Self-proclamation of your own greatness is a dangerous hill to climb, especially when you’re in the service of providing information based content. To say that there is only one place to get “the best” industry information is bordering on the completely absurd with the modern availability of news. There are several publications, both corporate and independent, that do an incredible job of providing news on the industry as a whole or to specific vertical markets. There are sites out there that help people connect the dots and understand what today’s relevant news will mean to them both today as well as with a nod to the future. There are sites that dive deep into the technological aspects of the industry. There are also sites that track the activity of the manufacturers to ensure that all product releases are covered and publicized. All of this information is important to the progress of an industry, and each group has the right to choose in which way they will cover the AV industry. Frankly, the choices in how to present this information are as diverse as the products, people, and ideas in the industry itself.
Let’s think about what would make the best media organization.
• First and foremost it would be an organization that provides up to date information for its readers. Without a place for people to get the information a media organization serves no purpose at all.
• Second, I would find that the information would need to be relevant to the targeted audience. Just simply providing any and all information can be useful. However, if you want to be the absolute best, shouldn’t that information be narrowed down to what your targeted audience deems is relevant? If your interest is in digital signage, you probably wouldn’t have much need for live sound production products.
• Third, I would definitely want to see some sort of editorial content to help explain why the other information posted would be considered important. Just reposting a press release does not provide much benefit to anyone other than the company who posted the initial release. Having a translator to cut through the marketing jargon and explain what the news is and how it will affect me in my professional life is crucial. This is the age of development, with new products being released weekly and new forms of technology seemingly appearing every few months. There has to be a certain amount of explanation as to why things are important or they just get lost in all the other digital noise.
• Fourth, the modern age calls for multiple forms of deliverable content. Blog posts are fantastic, but they are mostly skimmed by people for keywords unless the topic or headline really entice individual interest. Podcasts are great, especially for the commuter set, and will often be left running in the background as people go about their day, again listening for keywords. And now we’re moving into the webcast age where a podcast comes in a video format. These are great for making it more personal, but still are often left on as we do other things waiting for that attention grabber to pull us back in.
• Finally, there is a certain amount of attention that must be given to those that are contributing content to the publication. Are they industry professionals writing on their own time? Are they reporters or internal publication marketing staff? Are they being paid to provide content that coincides with the message that sponsors want to be shared? Is there non-product specific content being provided? Are these people followed and lauded by their industry? (Count the number of bloggers that made the list of Commercial Integrators 40 AV Influencers Under 40.) Do these people have a reputation for providing information or just starting arguments online to increase page views? It takes 0.44 seconds to get search results on my name in Google to discover my credentials, and might be good practice to start finding out more about who is giving you your information.
Now, I want you to focus on one specific thing that happened as I went through those bullet points. This piece started out discussing the issue of calling yourself the best at anything being huge faux pas in the modern age. As I examined what might make someone the best media content provider it became about what I would want to see in a publication, and that is the inherent danger is saying that you’re the best at anything. Being considered “the best” organization is a completely subjective thing because if you are not providing what someone is looking for they won’t use you. Saying you’re the best in a blog post on your site is literally preaching to choir. Those that agree with you will read and applaud, while those that disagree with you will either never see it, or if they click out of curiosity will probably ignore it. But in either case it is a completely subjective thing because it is all based around what the reader wants to receive. If you aren’t giving the reader what they want, then they will not remain a reader.
I will continue to stand by the belief that we, as an industry, will be better off by focusing our energy towards the overall betterment of the industry and less on who is “the best” at anything. The fact remains that those who are striving to be “the best” aren’t worried about calling themselves as such; they let the rest of the world speak to their status and just keep working at what they believe to be right. With that in mind, it’s time for me to get back to work engineering a system or writing my next article.