More Profitable Online Publishing

  |  February 2, 2007   |  Comments

In online journalism, what's the transaction? A primer for publishers, bloggers, journalists, and content creators.

Publishing's strength has shifted from the media elite to the masses. It began in the late '90s with sites like GeoCities. In 2005, we witnessed the explosive emergence of the blogosphere. And in 2006, video and social Web sites drew the attention.

Today, anyone with a browser and a digital camera can be a publisher.

This is hardly a groundbreaking revelation, but as our digital society evolves, publishers find themselves in seemingly new territory and asking new questions. One question from a friend who works for a major publisher got us thinking about the differences between merchandising and journalism:

In journalism, what's the sales transaction?

To be a profitable journalist and publisher in today's climate means overcoming the same hurdles as your counterparts in merchandising and marketing. It's all about earning trust, credibility, interest, usability, and relevance. Just because you aren't peddling a shiny new product or service doesn't mean you don't have to persuade. A sale certainly does take place.

The best way to think about the journalism sales transaction is to break it down into four significantly overlapping categories: journalist to reader, publisher to reader, publisher to advertiser, and advertiser to reader.

If you were to look at this as a Venn diagram (define), the overlap would be visible.

  • Journalist to reader. This transaction's essence is the readers' trust in the integrity of the viewpoint and credibility of the information, and sometimes of the journalist. Credibility keeps readers engaged in the content. Credibility can stem from the publisher's brand, a personality, or the content's reliability. Trust isn't sufficient, however, unless there's also interest.

  • Publisher to reader. This transaction's essence is interest. Interest is what prompts readers to keep reading this edition and the next and prompts them to explore other topics in the same publication. The reader also trusts that advertisements will be relevant within the context of their interest in the publication and that the publisher vets advertisers' integrity.

  • Publisher to advertiser. In this transaction, advertisers must trust that the publisher knows how to attract and hold reader interest. They also trust the publisher will market and distribute the publication and will help advertisers understand what's relevant to their readership.

  • Advertiser to reader. Relevance lies at the heart of this relationship. The reader's relationship with the publication is critical. The reader hopes ads will be an extension of the content. When the content and ads are in sync, the affinity the reader feels for the product or service increases.

A fifth category may be journalist to publisher. This relationship's significance has grown parallel to the usability of the tools the average joe needs to publish. GeoCities made it easy to put up a Web site, YouTube made it easy to upload videos, and Flickr made it easy to upload photos. These publishers rely on the content amateurs post to build traffic and attract new "journalists." Although a successful relationship is largely about usability and viral popularity, publishers will soon have to better serve everyman journalists and maintain the relationship by providing differentiating benefits.

Bottom line: Journalist, publishers, and readers aren't all that different from sellers, advertisers, and buyers. They're all people with needs, motivations, and preferences. They're people who must be persuaded to take action. The same basic issues permeate product, service, and journalistic transactions. Understanding this, along with planning persuasion scenarios, is the key to more profitable online publishing.

ClickZ Live New York What's New for 2015?
You spoke, we listened! ClickZ Live New York (Mar 30-Apr 1) is back with a brand new streamlined agenda. Don't miss the latest digital marketing tips, tricks and tools that will make you re-think your strategy and revolutionize your marketing campaigns. Super Saver Rates are available now. Register today!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryan Eisenberg

Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.

COMMENTSCommenting policy

comments powered by Disqus

Get the ClickZ Analytics newsletter delivered to you. Subscribe today!

COMMENTS

UPCOMING EVENTS

UPCOMING TRAINING

Featured White Papers

Google My Business Listings Demystified

Google My Business Listings Demystified
To help brands control how they appear online, Google has developed a new offering: Google My Business Locations. This whitepaper helps marketers understand how to use this powerful new tool.

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line

5 Ways to Personalize Beyond the Subject Line
82 percent of shoppers say they would buy more items from a brand if the emails they sent were more personalized. This white paper offer five tactics that will personalize your email beyond the subject line and drive real business growth.

WEBINARS

    Information currently unavailable

Jobs

    • Lead Generation Specialist
      Lead Generation Specialist (The Oxford Club) - BaltimoreThe Oxford Club is seeking a talented writer/marketer to join our growing email lead-generation...
    • Health Marketing Editor
      Health Marketing Editor (Agora Inc.) - BaltimoreCome flex your intellectual muscle as part of Agora, Inc’s (http://agora-inc.com/) legal team...
    • Technical Business Analyst
      Technical Business Analyst (OmniVista Health) - BaltimoreOmniVista Health is looking to add a Technical Business Analyst to our expanding team...