By Sharon A.M. MacLean
It’s been five years since I sold my print magazine. I’m excited to get back in the game with a weekly Digital Marketing column for Troy Media, an innovator in the journalism marketplace. You can read my first column here. http://bit.ly/1E1piPf
Other publishers haven’t been so lucky.
For example, Calgary’s Fast Forward closed its doors last month after a 20-year run. Understandably, there’s some grief and, maybe, bitterness attributed to the publication’s demise. The popular weekly joined the obits of the Montreal Mirror (1985-2012), Boston Phoenix (1965-2013), Victoria’s Monday Magazine (1975-2013), and Knoxville’s Metro Pulse (1991-2014). My magazine, Edmontonians, lived for 21 years. Postmedia—the company that swallowed up Sun Media last year—is expected to further slash operating costs.
Of course, it’s advertising that fuels all media and traditional media continues to suffer for the lack of it. The 2014 Pew Report suggests that the journalism marketplace is still struggling to identify revenue streams to sufficiently sustain an industry reeling from the sharp declines in print advertising. Television isn’t doing much better.
Digital advertising is expected to grow, says the Pew Report, though not nearly fast enough to keep pace with declines in legacy ad formats.
So, why am I still enthusiastic despite the bad news?
The last five years of learning and working in the digital world has opened my eyes to a world of new opportunities for everyone with a story to tell. Troy Media provides non-partisan editorial content to over 1,800 print and online media outlets within Canada and around the world. Publisher Gary Slywchuk (pictured above) figured out a business model that combines legacy newsrooms (in print, television and radio) with their more nimble digital counterparts .He uses digital-first strategies ranging from audience engagement to free content, and he’s been evolving the model for 10 years. It’s working.
The need to deliver content by all organizations—not just media outlets–has reached into the stratosphere. Everyone wants to create or acquire content to satisfy the algorithms that keep their story on the first page of search engines.
Some media entities are displaying exceptional dexterity. I applaud those visionaries and other leaders of commerce who jumped on the bullet train early.
NewsCred is another good example. This growing service matches companies which need content to feed the dragon of (dis) content with words, images, audio and video. It’s another option for larger organizations to turn their branded messages into editorial experiences. Services like Troy Media and NewsCred provide an extra layer of expertise for day-to-day publishing by curating articles and images, leading custom content brainstorms and assisting with story development and writer selection.
Building a story vs telling a story
Speaking of storytelling, in 2015, stories are no longer being told, they are being built for followers. Story-based pages are becoming much more interactive, incorporating rich images, embedded video, enhanced infographics, and personalized content based on user data.
Keep these tips in mind while building your editorial experience.
Creating content is more complex today. Good content for websites, social platforms or email is written specifically for different categories of your visitors. For example:
- How many different channels are available to present your content?
- What are their information needs?
- How do they want to receive their content?
- Is written text preferred over video?
Here’s the process to follow:
- Identify what type of content needs to be written.
- Get clear on the personas for whom you write.
- Review and edit content to ensure consistency across all pages.
- Load content into selected platforms.
Search engines don’t see content like humans do. To achieve naturally high rankings with Google, you need to structure and format your content so search engines can find it. This is where key words and phrases come into the mix.
“The creation and growth of Troy Media Marketplace has been an absolutely terrific addition to Canada’s marketplace of ideas,” says The Vancouver Province. “While we publish material from a host of sources, I find we rely on Troy Media on at least a weekly basis for columns.”
Yes, I’m glad to be back in the biz—alongside these new journalism innovators.
Life-long communications strategist Sharon MacLean owned and published a traditional print magazine over 21 years for business people. She now applies her enhanced knowledge in digital marketing to the needs of her clients and believes in the value of combining the best of both worlds.
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