Roar of the greasepaint

In October, I presented (and posted) a set of thoughts that called on publishers to think of “context first”. For those looking to prosper in a world increasingly dependent on context, I offered four principles, the last of which was this:

“We will distinguish ourselves if we can provide readers with tools that draw upon context to help them manage abundance.”

Bonnier’s announcement last week of “News +” for tablets fits nicely in the category of tools that help manage abundance. As minonline noted, the service is designed to help users “filter out the din of the web”.

Although I am not one to claim apps will save publishing, the use of an app to help readers find and consume content could be a good investment. The current service (debuting in Sweden and Denmark) focuses on curated content, but it’s easy to see a day when personal preferences further focus what content is found and read.

Another example: earlier this week Highwire announced that it had partnered with the American Heart Association to launch six mobile web sites on topics that include heart failure, arrhythmia and cardiovascular genetics. The web-based mobile service delivers vertical (niche) content in a way that makes sense for a mobile environment.

Earlier this month, you may have seen that GoogleNews announced a test of two metatags, syndication-source and original-source. The specific goal: help readers better manage extensively syndicated content. A Nieman blog post notes that tags like these are “one of the many tools Google uses to determine which articles most deserve consumers’ attention.”

To prepare for a content world that is increasingly metadata-driven, publishers need to revise workflows to start with context. Content producers who structure and tag content with discovery and consumption in mind will have a leg up on those who are continuing to produce relatively static content for containers.

A brief note: O’Reilly Media has added my presentation on this topic to the agenda for the Tools of Change conference that takes place next February. I don’t have a final date and time yet; I’ll post that information on our Events tab when it becomes available.

About Brian O'Leary

Founder and principal of Magellan Media Consulting, Brian O’Leary helps enterprises with media and publishing components capitalize on the power of content. A veteran of more than 30 years in the publishing industry and a prolific content producer himself, Brian leverages the breadth and depth of his experience to deliver innovative content solutions.

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