3. Embrace channel-neutral content creation
To efficiently produce multichannel content, publishers need to eliminate print-first thinking and unhelpful channel-specific workflows. ‘It’s all about channel-neutral publishing and content orchestration,’ says Leyhue.
Channel-neutral publishing makes it quicker, easier and cheaper to create multichannel content because it strips away all the extra steps that are introduced when you prepare content ‘for print’ or ‘for the website’ or ‘for the app’.
With channel-neutral publishing, you focus on creating high-quality content. This is then coded and automatically pushed into channel templates. So one piece of content feeds every platform you publish to.
John Fong, the Managing Director at WoodWing Digital Publishing Services, explains.
‘Channels change, but articles are fundamentally the same, wherever you publish them. They comprise the same editorial and design elements. The body copy. The headline. The byline. The captions. Channel-neutral publishing is about breaking down and identifying every part of an article, so it can be easily recognized and rebuilt on any platform.’
Or, as Dani Leyhue pictures it, it’s like Tetris. You have all of your content blocks and they simply slot together to fill different spaces.
4. Make experimentation easier
Faster, more efficient multichannel publishing isn’t the only advantage of creating your content in a channel-neutral way. It also makes it easier for you to experiment with new channels and products, and increase your opportunities to grow readership, reach, and revenue.
This is because you’re not creating content for print, content for your website, etc. You’re creating content in a format that can be more easily used for ANY platform. This means that when the next ‘big thing’ comes along, your content is ready to slip easily into that platform.
‘At the moment, every new channel requires time, process change, and cost-benefit decisions about how we’re going to handle production to accommodate it,’ explains Craig Llewelyn-Williams, Principal Consultant at The App Lab, a digital product consultancy specializing in content and subscription products. ‘‘People are trying to think of new parallel workflows into new channels. Whereas, with a channel-neutral approach, the content is there and ready to go. It’s a different story.’
‘Apple News - or Amazon channels - are a great example of how much effort is needed to service a new platform - even before that platform’s value has been proved. If you have your content available in a channel-neutral way, you’re more ready to take advantage of new opportunities as they arise, with less investment and risk. Having content ready - in an HTML format - ready to go to multiple endpoints. That’s the endgame for publishers looking for the agility to harness emerging opportunities.’