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Evolving content formats: What’s next?

If we used a time machine to go way back to 1985, there would be precious few content types in scholarly publishing. They would be dominated by journal articles and books. Of course, within each group there were subtypes: review articles, case reports, or monographs, textbooks. But they were the two flavors you had.

Fast forward to 2018, and the list has grown past books and journals to include:

  • Videos,

  • Podcasts,

  • Webinars,

  • E-learning including continuing education,

  • Blogs,

  • Wikis,

  • Social media (not a perfect match to this group, but can make a case),

  • Discussion boards/forums,

  • User generated content,

  • Live streamed events,

  • Tools,

  • Slide shares,

  • Apps (once again, not a perfect match, but could apply),

  • And more I am forgetting.

All of these serve separate purposes and can certainly overlap. They all are worth a discussion within an organization about the value they may bring to members or readers.

But be careful about format envy. Sometimes in a Board Meeting, a high-profile member may say, “I see xyz group has a blog. Why don’t we?” Certainly, worth a discussion, but it needs to be thought out in regard to your overall content strategy. And of course, content types can be retired. They are not a permanent commitment to publish.

Think through mission, goals, frequency, cross over with other formats, impact, and many other points before committing. And if you decide to move ahead, then go out full force.

As with all things publishing, quality is the benchmark that matters.

Let me know your thoughts.


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