Corrections or additions?
This article by Bart Jackson was prepared for the
September 26, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
Online Content Fills Business Niches
Website? Oh Lordie, all god’s children gotta have a
website. Doesn’t matter what’s on it. But it’s a guaranteed given
for boosting sales, marketing, and keeping up. Gotta have one.
In the vague swirl of mysticism surrounding the Internet lies a world
of half-true mythology unrivaled since Homer’s Iliad. Every
pundit, it seems, holds some miracle elixir for the contents of your
web page. If you are fascinated, or desperate to take advantage of
the new online publishing tools, you will want to attend the Trenton
Forum for Interactive Publishing’s kickoff seminar
"The Role of Content Online: Beyond the Buzzwords," on
October 4, at 3 p.m. Business people, publishers, marketers, editors,
writers, everyone involved in publishing on the net is invited to
bring their woes and ideas before the panel of veterans at Thomas
Edison College’s Kelsey building, just next to the State House in
Trenton. Cost: $50.
Organized by Trenton-based, web content publisher Tramp Steamer Media
in coordination with Thomas Edison College, this will be the first
in a series of quarterly seminars aimed at providing a networking
and discussion forum for those who publish on the net. Founder of
the Trenton Forum for Interactive Publishing, Mark Feffer, feels that
these seminars fill the much needed niche of sharing for those who
are groping their way through this new, but terribly vital medium.
The web page-developer Flywire and net hosting company Weblications
agree and have joined actively as co-sponsors.
The panel is comprised of a powerful group of those experienced in
all publishing media. Speakers will include
launch The Wall Street Journal’s Interactive Edition,
whose career has taken him from the hard copy of the Herald Tribune
to online giant AOL, with a stop as Bloomberg Bureau Chief in between.
Also speaking is
E-commerce and marketing for Internet.com
for Bloomberg Custom Publishers will moderate.
"Never more than these past two weeks," says Cannon, "have
we seen the benefits of the net’s immediacy in reporting."
she says, most informed people see print and the net amiably blending
to provide readers with a total picture. It is not new media versus
old, but rather an overlapping of the instant update with a deeper
perspective. While Bloomberg’s net services offer you the
state of your portfolio or the twin towers rescue, the print
Investing, which Cannon edits, can temper your frenzy with a calm
overview of the social, political and economic factors under
Despite having a foot in each camp, Cannon still holds a strong print
and publishing allegiance. Following a Delaware childhood and
from that state’s university in 1976, she charged up to New York —
home of magazines. Over the years, Cannon has worked on the launches
of no fewer than eight magazines, including Entertainment Weekly,
the Australian edition of People, and the ill-fated TV Cable Weekly.
When Bloomberg Publishers sought a person to start up web interactive
print magazines, they called Cannon.
The problem of immediacy complemented with perspective was exactly
one she had wrestled with when writing for Time magazine which came
weekly into the mailboxes of a nation that watched nightly news on
Baker says the flexibility of the web hastens our whole cultural pace
culturally. It fills that important middle ground, exceeding the TV
and radio sound bites with its full text articles, yet it is updated
more swiftly than the print periodical. However, he says, if web
is to work, it must be held to the same standards as the other
Baker is a firm believer in the proverb: that which is given too
is esteemed too lightly. It is a process he has observed first-hand
professionally for decades. Coming from Gary, Indiana, to attend
University (Class of 1976), then Columbia University for an MBA, Baker
planted himself in West Windsor, becoming a confirmed Easterner. He
began working for the Dow Jones marketing department, then the Wall
Street Journal, and has been an interactive publishing consultant
for the last nine years.
"We have just come from a wonderful period where people could
read any screen full of info totally for free," he says. "But
people were getting only what they paid for — mounds of unedited
stuff. When we began the Wall Street Journal’s Interactive Edition,
the whole project began with the assumption of charging a user fee.
This immediately raised the expectation of quality."
Baker insists that web pages in any business or field which launch
as a defensive obligation just to "keep up" are doomed to
failure. So the question arises: where is the money going to come
from? Certainly, following the ad-driven formulas adopted by other
media already has proved a very slippery footing for builders of the
information highway. Yet the battle cry of "Keep Our Net Free"
has hindered many publishers trying to make an honest buck.
The Forum speakers adamantly hold that many very profitable publishing
niches still remain. Among them are:
of web page revenue comes from businesses casting a small investment
upon the Internet sea to receive hopefully manifold baskets of
sales. Marketing methods have sharpened exponentially via the full
range of Internet capabilities.
"However," Cannon is quick to point out, "while web access
remains a necessity for success, content is the key." Too many
firms just take their sales brochure and slap it on a web page.
or out-sourced, web page publishers must take advantage of the
capabilities and offer more than a version of their catalog online.
everything from annual reports to daily updated messages has brought
a boom to business publishing. Both large and mid-size companies now
hire out their communication needs to such interactive publishers
as Tramp Steamer and Bloomberg, which offer full online publishing
provided by a complete staff of planners, editors, and writers.
saw an article in Premier about Steve Martin," hypothesizes
"I ignored it then, but now I’d like to read it. I would be
to pay to have that article brought instantly onto my screen without
having to save months of old musty issues." It is like your public
library, with the convenience of being in your bedroom. Will people
pay merely for convenience? Just look at 7-11.
says Baker. "I foresee people paying to obtain their favorite
music and entertainment off the net." The successful ones, he
says, will again use the net’s full capabilities. Amazon.com, through
all the E-commerce plummeting, has remained a strong and enormous
retailer because it has become an information source as well. Books
are reviewed, explained. and linked to other readings. Amazon reviews
are now quoted on thousands of book jackets.
interactive publisher to make a go of it, whether she is selling
matter or a tangible product. Those who are allied with some existing
business or publication will fare better. But this should come as
no surprise, says Baker. "You are being held to high standards.
People are paying to see what you publish and you must put up
worthy of their allegiance."
It might just be that online publishing, like its predecessor, print,
must begin at the beginning. It must relive the days of the old
where ads offered virtually no revenue and the public would pay only
for the quality of your product. Perhaps the net must take up the
new motto "Kill ’em with Content."
— Bart Jackson
I can establish rapport with a chair," says Georgann
Occhipinti. Co-founder of Avant Consulting in Piscataway, Occhipinti
advises companies on getting the most out of all of their
teams, including their sales teams. In sales, she says, establishing
rapport is essential, but it is only a beginning.
Occhipinti holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers and
a master’s degree in industrial psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson.
She speaks on "Get the Pointers You Need to Close the Sale"
on Thursday, October 4, at 8 a.m. at the Middlesex Chamber’s Business
Over Breakfast meeting. Occhipinti’s business partner,
also speaks. Cost: $30. Call 732-821-1700.
Before going into consulting, Occhipinti worked for American Home
Products and then for Met Life in human resources positions. She has
been in consulting since 1993, and co-founded her firm in 1998. She
says the biggest mistake salespeople make is in trying to "sell
something rather than build a relationship." In her view, touting
the attributes of a product or service must always come second to
human interaction. She offers these five tips for successful selling:
"If a person feels rushed, reschedule," says Occhipinti. It
is more important to have enough time — easily two half hour
— to strike a person spark than to hurry through a presentation.
why a prospect needs to buy is indispensable. "If a person doesn’t
believe there is a need for a service, there will be no sale,"
says Occhipinti. "If a person doesn’t understand he needs your
service NOW, if he’s vague or hesitant, you’re getting nowhere."
You have to mine for what customers want to change, she says. You
have to hunt for the thing that is holding them back, limiting their
profits, keeping them from achieving goals. It is only when you know
this that you can make a case for your product or service.
you have found a customer’s need, you have to find out if he is
to invest in your product or service to fulfill that need. "Are
they willing to invest in your product to improve something?"
is how Occhipinti puts it. "If not," she says, "you may
have an admirer, but not a sale."
says Occhipinti. Go in with numbers. If your service cuts down time
by 20 percent, calculate the dollar savings. List every single reason
for making a change, and attach a savings figure to each.
laying the groundwork for a sale, "You don’t have to ask for
says Occhipinti. "You’ve made such a strong case," she says.
The decision should be a given, but you do need to ask —
— for that order.
Drawing upon her education in psychology, Occhipinti says sales boils
down to "knowing about people; knowing what keeps them up at
<d>New Jersey SHARES (Statewide Heating Assistance
and Referral for Energy Services) will help pay the utility bills
of New Jersey households who are suffering financial hardships caused
by the World Trade Center tragedy. Grants of up to $750 on natural
gas bills and up to $250 on electricity bills to eligible households.
New Jersey SHARES is a not-for-profit with a board comprised of
from utilities and social service agencies. It administers grants
for utility bill payments.
"Eligibility will be based on need, not income, so a temporary
financial hardship resulting from a lost job, lost income, or injury
related to this disaster could qualify an individual or family for
a grant," says Larry Savitsky, executive director.
Apply for grants through a social service agency or call 866-657-4273.
To make a tax deductible donation to this effort send checks payable
to New Jersey SHARES, 121 Shelly Drive, Suite 2A, Hackettstown 07840.
event at Liberty State Park on Sunday, September 23, were the
& Barrister Restaurant of Witherspoon Street,
at the Carnegie Center,
Companies on Farber Road,
of agriculture, and
in Trenton. Christopher and Dana Reeve were the hosts, and Ray Charles
and the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra provided entertainment.
of lunch and dinner sales from September 23 to 25 to the American
cope with grief on Mondays at 7:30 p.m. at Angel’s Touch, 3800
Road (at Young’s Road, near the Wawa). Call 609-689-3748 or E-mail:
support the relief effort at 614 Route 130 in Hightstown, next to
the car wash. Call 609-448-7727 for hours that the center is open
and what items are still needed.
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