3 Lessons for Professional Speakers from the New York Times Innovation Report

This week, it seemed like the New York Times was making the news more than it was breaking it. First came the shocking ouster of Jill Abramson, the paper’s first female Editor in Chief. Then came the leaked innovation report, which outlined all the ways in which the media giant is failing when it comes to innovation. (Read the full 98-page report here.)

What does this journalism innovation strategy have to do with you? More than you think. Here are three lessons from the New York Times’ innovation report that every professional speaker should implement right now:

1. Use content to serve your audience.

The New York Times innovators stress over and over again that the better the media company’s content, the better its readers are served. It’s the same with professional speakers like you. Event and testimonial videos aren’t vanity projects; they are quintessential tools that show your audience  you care about providing them with exciting, fresh material.

The average web user views 89 websites per day, and if there’s nothing new to read or view on your web page or YouTube channel, they move on quickly to another fish in the sea. New event videos, blog posts and other content are signs that you’re an active speaker who’s out in the world delivering speeches and bringing new ideas to your audience.

2. Repackage content to generate new buzz.

For the New York Times, this means compiling old stories and videos into new formats such as eBooks, video collections and online guides for specific topics. For professional speakers like you, it’s easier than ever to put a new spin on content you already have. Some tips:

  • Turn your blog posts and short-form writing into the foundation of a web tutorial or a book
  • Turn your writing and event photos into a digital flipbook 
  • Combine your event videos and writing in ePubs that you send out to your newsletter contacts or have for download on your website
  • Have a video editor combine highlights from previous event videos into a new “best of” video
  • Turn your event footage into an educational video that highlights your point of view

3. Give your audience the microphone.

At the New York Times, there’s a built-in audience of readers who could easily be adding to the discourse by penning their own articles. However, they’re not fully mobilized. As a speaker, you have an audience that wants to engage with you — and not just from the stage. It’s time to give them the microphone:

  • Film testimonial videos in which members of your crowd share  reactions to your speech on camera.
  • Let trusted people on your mailing list write an articles in your next newsletter.
  • Ask Twitter and Facebook followers for their thoughts on hot-button issues in your field.

Not only do these strategies engage your existing audience, but they also foster the type of content sharing that expands your visibility by leaps and bounds.

One more thing worth highlighting: The New York Times has professional speaking events on its radar. There’s “no reason that the space filled by TED Talks, with tickets costing $7,500, could not have been created by the Times,” read the document.  Said one TED exec:  ”One of our biggest concerns is that someone like The Times will start a real conference program.”

Whether you need a better demo video, fresh testimonial videos or compelling ebook material, Pro Speaker Content is your go-to content guru. Isn’t it time to embrace content innovation? 

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