In a world with too much content and not enough time, hybrids are
the future of media. They're a planet of quick, agile ants that 's
challenging the apes for dominance. It's where marketers will
increasingly focus their time, energy and money with a mix of paid
and earned strategies. That doesn't mean the media stalwarts or
social networks will fade, mind you, but this is the breakout group
Hybrid media are transformative not only because they take
chances, but also because they have incredibly loyal followings.
They're both trusted and disruptive. And that 's a recipe for
success. The category is comprised of three distinct groups:
aggregators and curators, personality-driven blogs and incubated
Aggregators and curators are platforms that help us filter and
remix the news from a wide array of sources. Some are automated.
Others we program ourselves or allow the crowd to do the heavy
lifting for us. They include mobile-centric platforms such as
Flipboard and Pulse, controversial revolutionaries such as Demand
Media and curated roll-ups such as Summify, Storify and
Personality-driven blogs -- VentureBeat, Politico, GigaOm and
Sports Blog Nation -- tend to be vertical in nature. What separates
them from others, however, is that their editorial roster is packed
with personalities who have hugely loyal followings because of
their expertise and voice in a given area. Personalities come and
go like free agents in baseball, but readers still tend to be very
loyal to the team.
The last group, incubated disruptors, are true rule-breakers
that reside inside traditional media companies. Examples include
newly acquired assets such as @BreakingNews (MSNBC) and Zite (CNN),
or homegrown brands such as AOL's Patch -- a ray of sunshine that
outran older, local media outlets in covering Hurricane Irene.
While no two hybrids are alike, they share some commonalities in
their DNA. These strategies are spelled out in detail in Bloggers
Boot Camp, a new book by veterans John Biggs (TechCrunch) and
Charlie White (Mashable).
First, they are virtually bottomless fountains of content, even
on weekends. They follow Biggs' and White's two cardinal rules:
always be posting and be consistent. That said, they have also
mastered the art of brevity. They are dominated in creating or
curating sometimes formulaic, yet irresistible and digestible
"listcles" and infographics.
Finally, they have impeccable timing. Their content hits at
precisely the right time and with the right words and visuals to
impregnate search engines and social networks just as they are,
well, ovulating with readers.
Hybrid media brands aren't standing still. FlipBoard, for
example, is forming content partnerships with brands. Meanwhile,
vertical blogs such as Business Insider are branching out into
natural adjacencies like sports, where there are overlapping
demographics and interests.
Still, this is the time for marketers to overweigh on hybrid
media. The payoff is not only visibility within these individual
properties but in the reverberating ripples they cast across search
engines and social networks.
Rather than trying to cross the ocean in your own sailboat, to
scale in social, it might be better instead to be a stowaway on
someone else's ship. And that 's why this writer is long on
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Steve Rubel is exec
VP-global strategy and insights for Edelman.