findings into a study dubbed "Google Not Provided On the Rise: The Impact of Google's SSL Enhancement on SEO Data."
Posted Nov 16, 2012
Pinterest is a relatively new entrant to the social media market. As a virtual pinboard, the mission of the site is to "connect everyone in the world through the ‘things' they find interesting." The site offers some examples under the heading "What Can You Do With Pinterest?" that include: redecorating your home, planning a wedding, finding your style, saving your inspirations and saving your recipes. While these suggested uses are prevalent among the site's participants, other uses are springing up regularly as individuals and businesses find new, and increasingly practical, uses. Content providers are among them-using Pinterest to share information on the environment, events, jobs and more.
By - Posted Nov 14, 2012
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