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Malhar Barai (Global) - The Content Conundrum : Redefining the Content Strategy

Content can be defined as any information in form of text, image, video, audio or ‘Simply put, content is contextualized data'.

Only about few years back we had what I call as “unidirectional” sharing of content – be it in the form of newspapers, radio or television. Use of wired telephones was a premium as probably that was the only medium people “exchanged” information. But since then the communication channels have matured, more with the advent of internet & other innovations in the communication industry like advanced computing, high internet speeds, mobile devices, multiple telecommunication channels – 2G, 3G. But all the while this growth was slow and steady. Cut that to today and we see in the last couple of years there has been a sudden influx of communication channels & devices with varying form factors – from the next generation mobile phones aka smartphones to the launch of tablets. Coupled with availability of internet on-the-go there is big change across the content lifecycle.

The situation had dawned now to the content producers as they are faced with a situation where similar content is being shared across different. The print medium which had few inhibitions earlier when they were pinned to legacy system, have indeed gone digital, but now digital has gone a step further with the quest to have smarter, anytime-anywhere content. And with IDC estimating the smartphone markets to grow by 50%, we know where the world is going now.

Content providers are bewildered with the fact that a lack of clear content strategy has a direct effect on their time-to-market coupled with multiple devices for which content needs to be delivered.

This disruptive innovation for consumption of content across multiple platforms coupled with “socialization” of content (getting viral) has created a major “content conundrum” requiring the content providers to align their “content strategy” to suit the current needs.

The newer strategy needs to cover multiple business facets:

1. Time to market

In the bid to take the ‘First Mover’ advantage, the foremost challenge was for a content provider is to make their content available ASAP. So we now have gigs of information being fed to the editorial system every minute by a dedicated team of individuals or ‘smart’ spiders who scout multiple channels for latest information. Within the content supply chain, the content thus received gets standardized, tagged & is made available for consumers across multiple channels.

2. ‘Smart’ Information (Viral, User Generated Content)

The other need of the content provider is to produce ‘smart’ content. For it, they need to add semantic capabilities (tagging, relevance mechanism) ensuring that the content is easily discoverable & also it can be easily found by various search engines.

Secondly, the content providers can leverage on the passive audience i.e the consumers to share content. If you look at any of the recent events, content providers have relied upon UGC to give them the latest content.

3. Device Friendly

Given the market dynamics, every content provider needs to have multiple delivery channels spanning across print, web & mobile (smartphones & tablets). The content has to be standardized to fit into multiple screen formats using XML, HTML5 & portable across iOS, Android and other platforms. The need is to scale up the present day platforms & enable them to deliver across multiple channels simultaneously.
These few point cover the core of the ‘new’, ‘smart’ content strategies which are in addition to the various underlying points like aggregation, transformation, monetization, etc.

Remember, at the end of the day, everything single piece of information is content and making it available to the masses at the right time has to be goal. There is a chance that companies will reevaluate the list based on its requirements as a content provider. But having the strategy to include the newer disruptions should help in critical business success.

By Malhar Barai, Domain Presales Manager at Mahindra Satyam

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