Think Media, Not Medium

HeadphonesI just downloaded the audiobook version of Mitch Joel‘s book “Six Pixels of Separation: Everyone Is Connected. Connect Your Business to Everyone.

I bought the hard copy of the book two months ago when it was first released. So why get the audio version too?

Books just don’t work for me any more.

I love books. I have a stack of books in my office and a full bookcase in my home office. I love being able to hold, see, wave-around and annotate the hard copy of something as I consume it. However, I’ve had this book for two months now and am only half-way through.

On the flip side, as I make a concerted effort to live up to my commitment to myself to get back into running I’m finding myself consuming more and more audio content via my iPod Nano.

On the way home from work yesterday, I got through more of the audiobook than I’d consumed in the last two weeks via the hard copy, despite being on vacation.

Communicators: Think beyond one medium

It’s all too easy for us to think in terms of individual communications channels. PR folks do their thing; advertising folks do their thing; maybe the social media folks do theirs too.

That kind of thinking isn’t as effective nowadays, where people are used to consuming information in the way that they want. A ‘book’ doesn’t work for me, but the same content in a different medium is perfect.

As communicators, I think we need to move towards what I think of as a medium-agnostic approach to communications. Part of that is reaching your target audience wherever they inhabit, so each person can consume information in the way in which they choose. So think – are you re-purposing your content wherever you can?

It’s all about making your customers’ lives easier. How are you achieving that?

Image source:, via d-s-n

29 Responses toThink Media, Not Medium

  • Like your thinking here, Dave, and also telling myself that *I* should download the audio version of Mitch’s book. Like you, I have the print version on my bookshelf, and like you, I found the time to sit down and get very far through it.

    The challenge for creating content in multiple media is always time, but if it starts to become more the norm in the planning process, it will become less of something “extra” that has to get done. It will just be what’s always done.

    Bryan | @BryanPerson

    • Thanks Brian. Going from the chapter or so I’ve listened to so far, the audiobook is pretty good – plus, you get to listen to Mitch’s dulcet tones beyond his regular podcasts 😉

  • Repurposing your content is something I believe virtually every organization could do a better job with. Most companies have the content–whether it resides in newsletters, brochures, Web copy, blogs, etc.. They just never bother to think about the different media they could use to distribute it.

    For example, let’s say you have a newsletter article that talks about a relevant industry issue. Wouldn’t be too tough to capture the SME on camera using a Flip and distribute via your YouTube channel, right? How much effort would that take? And the end result could be pretty impactful. Exposing your content to a whole different audience who prefers video over print. And, don’t forget the SEO benefits in this specific example.

    Thanks for keeping me thinking, Dave.


    • Arik:

      I think we need to be careful not to underestimate the amount of time it takes to produce good content in multiple formats. For video … shooting, reshooting (possibly), editing, uploading, getting proper approvals, promoting, etc. can take quite a long time, especially if it’s being done for multiple pieces of content.

      But your point about considering different channels of distribution in advance is the key. When you do that, and plan it out and map to your business goals, it doesn’t have to be so daunting.

  • Good stuff…but I wonder to what extent should you be offering your content across multiple platforms. Can you be too noisy by providing the same content in 5 different formats in 10 different places?

    I definitely agree that you need to provide content in a format that is comfortable for that audience, just pondering boundaries.


  • We all consume content differently. I know plenty of people who almost never watch “live” TV; it’s either DVR or online or on iPods or smartphones. Our messages–multipurpose, multifunction, multimedia–need to reach our customers on their terms: on demand, on the go, at their convenience.

  • Working with one of the largest loyalty and incentive rewards companies at the minute and the CEO was appalled to discover their website wasn’t mobile-friendly. You need to be acceptable to all formats – it’s no longer just “web only” approaches. Same goes for sharing your content – make it accessible (Odiogo does a great job of transferring written text into podcast-friendly audio files, for example).

    Of course, you probably don’t want to be listening to a hot and heavy adult book while working out in the gym. But I digress… 😉

  • So true Dave. I have many books which I’m currently part way through having not found the time to finish them. I tend to consume a much greater mass of information on a daily basis either online (video/text/images) or on my iPod (video/audio). I think this is definitely a trend which needs to affect the way we market ourselves to the world. Keeping our content relevant and accessible to people in whatever format they choose is the key here. The extra time it takes is obviously a consideration. Perhaps therefore it is only the most important content which gets the ‘5 different formats in 10 different places’ (@DavidSpinks) treatment?

  • No complaints from me Dave… especially if you bought it twice 😉

    Why not pass the book on to a client or donate it to a local library if you’re not going to read it?

    …better yet, give it away as a content on the Blog 🙂

    Many, many thanks 🙂

  • It’s all too easy for us to think in terms of individual communications channels.

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