Digital Directions: 8 Tips for Driving Digital Change in Your Company
Here are the best ways to begin or continue to get traction in the digital realm in 2010.
1.Have a three- to 30-month digital plan.
Map out a plan for digital initiatives that will take place between three and 30 months from now. Include activities related to content conversion, digital process innovation, digital asset conversion and management, digital product development and digital marketing. Why three to 30 months? The next 90 days is already committed, and too much will change in the next 30 months—there are too many variables.
2. Make greater use of Word templates.
I know this one sounds terribly mundane, but hear me out: Digital content assets have more value when they are well structured. Content that adheres to a well-defined structure will support content reuse and management. One simple way to generate highly structured textual content is with the use of a set of standardized Word templates in the editorial workflow. The standardized use of Microsoft Word templates is the most readily accessible approach for creating well-structured content, without completely reengineering your editorial workflow.
Systems that support automated, scalable processes require data files to adhere to predefined formats. When digital content is developed with the use of a predefined, well-structured Word template, it can be automatically processed, including—but not limited to—conversion to XML.
3. Think mobile in 2010.
The mobile platform is our third delivery medium, after print and Web. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the market often perceives Web-based content as an offering that is or should be free. Mobile applications and services do not have that unfortunate baggage. Consequently, the mobile platform may be more able than the traditional Web to support services that can generate incremental revenue. Make the commitment to do something mobile, salable or otherwise, in 2010.
4. Tend to your metadata.
Metadata is the set of data fields that describes your content. It may be bibliographic in nature or semantic, identifying the subject matter of the content. Metadata adds value to content, and aids in content organization and distribution. It should be well defined, well populated, standardized and regularly maintained. Metadata should go beyond the bare-bones set of fields necessary to support ONIX feeds, but should provide a detailed description. Is your metadata all it can be?
5. Create a digital steering committee.
Digital technologies are necessitating the fundamental transformation of publishing organizations. An important tool in successfully navigating this transformation is in the formation and support of a digital steering committee, a cross-functional body that is charged with identifying and addressing issues related to digital media, including digital asset management, digital distribution and product development. This is about fundamental change, not just “IT issues” or “the Web site” or “Kindle.” Every functional department needs a place at the table. And while we are at it, don’t fill up the group with just senior management.