The Digital Embrace
“Media is dying.” I know. I hear it all the time. But I’m not so sure that’s true.
A more truthful look at media says it’s evolving. It might be evolving to save its life, but it’s evolving nonetheless. And evolution seems to me like the opposite of death.
There are ways that media outlets are holding on for dear life, and the main way is by embracing the digital age. Perhaps print media is on its way out, but media will never die. It will change. It will become more relevant and more easily accessible. How? Optimization on all fronts.
More and more, media outlets are embracing less traditional ways to doing media. Traditionally, media has been printed stories or magazines. As I pointed out in my blog about digital design, media has traditionally been static. This is changing, and media outlets need to change the technologies they use to keep up with the increasingly interactive media space.
Nick Siano, a member of the digital optimization team for Gannett, defined digital optimization as “embracing the future of journalism.” In other words, give digital design a great, big hug and do not let go.
Some of the things that help media entities make this jump from traditional to digital include web-based apps, which are becoming more popular than Creative Suite in the digital world. These apps are easy-to-use. They are usually free. And they do the same things as the 300 dollars-a-year alternative.
Search Engine Optimization
“SEO is very important for everyone.” Those are the exact words I have in my notes, and I think they get straight to the point. In PR, I’ve learned about the importance of SEO. Now, in digital design, I’m learning about the importance of SEO. SEO is important.
On a basic level, SEO is the process of making your content easier for the right people to find on search engines. It involves content management, key words, titles, headings, etc. If you’ve noticed, I’m using h2 headings on each of my blog sections because h2 tags are directly related to improving SEO (according to Nick).
Some of the most important factors of SEO are content quality, mobile accessibility, and HTML title tags with keywords. Search Engine Land created an SEO periodic table of elements, which is a good cheat sheet to help digital designers check off all the most important items involving SEO down to the little things that can make a difference.
Google also has a page that helps you pop up on the first page of a Google search. It’s a pretty comprehensive list that includes creating unique titles with keywords, including description meta tags in your html, and more. As Google is probably the most widely used search engine, following their rules might be a good idea on the part of a digital optimizer.
So Why Aren’t We All On Board Yet??
I am a student learning about the media in the scope of emergence and changes. I’ve grown up in a highly digital age, and my education reflects that. But we have to remember that old people are still in the workforce, too.
Nick cited diversity of ages in the media as one of the reasons digital optimization is not always embraced. Even though we know how important SEO and mobile accessibility are in this digital age, older people in the media weren’t taught the same way we were. They did not grow up with screens in front of them as we did. And delving into a subject that younger people know more about than you do is probably scary for people who have been in the business for years.
Ultimately, continuing to learn about digital optimization and the benefits of taking a more outside-the-box approach to media is what’s going to propel everyone, young and old, into a more accessible age of media. We still have work to do to make our content relevant, quick, easy, accessible, and more. The consumer is always looking for more.