The “old” days of the Internet were quite simple for publishers. Build a website and allow users to visit it when they were interested in consuming that specific content. Today though, users have more options than ever for where, when and how they consume content. For publishers, this means creating a brand presence across platforms while at the same time distributing and defining content in new and creative ways.
1. News curation apps
Apps such as Flipboard, Livestand from Yahoo!, Float and many others in the news curation app space recognize that users desire content from a variety of sources and will therefore be inclined to initiate their news consumption experience with a news curation app rather than with a specific media site or app in mind.
This isn’t so much a new trend as it’s an evolution of the news consumption experience that users have been familiar and comfortable with from portals to RSS readers. As usage of tablets and mobile devices increase, this will only advance the growth and engagement with news curation apps.
A recent survey by Pew Research Center shows that 53% of tablet owners get news on their device every day. Beyond the tablet app space, Facebook has begun experimenting with news curation on its social network, for example, by working with brands such as The Washington Post on development of Washington Post Social Reader. Additionally, these providers recognize that publishers need to be compensated for their content and many are now introducing revenue sharing. While there are many nascent business models for these apps, providers and those publishers experimenting with them will be better positioned in the long-run for addressing users’ interests than those publishers who continue to sit on the sidelines.
2. Social news streams
One of the early challenges for social media enthusiasts within news organizations was convincing upper management or traditionalists to create a presence on Facebook and Twitter. Fortunately, that battle is mostly over.
However, as these social media enthusiasts have become social media editors, the latest challenge is figuring out how to best manage a media presence on these social networks. The time of day and frequency with which you post updates can greatly impact engagement with your audience. Much like a radio station, post at the wrong time of day and your audience isn’t tuned in. Or, publish too frequently, and your audience tunes you out. Facebook Analyticsis a great way to understand when you gain and lose fans as well as which content performs well, so that you can continually tweak your posting habits for maximum effectiveness.
3. Content syndication partnerships
Most media properties operate with limited resources. This means that there is only so much content that a publisher can research, develop, edit, and publish for its audience. Similarly, there are only so many promotional resources available to gain new audience. Through content syndication partnerships, publishers can mutually benefit by helping to fill the other’s needs. In this arrangement, one publisher agrees to provide a certain number of articles per month to the other, and in return has the benefits of increased SEO value, brand awareness, and traffic from its partner site.
At Mashable, we recently launched the Mashable Publisher Platform, which is an editorially-curated experience allowing us to curate content from nine publisher partners that help to expand Mashable’s breadth and depth across a variety of verticals. In exchange, we haveprovided these partners dedicated publisher modules on each of their articles that promotes subscription to the publisher’s social presences and includes links to top headlines on the publisher’s site.
4. Mobile and location access
Through mobile devices, users have access to and are accessible from just about anywhere. Even if your brand doesn’t have the resources to develop its own mobile or tablet app, it can still engage with users by piggybacking on other successful or heavily-used apps. One example is Foursquare, which allows brands to create their own presences as well as leave tips for users at various locations. Another example is to contract with a mobile service provider that converts websites into mobile versions for any mobile operating system. While these mobile versions may lack some of the bells and whistles of a fully-developed app, they are a great and low-cost way to create a mobile presence that might be lacking otherwise. Apps are certainly growing in usage, but an early summer report by mobile analytics firm, Flurry, highlights that web consumption (desktop and mobile combined) was nearly the same amount of time per day as mobile apps.
While mobile web usage may be in decline compared to native apps, your audience may still come across the mobile version of your site outside of an app.
5. Licensing and monetization
Content distribution doesn’t have to be a revenue-free activity. Reprints and permissions services represent a media brand and its content to create licensing opportunities such as use of that brand and content by other websites, book publishers, advertisers and agencies, conferences and many other types of parties.