Almost all advertising dollars are going to the web and mobile devices, monopolized by the big tech giants, leaving scraps for news and media companies to grapple over.
We have put together below 5 steps we believe are essential for publishers while developing a good working strategy in order to survive and succeed moving forward. By no means do we claim these are the only steps, but these are some obvious ideas to start from.
First and foremost, if you are still printing, please stop. Focus all your efforts in ceasing all wasteful print and pour your resources on the digital version of your publication. You may say that your paper accounts for most of your advertising revenues. Well, this brings us to our next point.
Monetization & Diversification
To stay competitive, you must develop your online presence and diversify revenue streams. The giants, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter, do not rely solely on advertising, and neither should you.
People are visual and competitive beings, and they will buy a product they are reading about or attack a sudoku challenge embedded within.
Accordingly, consider integrating an e-commerce service (even from Amazon), offering games with in-app purchases, and adding videos with advertising (even the basic photo slideshow type). As for advertising, brands will be willing to pay for premium advertising if you give them a locally relevant audience. Google may give you exposure from coast to coast, but the local bookstore or neighborhood pizza joint will only justify increased advertising spend when your local readers are their potential buyers. Finally, lower your pricing by automating your website’s advertising process by linking to Google Analytics basic demographics tools.
Loyalty. Loyalty. Loyalty.
As we discussed in our previous blog article, “Follow is the New Like”, allowing users to “follow” a story or specific subject matter keeps readers engaged and, ultimately, empowers online publishers. Magnet’s “follow” feature is one of many similar engaging services that gives users the power to track the development of stories and their branching topics by signing up and selecting how the stories/topics will be delivered. This means the reader has entrusted you, the publisher, with his/her email address, changing the entire relationship from satisfied readers who occasionally and fleetingly visit your site, to verified users who keep coming back for more. That’s loyalty.
United We Stand
The saying, “Strength in numbers” holds all but true, as online publishers struggle to keep afloat against the Google/Facebook duopoly. Many little players coming together to create one large consortium (similar to the LMC), where publishers can cut costs, share resources and content, and access previously untapped users, could ultimately even out the playing field, or at least let the little guys make the next round. As a fragmented media landscape comes to terms that it’s only going to get worse in the digital world ruled by giants, news and media agencies must unite and fight fire in numbers. Unification could be on the backend side in terms of advertising personas, or even on the email targeting side.
Providing users with unique content is key; but to keep them engaged requires some help from technology. Related articles, personalized and recommended content, topic pages, automated tagging, personalized newsletters, and follow story/topic/author are among some features that you can use (check the top 5 tech we recommend here).