Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 23 August 2014

An internet manifesto for the business world of today

Traditional media used to involve getting your message into a printed newspaper or magazine rather than on the internet

Fifteen popular German bloggers have pinned their theses to the proverbial cathedral door with a declaration entitled How Journalism Works Today.

Their 17 declarations (http://www.internet-manifesto.org) have been translated into 10 languages and run from the poetic ‘links reward, citations adorn' and ‘tradition is not a business model' to the slightly more prosaic ‘what's on the net, stays on the net'.

Interest has been such that the site has crashed on several occasions due to the volume of traffic.

With that in mind, I thought I'd try my hand at an internet manifesto for business ( http://www.ownbrandmedia.com/manifesto ) — or at least the first five points of one.

It's by no means complete, but hopefully it might kick-start a few conversations and encourage you to consider your own approach.

The Internet is not a broadcast medium — Traditionally media created and consumers consumed. They consumed because they had little choice, and getting your message out was as simple as inserting it into their favourite TV soap or printed magazine. Near unlimited choice now means that consumers must choose to interact with your brand.

Businesses must provide them with the kind of content that they will search out, engage with and share with others. We've moved from push, to pull.

There is no silver bullet — No one solution will make you successful online. No one revenue model will transform your industry. Being on Facebook is not the answer. Making the internet central to how you do business is.

Democratisation leads to diversification — When Gutenberg invented movable type, we went from a rather staid collection of religious and scholarly books to a plethora of pamphlets, books, newspapers and magazines. Now anyone can be a publisher, a film-maker or a radio presenter and there are as many flavours of each as there are people creating them. Businesses will likewise be more diverse. They won't fit nicely into pigeonholes and there will be more niche players, more innovative business structures, more new revenue models. These are your new competitors.

The internet evolves, and you must evolve with it — A decade ago there was no Twitter, no Facebook, no YouTube and the almighty Google was just starting out. In 10 years time, the game will have changed beyond recognition again. To continue to be relevant online, businesses must be prepared to change too.

Reputation and authority are the new currency — With so many choices online it will become increasingly difficult to buy people's attention through advertising.

Whether it's the quality of your followers on Twitter, ratings on a review site or the number of times people have linked to your blog, earned reputation is the new advertising spend. The good news is that you can grow your own reputation, but it takes time and consistent effort.

What do you think? What would you change or do away with? Better yet, what is your business' internet manifesto?

Mark Nagurski is the founder of Own Brand Media, a web content and digital |publishing business in Londonderry. You can continue this conversation, add your thoughts or share your own manifesto by visiting www.ownbrandmedia.com/manifesto

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