Erik J. Martin

Erik J. Martin is a freelance writer.


Articles by Erik J. Martin


Few companies have the potential to dramatically alter the electronic content landscape like Google, which continues to regularly roll out new apps, tools and technologies that make digital publishers sit up and take notice. It's a big reason why Google's annual I/O conference is so closely watched by players in the industry. I/O 2014, held in late June, didn't fail to excite those eager to read the tech tea leaves and develop forward-thinking strategies for success. Here are five of the top takeaways from the conference of importance to content providers.
News/News Feature - Posted Jul 16, 2014
The government is sitting up and taking notice of what it calls a growing threat to online safety and security: malware attacks. And if the industry isn't more careful, it may be forced to abide by stricter rules and oversight governing online advertisements that could come down the pike.
News/News Feature - Posted Jun 20, 2014
Being an omnivore can have its advantages-as evidenced by the evolutionary dominance humans have enjoyed over other animals that only eat meat or plants. Likewise, being an omnichannel marketer may give you a leg up on your competition in the survival-of-the-fittest game of appealing to contemporary consumers, say the experts.
News/News Feature - Posted Jun 18, 2014
Tablets may currently be all the rage among consumers worldwide (comScore reports that 72 million Americans own one), but college students may be cooling to these devices, based on the latest data. Approximately 29% of students indicate owning a tablet in 2014, but that's a slight dip since last year (28%), according to a recent report from Ball State University. By contrast, smartphone ownership among college students is currently over 88%, up from about 72% in 2013, per the same report.
News/News Feature - Posted May 09, 2014
Remember print books, those antiquated relics of a bygone age that pundits and prognosticators had forsaken and buried a long time ago? Apparently, they're back in vogue and not going away anytime soon, which should make digital publishers and authors sit up and take notice.
News/News Feature - March 2014 Issue, Posted Mar 10, 2014
Some folks wear their hearts on their sleeves. But before long, it's more likely they'll wear their hard drives. Welcome to the age of wearable tech, where everyday attire from wristbands and eyeglasses to shirts and shoes are transformed into cutting-edge computers designed to receive, transmit, and display information in ways never before imagined.
Editorial/Feature - March 2014 Issue, Posted Mar 03, 2014
What does it mean to be online today? Increasingly, it means being part of the "now" and interactively tapping into the communal and cultural zeitgeist. And that, of course, means being connected to some form of social media. From aNobii to Zooppa, social networking sites are dominating cyberspace and becoming impossible for digital publishers and electronic content providers to ignore, and for good reason. People everywhere want to be part of an electronic conversation that is happening at this very moment via popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, and Yelp. They want to chime in with opinions; share ideas, photos, and videos with family, friends, and followers; stay updated with favorite movers, shakers, and brands; and remain engaged in a dynamic digital dialogue, whether at home, at work, or on-the-go.
Editorial/Feature - January/February 2014 Issue, Posted Feb 19, 2014
Of all the routine activities that have become ingrained in our daily rituals-from getting dressed in the morning to eating dinner at night-one is climbing the ranks faster than nearly any other: pressing "play" online. Indeed, watching internet video has arguably become the nation's favorite new pastime, as indicated by the latest data. In September alone, nearly 189 million Americans-87% of U.S. internet users-viewed 46 billion online videos, the average length of which was 5.1 minutes, comScore reports. One hundred hours of video are uploaded every minute to YouTube. And consumer internet video traffic globally will comprise 69% of all consumer internet traffic by 2017, up from 57% tallied in 2012, according to Cisco.
Editorial/Feature - January/February 2014 Issue, Posted Feb 14, 2014
Selling ebooks the old fashioned way-offering a fixed price for one digital tome that the reader owns for eternity-is the tried-and-true approach most publishers take. But just as some consumers prefer to lease a car, prepay for a set amount of mobile minutes, or sign up for movies streamed monthly, there is a niche audience that's interested in an unconventional approach to the conventional acquisition of electronic books-and an array of providers capable of catering to this demand.
News/News Feature - Posted Jan 02, 2014
When you want to construct a home, you need a carefully planned blueprint in place before you purchase and assemble the lumber and other essential components. The same is true of an effective advertising campaign, which requires setting specific goals before creating the content and buying space. Yet, many advertisers today are doing the opposite-building their campaign in reverse without any end goal or vision of what their finished advertising "house" should look like, experts say.
News/News Feature - November 2013 Issue, Posted Nov 25, 2013
Predicting exactly how waves will break upon the shore is nearly impossible. But forecasting waves that travel along social media streams is more than doable-it's already happening, according to a collection of studies recently published in Internet Research. Consider that virtually every move we make on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media channels is being recorded in some form as documentable data. That data, apparently, can be prescient when collected on a large scale and carefully examined by social and computer scientists who are skilled at examining online behavior. These experts now have the ability, based on identifiable trends, to foresee likely outcomes such as election results, book sales, and movie box office success.
News/News Feature - Posted Nov 13, 2013
Traditionally, publishers were limited in pursuing two time-tested avenues to revenue: selling subscriptions and/or advertising. But lately, content commerce strategies like in-text advertising and sponsored content have come of age, providing the potential to change the digital content dynamic and excite publishers that are struggling to remain relevant to readers and users.
News/News Feature - Posted Oct 30, 2013
In August of 1981, a fledgling cable TV channel launched that forever changed music, television, advertising, marketing, and pop culture. The format was pretty simple: play popular videos around the clock that are introduced and commented on by live hosts and fill around the edges with original programming. Now, 32 years after MTV's arrival, the focus is on social, not music videos, and another revolution is underway that may completely redefine how we think about, consume, and interact with live and prerecorded visual content-courtesy of HuffPost Live (HPL).
Editorial/Feature - October 2013 Issue, Posted Oct 21, 2013
With his recent acquisition of the Washington Post, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos believes he can persuade readers to pony up for a daily bundle of news on a tablet, similar to traditional print bundles. "People will buy a package. They will not pay for a story," Bezos said recently during a meeting with editors and reporters. If his plan works, it could serve as a viable business strategy for other digital publishers going forward-especially if paywalls aren't working and if those news bundles are personalized for readers, say the experts.
News/News Feature - Posted Oct 16, 2013
To app providers, consumers can appear to be a rather fickle, easily distracted bunch, as evidenced by the latest data. Yes, they're downloading more tablet and smartphone apps than ever before (ABI Research estimates that 70 billion will be downloaded globally in 2013), but they're spending less time per session engaging with apps, according to a new study conducted by Localytics.
News/News Feature - Posted Sep 18, 2013
Digital editions, paywalls, and consolidation aren't the only life rafts that can help keep newspapers afloat today. The fate of many valued dailies and weeklies may also rest in the hands of big boys with big bucks aiming for private but powerful ownership. Jeff Bezos' recent purchase of the Washington Post certainly isn't a one-off anomaly. Earlier this year, Boston Red Sox owner John W. Henry snatched up The Boston Globe, Wellesley businessman Aaron Kushner bought the Orange County Register and six other dailies last year, and in 2011 the San Diego Union-Tribune was sold to hotelier Doug Manchester. Additionally, Warren Buffett acquired dozens of local papers, the newest of which are the Roanoke Times and Press of Atlantic City (although his investment firm recently dumped shares of Gannett).
News/News Feature - Posted Aug 23, 2013
Purveyors of traditional electronic content often rely on content management systems (CMS) to maintain and update text, visuals, and other media on websites. But companies that offer consumer packaged goods (CPG) face more complex challenges when they want to deliver high quality e-content to consumers who trust that the information listed for a product in a brick-and-mortar or online store is accurate. Hence, they typically turn to product content management (PCM) systems and software.
News/News Feature - Posted Aug 16, 2013
As social media continues on its quest to dominate the way we interact with the web, users benefit from inventive new tools, resources, and capabilities as well as greater specialization and focus. But it's not just the Facebooks and Twitters of the world that offer value and innovation. Often, it's the smaller players that infuse creativity and practical ingenuity into the social space, especially for niche audiences.In particular, three relatively new social platforms merit a closer look based on their distinctive features, approaches and functionality-and for garnering increased attention from social media experts.
News/News Feature - Posted Jul 29, 2013
Pay per click (PPC) marketers everywhere undoubtedly have July 22, 2013 circled on their calendar. That's the date when Google will automatically upgrade all AdWords accounts from legacy to enhanced campaigns that haven't already made the switch. And those who aren't prepared for the transition are in for quite a change, say the experts.
News/News Feature - Posted Jul 15, 2013
Physical books, movies, albums, and video games can easily be swapped and resold between different owners without fear of reprisal from the original publishers/copyright holders. So why can't the same be true of digital versions of these and other media? That's the question more consumers are asking, according to results of a recent WorldPay study titled the "Digital Generation Report."
News/News Feature - Posted Jun 28, 2013
When it comes to online advertising, the natives are getting restless-but less so when native ads are used instead of banner ads, apparently. Consumers visually engage more often with native ads than traditional banner ads and in a manner comparable to editorial content, according to the results of a recent study conducted by Sharethrough, in conjuction with IPG Media Lab.
News/News Feature - Posted Jun 05, 2013
They say home is where the heart is. But judging by its lukewarm initial reception from users, that adage may not be so true of Facebook Home, the social media giant's new software suite for certain Android devices that's designed to dominate home and lock screens with social networking capabilities. Yet, despite only being downloaded between 500,000 and 1 million times since it launched in early April and notwithstanding its 2.2 out of five stars average rating from nearly 15,000 users, according to the Google Play Store, experts say Facebook Home may hold promising potential for digital content providers (DCPs) to push their brands and offerings.
News/News Feature - Posted May 31, 2013
While it may be easier than ever to disseminate content to the public via the web, it's not easy to build and monetize your audience and quickly expand a fledgling presence into a thriving publishing empire. Nevertheless, every year a few more brave souls take a leap of faith into the great econtent unknown and manage to make a go of it. Here is their advice to the future digital publishers of the world.
Editorial/Feature - May 2013 Issue, Posted May 13, 2013
Traditional web publishing won't cut it anymore--not in an age when digital experiences by users are so highly valued. That's one of the key findings of a report issued by Forrester Research. It's also a sentiment echoed by many industry experts who recognize the increased importance of creating and managing multichannel customer experiences and the transitioning of web content management (WCM) into digital experience (DX) management.
News/News Feature - Posted May 10, 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.
News/News Feature - Posted Apr 26, 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.
Editorial/Feature - 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.
News/News Feature - Posted Mar 13, 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.
Editorial/Feature - January/February 2013 Issue, Posted Jan 28, 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.
News/News Feature - 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."
News/News Feature - Posted Jan 14, 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.
News/News Feature - Posted Jan 02, 2013
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.)
Editorial/Feature - November 2012 Issue, Posted Nov 26, 2012
First there was Blogger. Then there was Twitter. Now, somewhere in between those concepts is Medium, the ambitious new creation of co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams, who are responsible for all three social media online publishing tools.Launched recently by Williams' and Stone's Obvious Corp., Medium offers a fresh take on blogging by combining some of the best features already built into competitor sites such as Tumblr, Pinterest, reddit, and Zeen. Medium's design lets users collaborate on works consisting of words and/or images that are published on the site. After reading a work, users can provide feedback to the author, indicate if they liked it, and supplement it with additional content.
News/News Feature - November 2012 Issue, Posted Nov 12, 2012
Author J.K. Rowling knows how to cast a spell on readers with her enthralling stories. But she and her publisher probably wish they had a magic wand that could undo the troublesome technical defect in the faulty first run of the ebook version of her new novel, The Casual Vacancy.
News/News Feature - Posted Oct 05, 2012
Shrewd social commerce partnerships can do more than increase hits and generate online buzz. They can also employ technology to benefit worthy causes, as evidenced by a new initiative launched by Hearst Digital Media and mulu, an online social network platform that enables users to share product recommendations and designate a portion of the purchase proceeds to a chosen charity or nonprofit group.
News/News Feature - Posted Sep 07, 2012
Are the web content management systems (WCMs) that many digital publishers and web content producers use today outdated? Yes, according to a new report authored by Mountain View, Calif.-headquartered market research and analysis firm Frost & Sullivan, entitled "Web Content Management Systems: So Five Years Ago."
News/News Feature - Posted Aug 08, 2012
Some would call it shrewd guerilla marketing, 2012 style. Others would call it high-mileage performance art. Deborah Emin and Suzanne Pyrch simply call it a fun way to traverse the country and meet some new people on the road-with the added perk of publicizing their self-published books.Emin and Pyrch, partner publishers of Sullivan Street Press (SSP), recently embarked on a two-month road trip with the intent of travelling from their home base of New York City to Las Vegas over several weeks. Their Prius is carefully packed with the necessary gear to camp overnight at numerous stops along the way.
News/News Feature - Posted Jul 18, 2012
Word up to would-be writers, novelists, self-help scribes and long-form authors everywhere: Get ready to turn the page and make the jump from print to pixels. Because if you haven't transitioned to electronic publishing yet, you'll need to get up to speed fast and not only learn what it takes to make an ebook, but also how and where best to sell it.
News/News Feature - Posted Jul 11, 2012
They say content is king. While that remains a royal truism, this monarch's loyal subjects are clamoring for a new castle to be built—one where the walls aren't paper-thin and fading fast. Ask Mark Gross, president and CEO of Data Conversion Laboratory, Inc. (DCL), a Fresh Meadows, N.Y.-based content conversion and publishing services business, and he'll tell you that, while paper won't disappear entirely over the next few years, most content published will be electronic—including legacy content.
News/News Feature - July/August 2012 Issue, Posted Jul 09, 2012
Many media prognosticators continue to spew a doom-and-gloom forecast for online newspapers, digital publishers and marketers, and electronic content providers. But Roger McNamee, managing director/founding partner of private equity firm Elevation Partners, foresees a more optimistic near-term future for these players-provided they get with the program, specifically HTML 5 and mobile apps.
News/News Feature - Posted Apr 20, 2012
Hot gossip, recipes, cute baby photos and juicy tidbits about office Christmas party shenanigans aren't the only things being shared on Facebook these days. Many folks actually use the social network king to pass on interesting news articles, too. In fact, a look at what made the list of the top 40 most shared articles on Facebook in 2011 can offer some interesting clues to publishers and media outlets as to what makes a story "shareable."
News/News Feature - Posted Dec 16, 2011
The cartoonish graphic is clean, colorful and simple: A young girl curls up on a park bench to scan the top headlines on her tablet while an assumedly older, bespectacled man sitting next to her is riveted to the local print newspaper he holds up to his face. Anchored below the art is a commanding headline that is terse, direct, and assured: "Smart is the new sexy," it asserts. And as a closing statement, the motto "The newspaper-get it" floats in the bottom right corner.
News/News Feature - Posted Nov 07, 2011