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Your Publishing Content Has a 72-Hour Shelf Life

  |  September 28, 2012   |  Comments

Now that we have trained our readers to save everything to the point of turning them into document hoarders, what can we do to make our material stand out?

I was researching a speech and came across a fascinating article about the growing size of all of this "big data." A new type of data storage has been released called a yottabyte (think Yoda from "Star Wars"). A yottabyte is a unit of information equal to 1,000 zettabytes, or 10^24 bytes, or four levels up from the good old terabyte. Why should you care?

You should care because if you are in the publishing business this is a warning signal to you. The world has become overwhelmed with content. According to Parks Associates, the average consumer's hard drive is filled with the following types of information:

Digital photos - 85 percent
Music - 67 percent
Home office documents - 59 percent
PDF files - 55 percent
Scanned documents - 43 percent
Game files - 40 percent
Movies (not family movies) - 37 percent
Home movies - 34 percent
TV shows - 29 percent
Graphic images - 27 percent
Other video files - 11 percent
Books - 10 percent

While that breakdown in its own right is not scary, the scary part is that 83 percent of the content we save is not able to be located by the person who saves it within 72 hours.

This means your content has a 72-hour shelf life. As publishers, we rely on our articles, columns, and works of art not to be just read by the consumer, but cherished. Now that we have trained our readers to save everything to the point of turning them into document hoarders, what can we do to make our material stand out?

This will be an interesting requirement that grows from this new phenomenon. I call it: "reminder marketing." So far I have only seen one great example of "reminder marketing" and that comes from the test that my company did with ShopAdvisor. ShopAdvisor scours Zinio magazines' editorial content and advertisements to look for products customers can purchase online. While you are reading your digital magazine, you may come across a handbag or a camera and see a small shop button. Clicking this button keeps you in the magazine but allows you to see the current price of the product and gives you an opportunity to buy it. But even better, this product advises you on whether it is a good time to buy or if the price will be lower soon. The reason I like this as an example of fantastic "reminder marketing" is because if you choose to follow the pricing, long after you read the issue and forgot which articles were in it, you will get an email driving you back into the magazine to access the product and shop for it.

This new trend in content overload and required "reminder marketing" is definitely going to keep us on our toes.

Don't believe it? Try this simple test yourself. Think of a presentation or document you wrote last month, or a photo someone sent to you. See if you can find it on your hard drive within 60 seconds. Good luck!

Raining Documents image on home page via Shutterstock.



Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition. 

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