Well, let’s be clear, the need for premium content will always be there, however, the question remains, how can news publishers succeed in an overly saturated digital world?
We all know that online publishers face drastic challenges in creating original content, disseminating it to the right readers, and making money all the while. So, if you are thinking to start an online news website we recommend to look at it as a business first.
Market, product, monetization.
These are the three aspects you need to focus on in order to make your decision.
Finding the Right Market
For mavericks wanting to blaze trails into brand new markets, the key is to make sure that new market has both the need for your business, as well as the financial capabilities to align with your bottom line. You might find an opportunity to cater to a specific geographical location that is in dire need for local or regional news, giving you pioneering abilities to reach isolated, nascent audiences that no one has spoken to before. Another niche strategy is to tap into an established market where people have purchasing power and are already buying. The latter approach is easier and a lot more profitable. Either way, the niche market requires both the need for your product, as well as the pockets to pay for it. The more you give them what they want and need in their native tongue, the more your news business will grow.
Product: The Need for Original Content
Despite the online masses with their insatiable appetites, the online news industry has experienced declining advertising revenues and a shift back to a subscription based model—proof that the need for original content is and always will remain intact. Original content includes opinion pieces, investigative journalism, editorials, and the like that engages users and provides substantial value.
Unless you are a philanthropist-backed entity, monetization will need to be your number one focus. Advertising-based business models for online news agencies are dead in the water. Most investors, who previously put money behind advertising based models, have pulled a complete 180, due to tech giants Google and Facebook dominating market share and only getting bigger by the second, reducing any hope for other online businesses to exist, let alone thrive. This has resulted in news agencies paywalling their sites. Whereas, paying for news used to be avoided by readers, audiences have already jumped on the pay-to-read bandwagon, much more satisfied with better content that is not shared on social media sites, and better displayed on clean pages free of aggressive advertising and pop-ups.
So, if you’re thinking of starting an online news publication, set a firm business model in place that prioritizes original content, hones in on a niche market with financial capabilities, and offers quality through a subscription based model. By doing so, you will be helping to create an online world where all businesses have the room to grow and thrive.