Mathew Ingram talks digital journalism: It is the best of times and the worst of times.

If it’s Tuesday, we must be in Toronto. After a great Third Tuesday Ottawa on Monday night, Mathew Ingram flew to Toronto to speak to the Third Tuesday Toronto community.

Yesterday, I captured the highlights of the Twitter steam about Mathew’s Ottawa presentation. Today, I’ve captured a selection of Tweets from the #3TYYZ twitter stream to provide an overview of Mathew’s subject matter and people’s take on it.

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Mathew Ingram on journalism today: Change. Change. And more change.

Mathew Ingram spoke at Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW last night. And judging from the quantity and quality of questions as well as the number of people who stayed behind to meet and talk with him, he was a great hit. And for those who are wondering what he is talking about, I’ve grabbed a selection from the Twitter stream from last night’s session. Enjoy.

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Inside PR is covering Mesh Marketing

Mesh

Mesh Marketing, Nov. 7

Since 2006, the Mesh and Mesh Marketing conferences have brought together Toronto’s digital and marketing communities. This year’s edition of Mesh Marketing has been scheduled for November 7 in Toronto. And I’m really pleased that the Inside PR podcast has partnered with Mesh Marketing this year. That will give Martin Waxman and me a chance to cover the conference. (Gini Dietrich couldn’t make it to Toronto from Chicago. So Martin and I will do this as a two hander.)  We hope to interview speakers and attendees, providing coverage both before and after the conference.

We’re starting out with an interview with closing keynote speaker Jay Baer. You can listen to the full interview on Inside PR episode 349.

Once again, Mark Evans and his Mesh Marketing team have assembled a line up of speakers, including keynoters Jay Baer and Peep Laja, and Randy FrischApril Dunford, Karen SchulmanDupuis, Danny Brown, and Sam Fiorella. Check out the details on the speakers and schedule and then register online to attend.

And if you see me there, please say hi.

Mathew Ingram is coming to Third Tuesday

The world of journalism and news media is dramatically different than it was five years ago. Today, digital media and traditional media simultaneously compete and feed one another as a new hybrid news ecosystem emerges. What is each best at? What are the strengths and weaknesses of traditional and digital media? What mistakes are being made? What lessons learned? And what are the factors we should be paying attention to as we try to understand what is driving news and business decisions today?

Mathew IngramMathew Ingram is the embodiment of the revolution that is transforming journalism. He has experienced it first hand as he moved from traditional media as a technology writer and communities editor for Canada’s leading daily newspaper, the Globe and Mail, to become a senior writer with GigaOm, an early pioneering digital media outlet.  And he is one of the co-founders of Mesh, the seminal digital conference that inspired Third Tuesday. Today, Mathew is a must-read for people who follow and care about the evolution of online media. And he does this from Toronto. Go Canada!

What can people who come to see Mathew at Third Tuesday expect?

A few snippets to set the table:

On the use of crowd sourced content by news outlets

“By now, it should be obvious to just about anyone that “citizen journalism” or “user-generated content” is a crucial part of what the news has become, whether it’s a photo of a plane landing on the Hudson or a video of a bomb exploding in Boston. Unfortunately, the ways that media entities handle such content is all over the map — some give credit, while others take whatever they want without so much as a link. Do we need a formal structure to deal with this new reality?”

http://paidcontent.org/2013/05/24/crowdsourcing-the-news-do-we-need-a-public-license-for-citizen-journalism/

On the shifting economics of newspapers

“While prominent brands like the New York Times or those with targeted markets like the FT might be able to make the shift to subscriptions, many smaller newspapers simply won’t be able to make that transition, because they won’t have enough subscribers. So what happens to them? … there is a very real risk — not just for the NYT or Financial Times, but even more so for smaller newspapers — that relying on subscription revenue will result in a much smaller number of readers and also a much smaller business overall. What will that mean for the journalism that such newspapers produce? What happens to the public impact and social benefits that newspapers have always argued they bring to the table? Do newspapers just become a new variation on the controlled-circulation newsletter?”

http://gigaom.com/2012/08/03/crossing-the-newspaper-chasm-is-it-better-to-be-funded-by-readers

On one newspaper’s decision to shut down their paywall

“…research the newspaper did with print subscribers showed that what readers were willing to pay for wasn’t the actual content itself, but the method of delivery — that is, the printed newspaper. When offered the exact same content online for a price that was 90-percent less than the average print subscription rate, only five percent of readers said they were interested.”

http://paidcontent.org/2013/09/30/another-wall-tumbles-the-dallas-morning-news-dismantles-its-paywall-focuses-on-premium-content/

We pay for online entertainment. Why not news?

“…plenty of people are willing to pay for movies, TV shows and music, but a dramatically smaller number of them are willing to pay for news. Why? In part, because those other forms of content are, well… entertaining. News, in most cases, is not. Many consumers are more than happy to watch or listen to the same TV show, movie or song multiple times — something that almost never happens with a news story.”

http://paidcontent.org/2013/09/26/yes-some-people-will-pay-you-for-your-news-a-really-really-small-number-of-people/

Innovation: The upside of the deteriorating traditional business model for news

“Since no one really knows what the future of digital media looks like, it’s worth experimenting with as many new things as possible — in part because the next new thing always starts out looking like a toy.”

http://paidcontent.org/2013/09/23/theres-one-good-thing-about-the-newspaper-industry-decline-more-innovation-is-happening/

Social news distribution vs. RSS

“I still think RSS is a crucial part of the plumbing that underlies the web — and I hope the death of Google Reader isn’t the beginning of an attack on RSS, as some suspect — but for me it lacks a certain something, and that something is the element of social interaction. … social news distributed via Twitter and other networks is just that — social. It has a human element that automated RSS feeds simply can’t duplicate … it’s not just that Twitter is good at delivering real-time news — where it is, in my experience, as good or better than an RSS reader. It is also particularly good at attaching meaning to that news, by the combination of people who tweet or re-tweet a link or a piece of information. That does as much to help me appreciate the significance of a story as a single post or scoop, and likely more.”

http://gigaom.com/2013/03/15/why-the-death-of-google-reader-doesnt-bother-me-that-much-social-news-has-won/

On the value of Blog comments

“A blog without comments is a soap-box, plain and simple. Not having comments says you are only interested in passing on your wisdom, without testing it against any external source (at least not where others can watch you do so) or leaving open the opportunity to actually learn something from those who don’t have their own blogs, or aren’t on Twitter or Google+.”

http://gigaom.com/2012/01/04/yes-blog-comments-are-still-worth-the-effort/

On top of this, Mathew also authors a Twitter stream chock full of links to thought-provoking posts by others and his own reflections on them. It’s well worth following.

Now you can spend an evening with Mathew – at Third Tuesday

Registration for Third Tuesday with Mathew Ingram is open now. Register online to attend Third Tuesday Toronto #3TYYZ or Third Tuesday Ottawa #3TYOW.

Thank you to our sponsors

Third Tuesday is supported by great sponsors - Cision Canada and Rogers Communications - who believe in our community and help us to bring speakers not just to Toronto but to Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver as well. Without the sponsors we couldn’t make Third Tuesday a truly Canadian affair. So, thank you to the sponsors of the Third Tuesday 2012-13 season: Cision Canada and Rogers Communications.

We want students to be able to attend

Third Tuesday is a great opportunity to hear about the latest developments in social media and to network with business and thought leaders. And we don’t want students to miss out on this opportunity. So, if you are a student and would like to attend, don’t let the admission fee stop you. Simply present your student ID card at the time you sign into Third Tuesday and we’ll refund your admission fee, courtesy of Thornley Fallis.

 

 

Google Alerts restores RSS Feeds

Google Alerts is a basic research tool for anyone putting together a search of news about a topic. And it has now had one of its most useful features restored – the ability to subscribe to an RSS feed of your Alerts results.

Google Alerts RSS Feed Returns highlighted

Delivery of Google Alerts via RSS Feed is restored

This feature had been a long standing part of Google Alerts until Google Reader was phased out last spring. At that time, Google also removed the ability for Alerts users to subscribe to RSS feeds, leaving only email delivery of results.

I don’t know about you, but I try to preserve my email box for one to one interactions. That means finding other ways to receive one to many and other types of notices and news. And by far and away, RSS is my preferred method for this purpose.

So, I was delighted to discover that Google had restored RSS feeds as a delivery mechanism for Alerts.

Thank you Google! You’ve just made yourself even more useful and indispensable.

Mitch Joel draws capacity crowd at Third Tuesday Ottawa

Mitch Joel kicked off the seventh season of Third Tuesday Ottawa this week. And he delivered big time for the capacity crowd.

Mitch is currently promoting his most recent book, Ctrl Alt Delete. And if you haven’t seen him speaking about this, you owe it to yourself to see him. You won’t regret it. And if you haven’t read the book yet, click over to your favorite eBook store and buy it right now. Yes, right now. Then come back and read the rest of this post.

Mitch is a great speaker. And like other great speakers, he tailors his remarks to the interest of the audience. And in the case of the social-savvy Third Tuesday crowd, he touched on several sweet spots. His presentation was chock full of quotable quotes. I’ve grabbed a few from the Twitter stream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to Third Tuesday’s sponsors

As we kick off this seventh year of Third Tuesdays, I want thank Rogers Communications and Cision Canada. Your generous support makes it possible for us to continue to bring great speakers to the Third Tuesday community. We couldnt’ do it without you.

Canada and Google Products: So Close Yet so Far Away

Canadians have the best of all worlds. We live close enough to the United States to be able to share US media and pop across the border to spend weekends in US cities (Hello New York, Boston, Chicago, Seattle!) But we still get to keep our own spelling of worlds like colour, pronounce the letter Z as “zed” and watch our democracy unfold in the daily ritual of Parliament’s Question Period.

Yet, when it comes to the introduction of new Google products, we often have a much less happy situation. And this is one of those times.

For the past few weeks I’ve been watching reviews of the Chromecast, the new Nexus 7, the HTC One Google Play and Samsung 4 Google Play phones. All look like awesome devices. And all are just out of reach for a Canadian.

This is what I see when I sign onto the Canadian Google Play device store:

Canadian Google Play device store, July 28, 2013

Canadian Google Play device stores, July 28, 2013

The Canadian store offers only last year’s devices – the Nexus 7 2012 version and the Nexus 4. Not one word about the awesome new devices that my American friends sixty miles south of me are ordering and testing.

When it comes to the introduction of new products from Google, Canadians are so close, yet so far away.

UPDATE:

July 31, 2013 Still no sign of the new Nexus 7 on the Google Canada Play devices store. BestBuy.ca now shows one model of the new Nexus 7. However, it is not available to buy online nor in a store.

BestBuy 130731

 

UPDATE 2:

August 13, 2013. Slowly, slowly, the rollout is occurring.The New Nexus 7, well at least the 16GB version made its appearance on the Canadian Google Play store this morning.

New Nexus 7 16GB in Canada Play Store 130813

 

Everything you need to know to publish a book

So, you want to publish a book.

You know that you have something to say. You produce and regularly publish great content to your blog, Tumblr or podcast. And now you want to go the next step and publish a book.

The book publishing industry is being transformed by technology and shifting media consumption habits. And as this happens, it is becoming possible for anyone with something to say to publish it in book form and to reach an audience.

If you think you have a book in you and you are wondering how to publish it, you must read two posts: Jay Baer’s 25 Secrets – How I Wrote and Marketed a New York Times Best Selling Business Book and James Altucher‘s How to Self-Publish a Bestseller: Publishing 3.0.

Jay is the author of Youtility, which charted on the New York Times Business Book bestseller list. James is the author of Choose Yourself, which ranked on the Wallstreet Journal bestseller list. And both authors share generously, not just about how they wrote and produced their books, but also about the savvy marketing and promotion programs they conducted to earn their place on the bestseller lists.

Jay Baer obtained a deal with a traditional publisher and then put together and ran his own promotion campaign. James Altucher self-published, but relied heavily on marketing pros to promote his book. Two different paths. One common element – success.

A few highlights to whet your appetite for reading their complete posts.

Jay BaerJay Baer

“Always go with the most enthusiastic publisher, even if the terms are not quite as good.”

Recognize that you, not your publisher, will sell your books. So, put a lot of time into your marketing plan.

Signing with a major publisher brings credibility, but not necessarily more money.

Develop your ideas in advance of the book through presentations.

Establish a schedule for your writing and stick to it. 1,500 words per weekday and 5,000 words one weekend day per week enabled Jay to write Youtility in six weeks. You can do this too. But it takes discipline.

Covers and titles matter. Invest in producing great ones and test them on your social networks. Your followers will tell you what works best.

Build your own bookstore to sell your books. It gives you more control and data on purchasers.

Aim for the most sales you can get on day one. It’s your best chance to chart on the bestseller lists. Offer incentives for pre-orders.

Be clear-headed about the effectiveness of advertising. Pre-order ads drove awareness but few direct sales.

Publicists can produce results for you. Working with a publicist as well as his own outreach, brought Jay over 50 interviews and podcasts.

Help bloggers to cover you. Reading and reviewing a book may be more work than all but the most dedicated are prepared to do. Many will gladly take a guest post. So, develop topic-specific posts from your book that you can guest post on popular blogs.

Don’t stop with the book. “Atomize” its content for things like an ebook with the 25 best quotes. You can get much more life for your content in different forms.

Promote. Promote. Promote. Speak at events that will sell books. Produce a video. Produce related content as a bonus for book buyers. Conduct contests. Remember, you are responsible to sell your book.

James AltucherJames Altucher

“The distinction now is no longer between “traditional publishing” versus “self-publishing.” The distinction now is between professional versus unprofessional publishing.”

Self-publishing will enable you to maintain more control over your content rights (think international markets) and also the content in your book. It also will enable you to bring your book to market much faster than you could through the traditional publishing system.

A traditional publisher will want to see evidence that you can be successful in promoting your own book sales. “But if you already can hand-deliver the customers, what do you need the traditional publisher for?”

You can become your own professional publisher because the professional resources you need are available to you. “…for the first time, the best editors, designers, marketers are no longer working at the big publishing houses. Instead, they are striking out on their own and independently charging for their services.”

Edit. Edit. Edit. James and his editor went back and forth more than fifteen times. And then, after Altucher read his book for the audio version, he edited again for the things that didn’t work when read aloud.

Like Jay Baer, Altucher obsessed over the right title and the right design. And he also hired a publicist who delivered results.

In this new publishing world, ” I am not limited to who is on the publisher’s staff but I can pick the absolute best people in the industry. With millions of books out there, the competition is incredible. … Hiring the best editor, design firm, marketing firm, and audio firms were all part of that. Not just the best around but who I felt were the best in the world.”

You can do this too

So, you have the content. You have the writing talent. Can you publish a book? Yes you can.

What are you waiting for?

Bonus Content

Are you struggling with writer’s block? Mitch Joel tells you how to End to Writer’s Block.

Still reading? Let me leave you with one final bit of inspiration: the story of Terry Fallis, the PR executive who self published his first novel in his late forties, only to win a series of awards and become a serial bestseller. You CAN do it!

eBook prices remain high in Canada despite price drops in US

While readers in the US may be benefiting from a drop in eBook prices following settlement of the Apple eBook price fixing case, Canadians are not sharing in the benefit of declining eBook prices.

Laura Hazard Owen reported yesterday that retailers have begun cutting eBook prices in response to the settlement of the Apple eBook price fixing case. Her post included a table comparing prices at which certain books are offered by the various major eBook retailers in the US.

I focused on the fact that my favourite eBook seller, Kobo, was the highest priced seller in all examples. I tweeted about this and was promptly called out by Jennifer Fox.

 

 

Jennifer makes good points. Canadian prices always are higher than US prices and a comparison of US prices does not transfer into Canada.

So, I decided to take a look at the prices that the Ebooks in Laura Hazard Owen’s example are being offered in Canada. .

Laura Hazard Owen’s US price table

Laura Hazard Owen eBook price comparison

Canadian prices for the same books

Title Author Kindle Nook Apple Kobo Google
And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini  $    16.99  n/a  $    16.99  $    16.99  $    16.99
Entwined with You Sylvia Day  $    10.99  n/a  $    10.99  $    10.99  $    10.99
The Fault in Our Stars John Green  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99
The 9th Girl Tami Hoag  $    13.99  n/a  $    13.99  $    13.99  $    13.99
Whiskey Beach Nora Roberts  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99
Backfire Catherine Coulter  $    10.99  n/a  $    10.99  $    10.99  $    10.99
Youtility Jay Baer  $    12.99  n/a  $    12.99  $    12.99  $    12.99
The Great Degeneration Niall Ferguson  $    13.99  n/a  $    13.99  $    13.99  $    13.99
Cooked Michael Pollan  $    15.99  n/a  $    15.99  $    15.99  $    15.99

Do you see what I see? For Canadians, one high price for each book, regardless of retailer.

Canadians are not benefiting from the drop in US eBook prices

It’s clear that agency pricing persists in Canada. And that means higher book prices across the board with no competition on price.

That’s not good for consumers. That doesn’t promote reading. And that’s something that must change. Now. Not next year.

What will it take to end agency pricing of eBooks in Canada?

Who will see this as an opportunity and take the lead?

I buy from Kobo because of its commitment to ePub standards and its device-agnostic approach. And I’m willing to pay a premium for being part of an open system that lets me consume my books on the device of my choice.

So, Kobo, you’ve already got me for the right reasons. Now why don’t you go the next step by seizing the opportunity to break the agency model and lead the way to better book prices for Canadian eBook readers.

Kobo, are you listening?

SXSW Interactive's Special Sauce: Community

With the opening of the SXSW Panel Picker to new presentation proposals, preparations are actively underway for the 2014 edition of SXSW Interactive.

SXSW is the little conference that grew and grew to be a giant festival of all that is geeky good. Why has it grown far beyond other conferences of its sort?

DSC00018One explanation may be found in the sense of community that has propelled SXSW Interactive from its earliest days. In my view, SXSWi is a conference of, by, and for the attendees.

Hugh Forrest, the Director of SXSW Interactive, can be seen as the embodiment of this ethos. In fact, he actively eschews his actual title of Director, saying that he prefers to think of himself as SXSWi’s Community Manager.  In a recent interview for the Inside PR podcast, Forrest told Martin Waxman, “Community Manager is what most of my work is, managing this community, or trying to understand this community, trying to communicate with this community, trying to absorb all they great ideas they have. That community manager concept applies to so much I do.”

And Forrest gives full credit for the success of SXSWi to the community of participants. “I have been completely amazed at how much Interactive has grown in the past ten years and, particularly, in the past five years. When we first started this thing, it was a struggle to get people in the door. It was a struggle to figure out what we were doing and what our market was and I could never imagine that it would grow as much as it has grown. … I would love to say that it  was my vision that propelled that growth. But, it’s really this community that’s pulled us forward as opposed to us trying to push them in one direction. The better we’ve become at listening to this community, engaging with this community, understanding what this community wants, polling the best ideas of the community, the more the event has grown. The more we have been able to let them pull us forward,  the better this event has become.”

Forrest has a well thought-through approach to the SXSWi community, to which he attaches the PEACE acronym:

P: “Patience over profits.” Things take a  while. Be prepared for it.

E: “Early buzz is good buzz.” The panel picker and community voting on presentations in July and August build anticipation of the event nine months ahead of the actual March festival dates.

A: “Acknowledge your mistakes and failures.” If you are doing something innovative, you will make mistakes. When you acknowledge mistakes, the community can be very forgiving.

C: “Customer service leads to customer advocates.” Word of mouth endorsements are still the best kind of publicity there is. The line between love and hate is a thin one. Acknowledge, respond to and help the critics. They may change their minds and become supporters.

E: “Encourage massive creativity.”  Forrester does not see SXSWi as a technology event. “We are an event about creativity.” And he tries to be open to the ideas of the community that push the programming forward.

Listen to Hugh Forrest explain his perspective on the success of SXSWi using the player below. And stick around for the second half of the podcast to hear Martin Waxman, Gini Dietrich’s and my take on Forrest’s approach and building community.