Not unlike any other business, the media industry has economic conditions that it must concern itself with, and seek to adjust accordingly as the times change. In recent years we’ve seen a tremendous amount of print media outlets transition to digital media platforms, and for good reason. Print media is truly a thing of the past, with readers increasingly transitioning to consuming their news to the web.
Although there have been some publications like HuffPost that understood the value of establishing a premiere media company that was entirely focused on the web and generating traffic through that source, it’s fair to say that most others have lagged way behind in the process. This has include many of the well-established and well-recognized media properties thats names would be recognizable to the average reader.
As consumer demand for print media has drastically diminished, the rush for media properties to develop a substantial and aggressive digital media presence on the web has only picked up speed. You now see outlets as diverse as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post investing very significant resources into engendering and developing as vast a digital audience as possible.
And these outlets are making these considerable investments with good reason. Study after study indicates that the online audience for consuming news has grown exponentially in recent years. Media properties have worked on creating various streams of revenue for their properties, that include aggressive advertising. These advertising opportunities offer many news publications the ability to trace analytics and in the process, gain a more comprehensive understanding of their audience.
For an editor, the ability to better understand the demographics of his or her audience; as well as the ability to better understand the audience’s interest, needs and desires for content is incredibly valuable. We’ve seen a number of prominent former editors in the news business transition to becoming digital media entrepreneurs as well, in recent years.
Ken Kurson for example has developed a collection of sites which he leads. Among them are Book and Film Globe and Fine Art Globe, both of which have incredibly dedicated and devoted readerships. The ability to use tools like Google analytics provides publishers the unique ability to obtain an incredible amount of valuable information about their audiences and readers. This information can be used in a way that’s beneficial to both the publishers and the readers themselves.
For example, some might find information useful concerning reader’s tendencies to spend more time reading one story relative to another. This can certainly be a way of gauging the outlet’s audience’s interests about specific subject matter. A savvy publisher will choose to take that information and use it to generate more content surrounding the themes expressed in that story.
Audience engagement is another critical element to spearheading the development of any successful digital media property. The ability for publishers and editors to engage with their outlets’ audiences in a way that is authentic and also effective, involves acquiring as much information about the folks that comprise their audiences. They then in turn can use this information to build and generate content that relates to their audience’s tastes. It also gives editors the ability to track which of their reporters and members of their writing staffs are in most demand from the standpoint of members of their audiences.
The transformation of the media landscape over the last decade has been nothing short of dramatic. While it has unfortunately led to some negative consequences like a considerable amount of lay-offs to those whose jobs were critical to maintaining a media outlet’s print edition, it has also created certain benefits. For those members of the media industry that have a clear understanding of how to manage a digital outlet in a savvy fashion that capitalizes on all the aforementioned benefits, the future of the industry is ripe for more and more digital media entrepreneurs.
Enhancing the quality of the reader’s experience with the outlet, its staff and editors is a critical part of improving the level of audience engagement. The transition from print to digital media has allowed publishers the opportunity to better understand their audiences, and with that, create content that appeals to them in a very effective way.