My early learnings as an online media consultant still seem valid. As the current market is changing at a maddening pace I thought it relevant to write a retrospect.
In 2007 I had my first job at a publisher, Techmedia. It was a small company (±6 people) and we worked with a network of freelancers to publish a young brand called Bright. We worked on a magazine, weblog, video podcast and even a TV show. I was really excited about the market we were in, traditional publishers were just starting to understand what was coming and we had the opportunity to alternate between these two worlds: online and traditional media. We were creating branded entertainment, sponsored stories and set up barters with similar outlets in the market.
After working there for a while I needed to expand my views and quit my job but started freelancing for several other publishers. It was at the end of 2007, in an attempt to structure my learnings that I wrote this manifest. Besides some proof reading by friends I never published this, until I found it again in my notes.
The Media Manifesto
Be there or be square. Get your content to be seen by as many eyes as possible. People will like you and want more. They will find you and reach out. Yes, everyone is creating content; but you need to make some more. Invest in your editors. Make sure they understand how to write good copy. Be sure your brand is known and easy to find. Do not limit your editors to just good text. Make beautiful photos, produce video. Get your content on Youtube. Use RSS. Produce podcasts. Understand the ways you can reach your target group.
Create partnerships. Brand your content and let third parties distribute it at no cost. Yes. Give it away for FREE. Many services are build on third party content. They help you reach more people, reach more eyes. They will get you free attention.
Use smart advertising. Do not bother your users with useless banners but think about promotional advertising. Think content. Sell your space and limit your advertisers to your own categories. Make sure your users understand that they’re viewing commercial content. They won’t mind. Be honest.
Beautify your content. Make it readable. Make sure people get what they want in not more than two clicks. Google will love you for this too. Use metadata and tags to enrich content with relevant postings. Let your users sort your content how they want. Offer RSS in every way. Offer ways to similar content on the web.
Engage. Get in touch with your users. Do not just push, but start a conversation. Tell your users if something went wrong. Be transparent. They will understand and tell their friends. Do not just ask what they want, but listen too. Tell them you did, and show the result. Use Twitter. Use Facebook. Use LinkedIn. Get on there and show them you’re listening. Yes, this takes some effort, but you’ll reach more people and they will love you.
Track downloads. Track podcasts. Track Twitter conversations. Track clickthroughs. Track everything.
Track your web traffic. Not just clicks, but monitor your traffic. Understand where your users come from and why. If they come through popular referrers, be nice. Make contact and create partnerships to strengthen each other. Learn what paths your visitors are clicking. Ask your content partners for stats. Analyse server logs. Use Feedburner. Set goals in Google Analytics and make sure you get results. Track downloads. Track podcasts. Track Twitter conversations. Track clickthroughs. Track everything.
Invest in RSS, API’s, webdevelopers and designers. Make it as easy as possible for others to create something with your content. Make it FREE. They will return for more and your traffic will grow.
It’s fascinating to see how the internet has changed. It will be even more interesting to see what’s happening now. The New York Times, Snapchat, Vice, MCN’s like Maker Studio’s, Vessel; there is so much happening and we are only just at the beginning. Technology has advanced to a point that the 2007 limitations are easily forgotten: bandwith, codecs, hardware; everything is screaming video. And I think video is calling in the next era of online publishing. Be there, or be 16:9.
A more up-to-date version of the manifest is coming soon!