The overall use of printed ag magazines and newspaper by farmers and ranchers in general can safely be characterized as “strong.” When one considers that print is facing challenges in other markets, it’s almost remarkable to see how print is holding so well in agriculture.
This observation is based on the 2014 Media Channel Study conducted by Readex Research on behalf of the ABM Agri Media Council. This is the third wave of the study, and as such, trends are beginning to emerge. The basic trend, that print in ag remains strong, and that digital media channels are emerging in importance as well, is very clear. When looking at “weekly usage” measures over the three survey waves, that data actually point to an incredible appetite for information and knowledge across the consumer board. Further, when we break out survey data by age, we see what some might think are surprising numbers.
The study data has been analyzed using three overarching age categories, and “younger” operators have consistently been classified as those less than 45 years of age. When answering the question, “How often do you usually read, view, visit, attend, or use the following types of agricultural media or information sources?” 81% of ALL respondents indicated using printed ag magazines and newspapers on a weekly basis. In 2012, the percentage was 82% — no significant difference. When we look at the answer to this same question based on the younger operator, 85% indicated weekly usage of these printed products and that is actually a slight increase from the 2012 measure of 81%.
Old-school media master ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic has moved more nimbly into the age of the Internet than many marketers who were in diapers when Weird Al was parodying Michael Jackson and Madonna. Publications as diverse as Ad Age and The Atlantic have been writing about his Web-savvy “eight videos in eight days” campaign, out this week promoting his latest album, Mandatory Fun.
And in the last of the eight videos released, Weird Al offers a cautionary lesson to business professionals — and if I may presume a bit, to business journalists — with his new track, titled “Mission Statement,” which first appeared on the Wall Street Journal’s Speakeasy blog. The song features all the cliches, catch phrases and jargon that business writers would do well to avoid. Several of my own pet peeves were among those called out by Weird Al: “at the end of the day,” “cross-platform innovation,” “bleeding edge and next generation” and “incentivized” — even if a couple of those are reasonable in moderation, surely we hear too much of them at conferences and in the our own publications.
Actually, in addition to “Mission Statement,” another of Weird Al’s latest songs is word-focused as well. Last week, he released a video and song, called “Word Crimes,” just for grammar nerds, singing about the perils of its/it’s, serial commas, less/fewer and the correct use of quotation marks.
We ignore Weird Al at our peril!
By Michael Moran Alterio
I went to our Executive Forum keynote, where Dan Roth, head of LinkedIn’s content strategy, talked about the ways publishers can work with LinkedIn to grow their audiences and gain exposure among business professionals. His keynote was titled, “LinkedIn: Friend AND Foe?”
I was curious going into the session, hoping to hear what LinkedIn is planning next. I thought it was exciting to think that LinkedIn was branching out from networking and job hunting to content, especially since Roth’s background is as a great writer – Roth got his start reporting at Forbes and Wired, and then became managing editor at Fortune.com.
But the takeaways I got from his keynote evoked current trends that actually devalue the work he himself used to do. Here’s my take on what he said:
• As business media evolves, the conversations about the events of the day are as valuable as the primary reporting of the events. “The reader sees himself as equal in authority to the author of the article,” Roth said. LinkedIn is hoping to leverage more reader-generated content as LinkedIn users engage in conversations about, say, articles from content publishing companies. Note that LinkedIn members contribute this valuable content for free.
• LinkedIn is soliciting engaging essays from “influencers” and “thought leaders,” big names like Jack Welch, Richard Branson, Bill Gates and T. Boone Pickens. All of whom contribute their words for free. Oh, sorry, I mean for exposure and metrics around who is reading their insights. But these influencers see value in it.
• LinkedIn also loves it when publishers use their “InShare” buttons to send metrics about readers back to LinkedIn, and where LinkedIn users are having conversations … in LinkedIn groups and in their content feeds that they share with other users. Again, LinkedIn does not pay publishers for any of this.
• LinkedIn is launching a new feature, now in beta, where publishers can give LinkedIn their full RSS feed, as much content as they want, to run on publisher LinkedIn pages. Publishers can also accessorize these pages with photos, graphics, and other content. In exchange for letting publishers put their content on LinkedIn, publishers get detailed metrics on who is viewing, using, and talking about the publishers’ content. No money changes hands, of course. And due to privacy considerations, odds are LinkedIn will not share the actual profiles of readers. So no lead gen opportunities there.
So what are the great content initiatives at LinkedIn? Get important people to contribute content for free. Get users to comment and converse on this content for free. And get publishers to contribute content for free. Use this content to bring users to LinkedIn every day.
Consumer media editorial salaries remain above equivalent business-to-business salaries, according to the newly released 2012 ABM / MPA Compensation Survey, conducted by Towers Watson. However, a look at the data in the annual reports for 2011 and 2012 reveals that the gap between the two industries is narrowing – as trade editorial compensation tended to rise in 2012, and consumer editorial compensation tended to fall, as shown in the following infographic:
If you’ve read the latest unemployment figures with just a touch of schadenfreude, then indulge your guilty pleasure no more. Several new reports suggest that media professionals do not have it quite so easy, either.
A feature in the Atlantic asks “Is your job killing you?” After considering the health effects of long hours, working nights and sitting in a cubicle for hours, Brian Fung concludes that “work can be lethal” – although the evidence suggests that the unemployed still have it worse.
Meanwhile, CareerCast, a job website, has released its 2012 Jobs Rated report, and magazine and newspaper reporters evidently have the fourth-worst job in America, ranking 196 on the 200-job list. Only oil rig workers, soldiers, dairy farmers and lumberjacks have it worse, based on criteria such as work environment, stress, physical demands and hiring outlook.