By Erin L. Cox | @erinlcox
‘What Do We Do With All This Stuff?’Digital content strategist Matt Dellinger has overseen complete digital archive projects for magazines including The New Yorker, Vogue, Esquire, Aviation Week, and Aperture.
In this work, he has helped these magazines maintain their brands and better connect with their readers, helping to monetize the digitization process. And, because Dellinger is not only a content strategist, but also a journalist and author of Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Last Great American Highway (2010, Scribner), he weighs the challenges and benefits across the entire value chain from writer to publisher to reader.
Looking ahead to his participation in the June 13th conference, Rights and Content in the Digital Age, Dellinger shared some insight into his role in working with brands—and how mining the backlist can provide better connectivity to future readers.
“A certain amount of magic comes from focusing on what makes each publisher and their archives special.”Matt Dellinger
Publishing Perspectives: What does a digital content strategist do?
“A quality digital conversion could be justified as a preservation step, one that will also make the material more searchable and usable internally.”Matt Dellinger
MD: I’ve found it’s very important to approach each project fresh. Putting into place a great solution for one magazine doesn’t mean it’s a model for the next magazine. The content will be different, the audience has unique demands, there are more or fewer sponsorship opportunities, etc. There’s a pull to standardize the process as much as possible for all publishers, but often a certain amount of magic comes from focusing on what makes each publisher and their archives special.
PP: Many publishers don’t see the immediate benefit of creating digital archives or, in the case of book publishers, don’t have the financial ability to digitize their backlists. How do you address these challenges?
MD: Tight resources and uncertain demand are almost universal concerns, and they underscore the importance of a good strategy. Often, in fact, a brand doesn’t have a good sense of what their archive contains, making it very difficult to decide its potential value and commit to a business strategy and delivery platform. In that case, a well-designed phased approach could help.
For instance, a quality digital conversion could be justified as a preservation step, one that will also make the material more searchable and usable internally. Once that’s complete, the brand will have better visibility into the content’s potential as a product, and at that time can explore marketing and technology options, which almost surely will have evolved.
“For brands, archival content becomes a crucial differentiator against upstart competitors. Maybe there are dozens of blogs positioning themselves as ‘authoritative’ on fashion today, but how many brands have been authoritative since the late 19th century?”Matt Dellinger
Matt Dellinger will be speaking at Publishing Perspectives’ Rights and Content in the Digital Age conference on June 13, Grand Hall at the NYU Kimmel Center in New York City. Tickets are available here.
More on the conference:
- ‘Maximise the Impact of a Book’: A Few Words With Kris Kliemann
- Ingenta’s Randy Petway: Consumer Behavior has Changed, So Should Our Approach to Rights
- Who Owns the Rights? A June Conference Calls the Question
- Rights and Content in the Digital Age: Conference Information
- Rights and Content in the Digital Age: Tickets