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Posts Tagged ‘digital strategy’

Discover Magazine Launches Citizen Science Salon

citizenscienceIn a week fraught with rethinking digital and mobile content strategies, Discover magazine took a rather classic route in attempting to expand their reach and engage new audiences. They’ve added two new blogs to their site — But Not Simpler and Inkfish — and launched Citizen Science Salon — which includes real, crowdscourced science projects from SciStarter that correlates with articles in the print and digital version of the monthly magazine.

Associate online editor Lisa Raffensperger told me over the phone that the parntership is a natural one: Read more

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Upworthy Quits Page Views, Measures ‘Total Attention Minutes’ Instead

upworthyUpworthy released a blog post today announcing their new model for measuring success: Attention Minutes.

Their source code and more information about its implementation is promised for the coming months (something to look forward to besides spring?). But for now, let’s take a look at their reasoning

Pageviews have long been on the way out and Upworthy has decided that shares, unique visitors, and Google Analytics’ time on site metrics just aren’t cutting it for them. By tracking “everything from video player signals about whether a video is currently playing, to a user’s mouse movements, to which browser tab is currently open,” Upworthy says this move ”will accelerate the drive toward quality.” But it’s really about being able to bottle that engagement and sell it to someone — advertisers, subscribers, investors.  By tracking what engages users, there’ll be more insight into why they share, which is the goal of viral content.

For real news organizations, watching how Upworthy tracks engagement is a highly recommended winter activity. Knowing what beats your users are most interested and where they’re consuming is vital to improving any digital newsroom. Shares and uniques are good estimates, but Upworthy’s right: it’s not enough, and sometimes misleading. Who knows what we’ll find out about our audience.

Has your newsrooms experimented with new metrics across sites? What’s the focus for you — shares or pageviews? 

The (Digital) Radio Star Lives: PRX Launches Podcast Network for Story-Driven Journalism

radiotopia finalThis week, PRX announced the launch of Radiotopia, a podast network for story-driven journalism, backed in part by a $200,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX, likens Radiotopia to an independent music label:

The analogy works in two ways. We’re trying to create a collective around a particular sound and approach in style so these artists, essentially, share an affinity for story driven, high quality audio inspired by public radio but designed for digital listening. And then role that the label ends up playing is one of marketing, distribution, promotion, sponsorship… and experiment with editorial collaboration, crowdfunding and so forth.

PRX has built mobile apps for podcasts such as This American Life,  The Moth, among many others, and plans on using Radiotopia to continue to learn and implement some ideas gained from their experience. Says Shapiro:

We are very interested in creating a feedback loop that gains from those insights and data and help improve not only PRX’s own tools for distribution and tactics but also becomes information that producers can start to use about better serving their audience. Radio for decades has honed ways of producing a broadcast, but in the world of producing for mobile listeners, we are still in very early days.

It may be early days, but story-driven journalism is certainly having a moment on the radio and in podcast form. And, unlike in print or on television, it’s somehow easier to make investigative journalism entertaining for broader audiences. Shapiro says exploring that space is inherent in PRX’s mission:

There’s a spot between making sure that we’re doing informative, mission driven journalism but still aiming for a broad audience with something thats extremely engaging and high quality and entertaining and well produced…it’s about finding that spot.  Read more

Is The Banner Ad Making a Comeback?

ft smart matchMake way for better banner ads — The Financial Times rolled out “FT SmartMatch” last week after a trial period. The ‘content matching service’ weeds out semantic relevancy between editorial content and ad creative, making sure that advertisers show up where it makes sense.

It’s pretty sophisticated, as Jon Slade, FT‘s commercial director for global digital advertising and insight, explained to me.

First, they audit editorial content to rank and weigh it, semantically. Then, they do the same with advertiser’s content — their website, their videos, their white papers. The third step is about creative — if there are 500 pieces of content, they create 500 pieces of ad creative. Lastly, comes what Slade calls the “special sauce” where an algorithm knows how to link the two pieces together. Says Slade:

It’s two fold benefit. We not having to place 10,000 ads, we’re only placing an ad when there’s a good match. So its much more efficient, click through and engagement rates are about 10 times more than the standard.

It’s more than efficient, I like that it’s not about going native and making the content look like editorial — it just situates similar things together. Slade is interested in moving towards more intelligent advertising, too. And he doesn’t think banner ads need to go anywhere:

There’s the idea that the banner ad is dead. We just think it needs a bit of love… advertisers are very sophisticated in their targeting,  but still applying the one creative message across all of their audiences. We think that’s not making the most of the opportunities that digital can offer.  So the creative in banner advertising needs a little bit of love and secondly, the placement needs to get smarter. Making sure you’re in the right environment is still important in any media buy.

Be on the lookout for better banner ads then, journos. Smart Match is a product of the FT‘s partnership with Smartology, which provided the technology for it. Smartology is making their rounds to other publishers, too, so it’s not exclusive to FT. What do you think about automated advertising?

Feel Good Friday: When Gaffes Happen to ‘Good’ Journalists

The New York Post is one of those papers that you should only read with a grain of salt. It’s pretty much a place where frat boys with a communications degree go to make ridiculous puns and silly headlines. It’s the kind of pick me up, like a GIF ridden Tumblr blog, you can turn to when you want to have a chuckle and get a lesson in how not to report the news.

That’s why it’s no surprise that they made a Photoshop composite on their cover this week. You should just assume that they all are. It’s the News Corp way.

But doesn’t it sort of make you feel good about what you do?

Show and Tell

Unless you’re job is to be funny, like the Post or Gawker, making composites for your homepage photo is not a practice you should partake in. The only thing you should be doing with photo editing software is adjusting levels or image sizes. Even the most innocent offenses, like getting rid of a fly away hair or removing something distracting from the background, can lead you down a dark and uneasy road. If the picture needs work, you need to go out and retake it. Or find another one to use.

The same rule applies when it comes to video. The FOX CT debacle of too much cleavage  in a Women’s History Month segment could easily happen online, too. We’re all busy, but take the time to edit and review content. What’s ‘funny’ to bored overnight editors amongst themselves will hardly be as well received in the real world. Just because we live in an onslaught of media doesn’t mean things can slip through the cracks.

Clicks and Engagement

Some have said that the new layout for the New York Times isn’t any good. Too much focus on making it readable, when other newspapers like The Daily Mail have been surviving with their completely unreadable homepage.

That’s because the Mail is a tabloid. Their strategy is to get clicks, and the more you have to click to get to the photos of someone doing something bad, the more “money” they make. Clicks and SEO are important. It’s all ingrained in our consciousness when we publish, but it should be left out of the planning and writing phase. The new layout for the Times is simply good strategy. As mobile and news pubs evolve, a focus on being readable should be at the heart of any good strategy, because that’s the business of news. Don’t get caught up in the hype. If the content is good, and accessible, they will come. You don’t need bad puns to get them. A good pun? That’s an entirely different story.

Have you spotted any other good fails on the web this week?

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