Our Q&A today is with Liam Handford, Digital Marketing Specialist at Canvasflow, a cloud based\u00a0authoring tool for publishers.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n1. CAN YOU PROVIDE A BACKGROUND OF YOUR COMPANY?\r\n\r\nCanvasflow was born in 2016 when co-founders Gareth Jones and Patrick Cobbett became aware of the limitations that existed for publishers with a desire to take a mobile first approach to publishing.\u00a0 While PDF still has a place, the continued growth of mobile usage demanded a better solution to create rich, mobile-friendly content.\r\n\r\nFrom a lot of research we found that a number of robust solutions existed for the distribution of digital content, however little existed to facilitate publishers in the creation of good looking, cost effective responsive content.\r\n\r\nHaving built, and implemented numerous back-end solutions to transform and publish digital content for many companies, it became clear that a solution was needed to provide publishers with powerful but simple to use platform to give them the toolset and confidence to begin the move to a mobile-first workflow.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n2. WHAT BUSINESS PROBLEM ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE?\r\n\r\nMany publishers either publish content that simply isn\u2019t responsive or optimised for mobile consumption, or they have must invest significant resources and have convoluted workflows to create content that is.\r\n\r\nWe don\u2019t believe creating mobile-friendly content should be difficult, time consuming, or ultimately expensive. We also see how inflexible much of the content is that publishers have because it\u2019s created for one specific purpose, in one format.\r\n\r\nCanvasflow was created to provide a platform that makes creating responsive content simple and intuitive, regardless of the company's size, technical resources or the audience a publisher is targetting. We do this while providing a simple workflow and design-driven articles.\r\n\r\nOnce content has been created, it can be pushed - on demand - to one or more major app platforms, social channels, CMS or even output as a PDF if required.\u00a0 It\u2019s all about freeing up resources for publishers to focus on their audience.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n3. HOW DOES YOUR SOLUTION WORK?\r\n\r\nThere are three major aspects to Canvasflow: Creation, Management, and Publishing.\r\n\r\nContent creation is one of the platforms key value points.\u00a0 Canvasflow provides a super simple drag and drop content building UI with all the functionality publishers require to create and design content that\u2019ll look great across all devices.\u00a0 This enables articles to be constructed in very little time and from any location.\u00a0 With practically zero learning curve, its perfect for helping publishers move to a new workflow, and because it\u2019s designed for publishers, they don\u2019t require a developer to create new content or make design changes.\r\n\r\nFor larger publishers, or when content already exists, we also provide an API which offers the ability to automate production.\u00a0 One example of this is our recently released WordPress plugin which enables publishers with content in WordPress to intelligently push it into Canvasflow.\u00a0 This automatically generates clean, responsive articles which are available to be redesigned, enriched or simply republished to new channels.\r\n\r\nContent management comes in the form of providing a workflow suited to the publisher.\u00a0 With support for multiple publications and different publishing schedules and smart syncing with publishing platforms, content is managed in a single location regardless of its ultimate\u00a0 destination.\r\n\r\nFinally publishing. Because Canvasflow is already integrated, and offers instant setup with many of the leading app and social distribution platforms, publishers have complete choice over a solution that meets their requirements.\r\n\r\nWith support for multi-channel publishing you get the benefit of write once, publish many - to an App, Apple News channel and Blog. Because Canvasflow automatically handles the requirements of any connected channel, it ensures that only compatible content and appropriate metadata is published leaving the editor to focus only the content.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n4. HOW IS MOBILE TECHNOLOGY AFFECTING LOCAL JOURNALISM?\r\n\r\nThe biggest impact mobile technology has had on local journalism isn\u2019t just the demand from readers to access content on the go or across multiple devices with a familiar reading experience, but the speed at which publishers are able to push content.\r\n\r\nThanks to mobile-first solutions like Canvasflow, local publishers are able to inform their readers much faster and more continuously, updating as stories progress. This turns the local publishing realm into more of a conversation with their audience, and with the use of analytics can help drive their editorial strategy.\r\n\r\nOn the flipside, there\u2019s been a shift from long-form text to much more digestible content - which has increased the amount of lower quality content in an effort to \u2018get it out the door\u2019 first to capitalise on the headline and hook readers in. The content itself has taken a backseat to the development required to get it ready for an app, blog and print.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n5. HOW CAN LOCAL PUBLISHERS TAKE A MOBILE-FIRST APPROACH?\r\n\r\nRegular, consistently great content delivered in formats that make the most sense. Look at how podcasts have made a resurgence, or even how large publishers have been making the most out of video - they recognise that mixed formats beyond text allow them to capture the attention of a bigger audience, even if the persona of the audience itself stays the same. A 10 minute podcast to recap on the latest Brexit news is far more digestible than a 3000 word article, but for little cost, it\u2019s also possible to provide a brief overview via youtube video, and a short-form version on Apple News.\r\n\r\nCommunicating with readers in multiple different ways is what mobile-first really boils down to, adapting content not just to screen size, but to use case.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n6. WHAT ARE SOME MOBILE-FIRST STRATEGIES THAT YOU'VE SEE WORK AND WHY?\r\n\r\n\u00a0Understanding where new audiences can exist and establishing a presence on those channels, with consistent, tailored content is something all publishers should be doing. A publisher that\u2019s purely digital could be missing out on a huge audience simply by not exploring alternate channels. It can be hard to get your voice heard over everyone else, but presence alone often pays off in the long-run even without pushing it too much - whether it\u2019s through SEO, being referenced by other publications, or simply letting people stumble onto your content.\r\n\r\nThere\u2019s also the endless battle between paywalled and freemium content, but ultimately freemium allows first time readers to take a chance on a publisher, and that\u2019s how loyal audiences are built. When it comes to digital there\u2019s so much choice in almost every sector of publishing that you can\u2019t afford to work without some good faith between publisher and reader.\r\n\r\n \r\n\r\n\u00a07. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADDITIONAL ADVICE IN DOMINATING THE LOCAL MOBILE REMIT?\r\n\r\n\u00a0The best recipe is always going to be focusing on good content. Deliver that content consistently, let readers be able to expect particular pieces on certain days of the week or even times of the day.\r\n\r\nExperiment with channels like Medium and Apple News, try promoting your publication through Facebook Advertising, they all have the potential to be low cost and high reward. Use technology to your advantage whether it\u2019s analytics to help you measure which channels are worth investing in, or content authoring and management solutions that streamline your workflow. The key is ensuring you spend more time creating valuable content and less time trying to force that content through pipelines.\r\n\r\nFinally, be the master of your own domain. It\u2019s very easy to start broadening your target audience, but when that happens the very reason your current readers trust you is often diluted. Niche, targeted publications with loyal readers will add more value and be more sustainable than a publication adding little value to as many eyeballs as possible.