Timeless Principles for agencies struggling to transition from print to online.
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JOSEPH STEVENSON is a marketing expert, author, consultant and public speaker. He is a seasoned digital marketing expert with over 20 years of experience. Joseph is the author of three bestsellers, including The The Little Book on Digital Marketing Series and his latest, Keeping Up: Staying relevant in an ever-changing digital marketing landscape. Joseph has been called “the digital marketing expert of the decade” due to the influence of Joseph’s Blog, which has exceeded number one status in the highest populated cities in the United States. Joseph has advanced degrees and training in business and marketing and is currently pursuing a Masters from Stanford.
“Why in the hell should I have to sell myself out and change my writing just so Google likes it? My readers aren’t going to read a sell-out.”
— Reporter at Pittsburgh Post Gazette
In the late 1700’s the Pittsburgh Post Gazette was formed. Like most newspapers is has a rich history and thrived on the quality of it’s content and talent of it’s reporters for over three centuries.
It wasn’t until recently that the newspaper faced a new challenge. Previously the PPG had dealt with rising costs, strikes and internal scheming that nearly toppled the newspaper. Throughout them all the paper survived, but the new challenge would prove to be tougher than any previous ones.
“The introduction of the internet caused catostrophic consequences for newspapers.”
With access to the internet for households came the decrease in newspaper subscribers. Bloggers, News Stations and Freelance Writers flooded the internet with news, which caused a steep decline in paid subscriptions.
In an effort to shore up the PPG, owners created an online version. The move was typical of newspapers but not done in a timely enough manner to avoid layoffs and downsizing.
“The fall-out of the internet explosion rippled through every news agency in the world. None were immune large or small.”
Like most papers throughout the United States the Gazette was left with a small paid readership and a large online audience. Reporters were still employed, but were now forced to create content that worked well in print and online.
Reporters in the past had only worried about the quality of the content, not the distribution. With less staff and online readers, reports now had to learn proper online distribution and interaction with followers.
Most reporters and writers are still learning to create internet-friendly content and engage with readership.
UNFORTUNATELY, THIS IS NOT AN ABNORMAL STORY
I have worked with the PPG since 2017. They are a reputable news source with dedicated reporters and a drive to deliver accurate and timely news. Despite their drive for excellence, they have suffered due to the rise in use of the internet. Their story is not abnormal. In fact it has become the norm for newspapers, magazines and other print media.
Their struggles can be tied directly to the massive shift in the consumption of information. Every print agency in the world has dealt with the same issues and some have not survived like PPG has.
I wrote this book to first teach others how to keep up in a changing landscape of information consumption. The directions in this book are universal and can be applied both online and offline. The goal is not to teach the reader how to use the internet in it’s current state, but to engage with people in a way that will keep them as readers and customers while the mediums change around us.
I have divided the chapters up by acquisition type including organic, paid, social, controlled and non-controlled. Depending on what you do will change who you are trying to reach. You may be after readers, followers, downloaders or any other type of person. This won’t matter as long as you apply the timeless principles of reaching people that are taught in this book.
GETTING THE MOST OUT OF THIS BOOK
“Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers.”
— Pierre-Marc-Gaston de Lévis
Now, let’s pause. Do I expect you to read this book and be able to raise your entire company from utter ruin in a day? No. A week? No. Months? Years? To all these questions it is impossible to know the time-frame or ability you will have to re-gain readers, followers etc. You may never be able to recover from the initial impact. This isn’t meant to discourage, but inspire you to look outside the box and create something new. Old things have gone away. Be inquisitive, curious and plan to change things up.
My suggestion is that you spend real time creating notes while you read in areas you feel could most help you. Then question the norm and look for another way to approach it. Think outside the box. Go after new people, new industries and be brave. Use this book as a guideline to try new things but also engage in timeless principles of interacting with people.
Best of luck in your endeavors.
— Joseph Stevenson