What an amazing couple of days! The Merging + Media Seminar and Lab were crammed full of great information, but also inspiration, focus and creative, dynamic people who shared their talents and a world of experience. We were taught by the gifted and passionate Anita Ondine, a leader in the space, who delivered her understanding of the business and art of transmedia to a room full of eager learners. Curriculum sessions alternated with an intensive exercise where the students had to develop a concept for a transmedia experience in a day and a half and then present a pitch to a panel of industry experts.
I learned so much, I am going to split my postings on Merging + Media into two, and it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. This first one focuses on my reinforced understanding of how Internet search marketing can be of benefit to transmedia producers and creators.
What I Learned about Transmedia & Internet Search
My assumption going into the lab was that transmedia stories need audiences and Internet search can help make that connection. The session Anita taught on “Involving Your Audience” confirmed and deepened this belief. Some of my key takeaways were:
- For most projects there are already established audiences and communities online. You don’t actually have to go out and create a new audience for your project, you just need to find and “court” these existing communities.
- There are also people actively out there looking for stories to participate in, who want a deeper level of engagement in their entertainment. They may not know this is called transmedia, but they know what they like.
- Traditional distribution models for getting your stories/material to an audience do not work for transmedia projects. It should be reframed and thought more of as discovery (which implies engagement with an active, seeking audience) than as distribution (which implies pushing content out to a more passive audience through a gatekeeper).
All of these words – finding, looking, seeking – are synonyms for searching. Hey, that’s a space I work in every day! I know exactly how I can help a transmedia project.
In the three steps of audience engagement Anita describes (find, engage, and reward), search marketing helps fulfill the first two, as well as providing some important audience measurement data:
- FIND: Search market (or keyword) research gives transmedia producers the language their audience is speaking, writing and searching with online. Once a producer has this information they, in turn, can search for these terms and phrases to find and identify the existing communities and websites they want to court for their project.
- ENGAGE: By using the language of their audience to describe and write about their project online, producers will also more effectively engage that audience, and connect with them through mechanisms like Google and other search media (this is not only true in a general industry way but also in a very project specific way).
- AND FOR BONUS POINTS – MEASURE: Search market research is also the beginning of building out metrics and meta data around a transmedia project and can provide further proof to funders, investors, broadcasters, and distributors about the size of the potential audience and commercial viability of a project.
My Transmedia Gift for You
One of the projects I began almost the moment I walked away from Merging Media is search market research into transmedia and all its related variations in terms of keywords and search activity. I will be pulling a report together in the next couple of months and offering it as a tool for transmedia producers who want to better understand how their potential audiences are writing about and searching for transmedia experiences.
If you were one of the other Lab participants or even if you are just curious about this whole transmedia thing, please do not hesitate to get in touch and let me know if you are interested in this report. Tweet me, email me, bug me on LinkedIn or Facebook and if you send me your email I will let you know when I have posted it to the Veria site.
Tomorrow I will post Part 2 of my report on Merging + Media, which will focus on some of my less online marketing centered musings.
Next Week: Search, Social & Screen Media: Top Tips
Or Revisit Last Week: Before Merging + Media 2011: Transmedia and Me