David Jones is the managing director of Splashpress Media where he oversees the day-to-day activities of the media network and all their web properties as well as handling the digital marketing service side of the company.
We recently asked David for his insight on trends in new media and what today’s freelancers should be doing to keep their skills up to date. Here’s what he shared:
How would you define new media today? How has that definition evolved since Splashpress Media was founded?
When Splashpress Media first started around 10 years ago the online publishing landscape was very different, back then the social media explosion hadn’t really begun and blogs were still at the epicenter of online conversations. In the last decade or so we have seen new media shift every few years or so, first with the sharp rise in popularity of social media, then the move to mobile and now the new content platforms such as Medium which have slowly been gathering pace.
What does it take for online publishers to be successful in today’s competitive marketplace? What do they need to do to set themselves apart?
I think for publishers to be able to compete in the marketplace in 2017 and beyond they are going to need to not only produce in-depth, high-quality content, but also be able to deliver this content in an enjoyable user experience to the reader. There are still far too many publications these days that are crowding their real estate with as many ads as possible, which can not only kill the user experience but also how the page loads leaving content practically un-readable on some mobile devices.
As for setting themselves apart, the best publications and pieces of content that get my attention are the ones that are investing time and resources into gathering data to construct stories around and then producing more long-form content less often instead of shorter content on a more frequent basis.
What are the most common mistakes or oversights you see publishers making online? What are the costs of these types of mistakes?
As I mentioned above the lack of a smooth user experience I see as something that will kill of some sites in the very near future as users leave these kind of sites. Also the lack of thought and attention that some publishers put into their content will cost them dearly, too. We are in a time where millions of new pieces of content are being produced and shared every single minute and unless you want to be disappear into the background noise then spending more time on less content I feel is the way forwards.
What qualities do you look for in the freelancers you hire? What are red flags that a particular contractor won’t be a good fit?
Most of the people we hire are copy writers or bloggers, some of the main qualities that we look for are the ability to be able to write captivating headlines and titles as these days, with the amount of content out there, it’s crucial to stand out from the noise. Also, writers who can construct stories around the content in way that keeps the reader engaged.
When an applicant doesn’t follow our requests in a job application then this is often a red flag for us. For example, we will often explicitly ask people not to send a resume and cover letter but instead send three to four links to their best published work and a short paragraph explaining why they would be a good fit for the job, often people send resumes too and these applicants usually are not successful.
How should freelancers approach fee negotiations with potential clients? What are some dos and don’ts?
Be open with the client from the very start about what your rates are but if you are able to negotiate, then include that also.
Do be aware of what the advertised rate is though, we’ve had applicants in the past who have applied for positions where we have made the rate quite clear and then after several days of discussions the applicant has said that the rate is too low for them and can we pay a higher rate. This is extremely frustrating especially when a client is working on a fixed budget. It’s fine to negotiate a rate upwards but do so at the start, otherwise you are potentially wasting both your own and the client’s time.
What excites you about the future of New Media? What innovations are you following today that will pave the way for the years to come?
I’m interested to see where VR goes in the next few years, I think there will be some exciting new opportunities for people to create and distribute content via this platform.
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