Niche Publishers and Content: Information on a Silver Platter

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Expanding Content Delivery Channels

GlobalSpec and other niche content providers use that proprietary insight to help guide them as they expand the scope of their offerings and the ways in which they deliver their content-down to what content they actually deliver.

Manafy says that FreePint recognizes that readers can suffer from information overload. They don't always have the time to consume the high-quality content they need. "We have chosen to slice [the content] up," explains Manafy. For instance, from a content creation perspective, FreePint can create a 5,000-word piece about a particular topic, as well as a 500-word executive summary on that same topic, along with a blog post about it. "There are so many ways it
has to be cross-purposed," notes Manafy. "The fundamental skills of serving the readers-those are still true. But the way we do that is different. Content needs to be flexible and repurpose-able. It requires a new school of thought."

GlobalSpec has broadened the depth of its offerings from more traditional electronic publications with virtual events. In 2011, the company is slated to run 30 virtual trade shows. "That is just another new platform where engineers come to find knowledge around products and vendors in the space," says Killeen.
Killeen says that the idea of a webinar 5 years ago didn't appeal much to either the buy side (the content users) or the sell side (the vendors) of GlobalSpec's business. "They like the face-to-face," says Killeen. In a sluggish economic environment-in which many organizations' budgets have been slashed-bringing people together in a more cost-effective way began to make sense for GlobalSpec's entire customer base (buyers and sellers). "When we asked two years ago, there was some resonance," recalls Killeen. "It was a natural maturation. The time has arrived." GlobalSpec tested three virtual shows in 2009 and hosted 20 in 2010. More than 3 months into 2011, GlobalSpec had more than 50,000 total attendees.

The virtual events are free, 1-day interactive events. Attendees can view presentations much like they would view them at a live event, and they can interact live with speakers during Q&A sessions. They can also interact with suppliers in the virtual exhibit hall. The events also enable attendees to interact with other professionals in their industry. Additionally, they can collect other GlobalSpec content, from white papers to data sheets.

Killeen says that as he looks out 2-3 years, virtual events will become a very large part of GlobalSpec's business.

Content aggregators, such as Zinio, LLC-which distributes digital magazine and book content-have noticed delivery expectations are changing in terms of devices as well. "As more devices come out, the devices start to drive content interests," says Jeanniey Mullen, global executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Zinio. Zinio tracks such user behaviors and characteristics (including location, time zone, and demographics) with solutions from Digital Element, including its NetAcuity IP Intelligence technology. It is used to help Zinio more effectively determine how it can best serve content consumption and delivery needs.

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