Category Archives: Rant

The Death of Printed Media

This is a guest post by Brad Leclerc. Brad is a writer for Cogniview, the leading producer of PDF to excel conversion tools.

Question: Is printed media (newspapers, magazines) dead?
Short Answer: Yes.

Of course that doesn’t really explain anything. So let’s dig in a bit and I’ll show you why I say that.

You may have noticed that there has been a lot of news recently about several newspapers and other publications going under like Denver’s “Rocky Mountain News” or going “web-only”, as the Seattle Post Intelligencer is gearing up for. There are a lot of reasons for this sort of collapse of printed media starting to hit major publications, not the least of which is the current state of the economy, but one of the major factors seems to be that more and more people are getting their news online.

That movement is leading to a lot less revenue for printed media due to fewer sales in general and secondarily through loss of advertising because of the lower sales. It’s a pretty vicious cycle to be caught in, especially since the cost of publication doesn’t really scale down as the sales do, so they are spending the same (or more in some cases) and making a lot less. Sooner or later something is bound to snap, and that’s what we are seeing now.

tombstone

The silver lining, as I see it at least, is that it’s not necessarily bad for those businesses to move away from traditional printing and into the digital world. It’s MASSIVELY cheaper to manage and distribute (no printing costs, no delivery costs, etc), the costs of maintaining it scale proportionally to the profits, and the cost of producing the content is at worst the same (they would still need journalists, writers, editors, etc), but likely could reduce costs in other areas, such as smaller offices, as much of the equipment (printing presses, etc) is no longer needed.

The one thing people in the traditional media seem to be worried about is the quality of the online content, but that quality doesn’t come from nowhere, it comes from whoever is creating it. If (really “when”, since it is already happening and will continue to do so) journalists and other writers for major publications move into the online world the quality of their work won’t go down. The current state of blogs and online content does not typically compare to traditional media standards…yet. Though there are exceptions. That is, however, quickly changing for the better as more great writers move to blogs and online publications as the readers (and profits) shift to online publications.

Racheal Maddow, of MSNBC, wrote in an article on Newsvine.com yesterday…

There’s no reason why a free press can’t be evident online instead of in print newspapers and magazines, but one thing a free-press needs is people actually ferreting out the news! Reporters and editors! On the payroll! Full-time, preferably! A democracy cannot thrive by blog alone! Can it?

Thankfully, the answer to that question is also an emphatic “Yes it can.” Blogs and other online publications are cheaper to maintain, much more flexible (especially in regards to updating stories as they unfold), and they can be far more targeted to a specific audience, raising reader loyalty (and thus also ad sales and other profitable ventures).

With the rise of things like Amazon’s Kindle, it’s easy to see where the world of publishing is headed. There will be no room for printed (and thus static) publications, when anyone who wants to can get up to the second updates on their favourite news site. Why bother going out to the local news stand, or paying for a printed copy of a newspaper, when it can be delivered faster and cheaper to your email or a device like the Kindle? It simply makes no sense to maintain a paper version of a newspaper or magazine from a financial standpoint, so there’s really no chance for them to survive for much longer. It’s been estimated that the New York Times costs about twice as much per year to maintain then it would cost them to send every single one of the their subscribers a new Kindle(source). There is no avoiding a collapse of that kind of business model.

Once the technology really catches up to the needs and desires of the mass public, which is coming VERY quickly, there is no saving printed media…and that’s a good thing for everyone involved.

My Approaching Birthday: Self Reflection

In nine days, on November 14th, I will be turning twenty-six years old and for some reason, this seems like a bigger milestone to me than my twenty-fifth birthday. Maybe it is because I will now definitely be closer to thirty than twenty, or maybe because of how things currently are in my life, but it has brought about a strong sense of self-reflection.

There are so many things I still want to do in my life, and I feel like I haven’t done as many of them over the last year as I would have liked. It is easier to say this than do it, but we all need to work harder, longer, smarter and faster. I am guilty of being far too lazy in my life, and in doing so, I am doing myself a great disservice, as I am not accomplishing all that I could, and I have a feeling many of you might be realizing the same thing.

If you want to make it “big” in the business of blogging, you need to give 1000% for as long as possible. I am not sure how to make this change in my life, but I am going to try to not wait for some inspiration or magical answer to fall from the sky, and instead, I am going to push harder, build faster, and work smarter.

We all have a finite amount of time in our day, and many of us spend too much of it on the wrong things. The only caveat I will hand out in this though is to make sure you love what you are doing because working at a super human level will drain you to a husk of a person if you don’t love what you are doing.

Economy in Shambles: Blogger Opportunity

Despite the economy not heading in the direct that we would like it to head in, this shift has created many new opportunities for bloggers and web workers in general. While marketing and advertising budgets will be the first to go in many companies, the side effect might be an increasing number of affiliate programs, where bloggers can start promoting the sale of various brand name products for a cut of the proceeds, becoming, in effect, the new marketing and sales team for many companies struggling to maintain a profitable balance sheet.

If you have ideas on how to make money online, your opportunity is at hand. You might have been or be looking at a potential layoff, so why not find some free time and spend it on building a blog, website, affiliate portal, or something that could, eventually, contribute to freeing you from office desk slavery.

With low startup costs, the only thing you have to loose is some time and energy, and the distraction might not be such a bad thing if the economy tumbles further.

Pick your favourite products or services, and contact them about some affiliate deal. Even if they don’t have a system in place yet, they might just say yet, in order to capitalize on the potential skills, energy and intelligence of content producers online.

You Can’t Take the Same Path

I know this might be frustrating to those that have bought a million different “get rich today” e-books, but the fact is that the Internet is changing hourly, and the tactics that made one person rich will most likely no longer work, and it is even worse if that tactic is rolled into an e-book because you will no doubt have competition from every other person that has bought that same e-book. Think about that next time before you buy one.

So many people try to follow the examples of others and find themselves hitting a wall. Sure, some of the general concepts work, and sure sometimes you can take the same route as someone successful if you tackle a different niche or market, but many of people that are doing so well today online couldn’t repeat their success if they had to start over and only use their original tactics, and so what makes you think that following their step-by-step advice will lead you to making tons of money online?

You would be better off learning how the web functions today, what people are looking for, how search engines work and capitalizing on that. I would also suggest again that everyone follow their passions as no niche is too crowded if you are passionate and persistent.

When I started this blog, everyone told me I was crazy, and that the competition and saturation was just too high, but here I am today, doing better and better thanks to my persistence while many competitors have disappeared long ago.

Blaze your own trail to success, and don’t just follow the stale advice of e-books.

Fear of Public Speaking

I will be speaking on two panels at Blog World Expo in a few days, and I am absolutely wrought with fear. I did plays in front of hundreds as a child, was always the main speaker for group presentations in class, sung in grade school at a provincial competition and earned silver, organized a session at Moosecamp in Vancouver, and have done many videos and podcasts both live and recorded, so you wouldn’t think that speaking in front of a group of my peers about the things I have learned over the last three years would scare me, but it does.

I guess the biggest thing for me versus the things I have done over the last three years that are public is that I couldn’t immediately see the reactions of those taking in what I had to say, and so if they didn’t like it, I didn’t find out until afterwards, thus allowing me to remain confident.

Thankfully, I am on a panel, and so I will have others that I can rely on for the hard questions, but I feel that I don’t have anything amazing to bring to the table. I don’t make ridiculous amounts of money while talking about the food I ate for dinner, I haven’t published a book, nor have I built up the attention of a million subscribers.

As I write this, I am sure most of you are thinking that I will do fine, and I am pretty sure I will too, as the worst thing that can happen is someone decides to point at me and go “boo”, but I wanted to remind all of you reading, thinking that you can’t do what I do because I have something “special” that I am not special, but instead passionate, and fortunate.

If you want to make working online, in whatever capacity, your full time career, there are so many ways to get there. If you want to build your personal brand up to the level where you are asked to speak at events, there are so many opportunities to do that, so don’t be shy, instead, be passionate as passion is infectious and no fear of anything should stop you form sharing what you most enjoy.