At SIPA UK Conference, Content Remains King

Gilbertson Opens SIPA UK Conference

The 17th Annual SIPA UK Congress in London got under way today, and The SIPA Twitter Wall (#SIPAUK2011) is proving almost as active as it did for last month’s conference in Washington, D.C. Here are a few of the tweets that have been posted so far:

***“[David] Gilbertson says think big, act small. Be fast, nimble and have drive. This is what makes specialist information work.” – Andy Soloman
***“Common theme from my roundtables – define and understand objectives, audience and usage. Simple but often forgotten. – Vicky Priest
***“Dan Brown – online content – how to orchestrate a return to deep reading amidst the fleeting ADD of today’s info consumption.” Nick Laight
***“We’re asking editors to be personalities, conference producers, social media experts, video directors…as well as wordsmiths.” Carolyn Morgan

I just listened to a portion of this morning’s opening keynote by David Gilbertson, former CEO of Emap, a British media company. The insightful talk was titled ”Shifting Media” and quickly posted on the site, the Media Briefing, by Patrick Smith.

“The neat little garden walls, the barriers….have broken down,” Gilbertson began. “We’re moving from a world where knowledge is power to a world where knowledge is free. Sharing is cool. Not so long ago, sharing was not cool. We tried to sell [that knowledge]. But it’s a new generation.”

Gilbertson said that has brought new people into the market who are competing in a non-economic way. And because expectations set by the Internet are now for instant gratification, we are conditioned to say we want it now. “Saturday’s consumer is Monday’s business person,” he said. “News is under special pressure. We don’t expect to pay anything for it. There’s ready replacement of news constantly. It’s taken for granted. The other key thing is…that we’re all publishers now. We all have mobile phones, we can all tweet…[The industry] has become a gigantic place and a different place than before. Big media has been put under siege.”

Gilbertson’s point is that in this new age, the content of specialized publishers has to be even better now, even more unique, even more helpful to customers. We need to “assess each piece of information on its uniqueness…If it’s the same, then don’t run it.” He said the customer wants to know if that information will “help me do my job; that it’s “not something to read in the lift that tells me about other people doing my job.

“If you want to sell me this stuff, show me a return,” Gilbertson said. “People are often less protective of their money than they are of their time. [So] if you can add to my time and money,” that’s key. “If you can’t do that, then the product you sell is entertainment and you have to then compete with my entertainment items.”

He added that “as an industry, we need to be as close as possible to the processes of the customers we work with. And we do need to provide information of special value—not just what we’ve always done…Are we providing them with content that enables them to serve customers, find new customers…network, learn, transact, inspire?”

If we are, he said, then we have high-value content to sell. If not, we have to think again. “Does the content you have really matter? As my mother used to say, ‘Does it get the pig a new bonnet?’ Is it adding to their commercial possibilities?”

Again, thanks to the Media Briefing for posting that keynote.

*** Remember, to monitor what’s going on at the SIPA UK Conference,
go to Twitter and search #SIPAUK2011. ***

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