We talk to a lot of publisher, a lot, and they generally fall into a couple of buckets (which I’ll elaborate on in a future post). Like most small businesses, publishers have more to do than time to do it and as a result they want to cut to the chase – which is completely understandable but problematic.
Henry Ford’s famous quote, “If I’d have asked people what they wanted in better transportation they would have said a faster horse.” This applies to the digitization of media more than I’d like to think. When I call publishers think we’re a digital edition/flipbook, a ‘magazine website developer’, and a vendor but Locable is none of these things. We build community online by extending the local brand and relationships of the magazine (sometimes community paper) but to a publisher that makes about as much sense as an automobile, horseless carriage, did to someone riding a saddle.
Here’s the rub, what one thing would you say to describe a car to someone that’s never seen a car? The motor? Well, how does that new fangled engine get the thing to move? The wheels? Well how do I control it? And the list goes on.
The challenge to the web for most people especially those looking to diversify an established print business is simply that it’s more complicated. What content to feature, where it comes from, how it gets distributed and the like are just more complicated than the core-team, freelance writer, printer formula for print.
So, the magic bullet is really a program of activities that – wait for it – extend the things the publisher does in print in new ways and incorporates technology to digitize the ‘brand’ not the magazine. We’ve continued to struggle with how we explain what we do to publishers in a way that they’ll get an actually resembles reality and so we’ve developed a 90 second video and a graphic to give the 30,000 foot view but the only way to understand what needs to happen online to be successful is to see it, touch it, feel it and then do it.
In just the second post you’re starting to see a theme, common responses and expectations from publishers of local community titles.