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Re-defining ‘publishing’ in a digital era

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We’ve been hearing lately that every brand should consider itself a publisher. But what does that mean exactly? What actually is publishing after all?

Message VS Medium / Publishing VS Print

Many people get confused between the terms print and publishing. I’ve read an article from John Battelle, where he explains why of this confusion:

“Back when paper and printing presses revolutionized how humans communicated, we ended up conflating two very important concepts. One was the message – what was being said, and in what context. The second was the medium – the transport for that message. The two became seen as the same thing in printed matter, and the traditional definition of publishing was born.”

This made me think about my communication classes back when I was taking my Bachelors degree, when we used to discuss McLuhan for several hours. And as John talks about in his article, apologies to McLuhan, but in this case the medium is not the message.

Well, theories aside

So… what is digital publishing? John says that “publishing means connecting a community through the art and science of communication. And nowhere is publishing more vibrant – and conversational – than through the medium we’ve come to call the Internet.” I would say that’s a great definition.

In order to succeed companies need to create a dialogue with their customer. Hopefully, this dialogue will then turn into a relationship, generating a loyal customer, who will promote the company through word-of-mouth that will then result in new customers. It’s a cycle where everything depends on communication, the ability to build relationships. And that’s what publishing is about.

What has changed?

Now, first thing is first. We need to think — Who is my audience? How are they going to reach me? There’s so much noise online, you need to do something to stand out and be noticed. Once you are, you need to make sure the reader sticks with you. You content must be interesting, captivating.

After you, as a reader, see something interesting in the web, what do you do? You’ll share it! Most likely on Twitter or Facebook, but even in offline discussions. We rarely keep information we like for ourselves, we have this constant need of interaction. Which is great. Brands love it because you’re spreading the word, and your network loves it too, because that’s the point – give and receive.


Written by Cristina Dresch

May 15, 2011 at 1:45 AM

Posted in Digital, Publishing

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