Gamification: Publishing’s Most Important Challenge
There was hardly a person I met at the Publishing Business Conference and Expo last week who wasn't involved in social media to one degree or another, and rightly so. Of the ten top factors that correlate with search engine rankings, seven are social. A publisher can get ranked using social alone. And social is driving much of the online updates and fresh content in publishing today.
But a half dozen-or fewer-years ago, many publishers hadn't yet embraced social media. Many had no idea how, why or if they would. Some thought that social media was a thing to be used by light-duty consumer publications, but not for publishers of serious material, not for thought leaders.
Today publishers teeter at the brink of a similar challenge, equally important, equally compelling. Publishers are trying to figure out why audience members will spend a buck to send a friend a beer on Facebook but won't spend a dollar to read a news story. The answer: the games business knows secrets that publishing doesn't know.
Gaming today is a $66 billion global business-twice the Hollywood box office. Last year $2 billion were spent on virtual goods. Gaming is a rich, immersive, interactive form of media, but make no mistake, it is media. And as such, it is of vital interest and importance to any publisher that wants to remain a leader-or even remain relevant-in the converging media field.
Publishers have reached the point where they no longer talk about reading an article-they speak of consuming content. But "consumption" is passive, vicarious and tied to old media. What comes after consumption? Interactivity. Engagement. Participation.
Your audience needs to be a participant in the media you create. You need to engage them. A non-engaged audience will drop off a site pretty quickly-which is deadly to your search rankings, especially under Google's latest updates. Engagement mechanics-the same principles that make gaming a rich and immersive experience-are what will keep them there.
These are of the ideas that Nicole Yankelovich and I talked about in our workshop last week. It was new to most of the publishers attending, but it made sense to them as well. If you'd like to see what we covered, drop by slideshare and take a look: http://www.slideshare.net/LindaRuth1/gamification-for-publishers.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.