This year’s Western Publications Association conference, the key regional event for publishers on the West Coast, was focused mostly on e-media, at least in the general sessions. For example, 1105 Media CEO Neal Vitale gave a powerful presentation at the annual VIP panel. Vitale offered an eight-point framework for a successful e-media strategy.

Make sure the sale is integrated.
"It’s better to have one person talking about our products than having separate sales teams that potentially compete," Vitale said. He did make an exception for live events, noting that the sell is fundamentally different.

Have an in-house e-media guru.

"You need a chief catalyst within the organization," he said. This also helps to cross-pollinate ideas within the organization from division to division.

Experimentation is a good thing.

"Things like mashups and other online applications;you have to be talking about these things," Vitale said. "You may not succeed with some of them, but you should be part of it;and you also have marketers that want to try new things."

Be wary of the quality of back-end support.

"A lot of this looks easy," Vitale said. "It’s not. It’s not easy to be up to speed on content-management systems and technology capabilities and needs, while also running a publishing company. It’s also an interesting question whether you can build a CMS and other capabilities in house and also provide value to the marketplace. The jury is out."

Band-Aids don’t work.

You’ll be doing makegoods galore, Vitale said.

Online is NOT a value-add.

"It is a fundamentally important part of the marketing program," Vitale said.

Markets and industries develop at different paces.

"You really need to keep pace with the markets you serve and act accordingly," Vitale said.

The business has not changed.

"This is still the same old business," he said. "E-media is a new medium, but it’s the same song."