Why Publishers Must Be Nimble

If you’re a serious web publisher of any kind I recommend you immediately read “Nimble: a Razorfish report on publishing in the digital age” by Rachel Lovinger. It’s an excellent, transformative and highly creative treatise on the future of digital publishing.

The bottom line on Nimble is this: make your content available anywhere and everywhere at all times.

In other words, now that we’re beyond the space constraints of newspaper and magazine columns—and even the garden-variety website—we need to design our content to be mobile and social across all platforms—even ones that aren’t yet invented.

Metadata: a new concern for publishers

As modern digital publishers, we have 3 big concerns: editorial, revenue and delivery.

Editorial and revenue have always been factors in our business models (and yes, they’re still searing hot topics), but delivery is compounding in complexity. How will our readers be just as informed, delighted, educated and entertained as they move from one device of convenience to another?

Lovinger says that delivery has much to do with structure:

Structure and definition…allow the elements to be isolated and identified so that the content item can be broken down and recombined in countless variations that are free to fly to all corners of the web…

While HTML and CSS are used for display and layout, they fail to define content (metadata). We need additional tagging systems even more sophisticated than XML to express more attributes such as usage, trust, value, versioning, etc. Continues Lovinger:

We should be able to take a single piece of collected content and easily mark which parts go on the website, which get fed to the mobile app, what part gets extracted as a tweet…which parts are free for everyone, which parts are premium, which are only available to mobile subscribers…

Why being nimble is so important

I’ll admit that Lovinger is projecting beyond what’s available or currently supported, but I have no doubt she’s right on the money, literally.

Nimble content represents the value behind a publisher’s brand. Producing content that’s mobile, social, easy to find and enjoyable to use lets us not only pioneer but also prosper from the new business of publishing.

Now go read and thoroughly absorb the Razorfish Nimble Report.

Photo by blakespot.