Online publishers

Linklove: what big media can learn from bloggers

The fundamental art of linking is something online media could learn from the blogosphere….

Without linking there wouldn’t be an internet. It’s the web of links that leads a user from website-to-website that essentially creates the thing we know as the world wide web. Many commercial online media publishers hate linking from their websites to the “outside”, especially when there’s a competitor involved. It’s a protective, “walled garden” mentality, prevalent in many traditional media businesses, which doesn’t translate particularly well on the wild world wide web. It’s pretty silly, because linking is the whole point of the web.

This where the blogosphere could teach online publishers a thing or two…. read on

Online ads: What’s working?

Online advertising as we know it is crude. But it is entering a new era of sophistication….

The internet allows us to target advertising to an unprecedented degree, so why are most banner ads still served on such a hit-and-miss basis?

Publishers slap up an insurance ad on a homepage in the hope they will get the industry average 0,3% click-through rate or more. If they achieve that click-through rate, everyone is happy. But here is the question — what happened to the other 99,7%? Surely by any standards this is a pretty inefficient ratio? It may be at first glance, but that 0,3% is still valuable enough for advertisers to achieve major return on investment by forking out big bucks to be on the major sites.

The type of client found on local online publishers give us a clue as to what is working on the web. For example, insurance and car companies have had a very successful love affair with the internet. The one thing they have in common is that a single acquisition equals very high value for them, for example someone buying a car or taking out a long-term insurance policy. It’s also why the high-worth online audience, which can afford to pay regular premiums, works for their brand… (read on)

Decline of the homepage

Website consumption patterns are changing. Remember when the main way to surf a website was via its homepage? Well, that was the old days. The rise of super-fast, super-efficient search engines mean that users are increasingly accessing websites via deep links that bypass their homepages directly to a website’s articles. It’s essentially a backdoor into your website. Search engines aren’t the only ones to blame. Bloggers generally link directly to the articles they are writing about, ignoring homepages. RSS feeds, which allow users to subscribe directly to article feeds, are also responsible for the decline of the homepage. So what does this mean? Paradoxically it is both a problem and an opportunity for publishers.

Online ‘permanence’

Imagine a world where you could actively sell advertising on archived content. Well, it’s here. Content on a website should never die. Never, ever. To delete content on a website is a waste. Online articles and their links should be permanent. In the world of the dead tree, articles have limited lifespans. You read your paper, then it’s used to wrap fish and chips, is thrown in the rubbish bin, or lives a lonely life of obscurity in some dusty library archive….

It’s about branding, stupid

Online advertising is not only about clicks, leads and acquisitions… branding is important too. There are a number of competing online advertising models on the net. By far the most dominant one used by online publishers is the Cost-per-Thousand (CPM) model. CPM is the closest online advertising gets to advertising in traditional media. The advertiser pays in advance to place an advert that will be displayed to the website’s readership base, which should generate return on investment. Through the campaign there will be branding for the advertiser, click-throughs on the advert, leads and hopefully acquisition of the product. Everyone’s happy?

Why can’t we all just get along?

The media world is undergoing profound change. We know the great catalyst for these changes has been the onward march of the digital age and the arrival of the internet.

This changing mediascape is often incorrectly portrayed as a battlefield, with two main skirmishes on the go. In the first “battle”, the soldiers have grown weary or just rather bored. This battle involves traditional media (newspapers, radio, TV) versus online media. The second “battle” is a much more interesting to look at. This skirmish involves mainstream media (which in this instance includes online publishers as they mostly practise traditional journalism) versus citizen media, which includes bloggers, vloggers and podcasters….

Print vs Online: Interview with Marketing Mix

Just did this interview with Marketing Mix on the (yawn) print vs online debate…

What is your opinion on the general attitude of the newspaper industry towards the merging of online and print?

How far is SA behind (in general) when it comes to combining online and print?

What ‘cool’ things do you have on the M&G site that no one else does, and how are the ‘cool’ things working out – are people using RSS feeds etc, for example?

What are the problems/challenges facing publishers that actually want to embrace online?

Should SA publishers be worried about online? Is it a threat?

What is hampering the real growth of online at the moment?

How long do you think we have until online starts eating into circulation/ad revenue the way it has in the US and UK?

What are the next steps in terms of technology and integrating print and online that publishers need to embrace and use?

How can an online presence be using for success brand-building both for the newspaper itself as well as advertising clients?

Has online revenue started to make a positive impact on the overall bottom line?

Are clients and ad agencies geared for an online presence? If no, what needs to be done (by all parties) to ensure online ad revenue success?

What are the differences between having a print publication and an online site – ie what do publishers/journalists need to learn and understand about online in order to meet consumer expectations?

What is your opinion on citizen journalism and its part?

What do you do about premium news (subscribing mostly?) as most people won’t pay for the privilege esp as they can normally find the stories elsewhere on the internet? But how viable is free content?

Is there a threat yet to classifieds (print and online) from sites such as craigslist, and how do you combat this?

Answers over the page…..

The blog phenomenon

When Gutenberg invented the printing press, he freed the publishers. But when the World Wide Web was pioneered by Tim Berners-Lee, it was said that the readers were now freed. The age of the internet has given unprecedented power to the reader by creating one of the most democratic and accessible forms of publishing yet – the blog.

The great convergence sideshow

It’s always been cheap and easy to publish on the web. Big professional, online publishers share the same medium as small-time, personal homepages. Online publishers typically publish at a lower cost than newspapers or magazines, making it an affordable option for shoestring publishers and budding entrepreneurs. It’s why they are in the web business in the first place.

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