New Thinking for Online Edit
âWhat do you have that I canât go after easily?â Thatâs the question Dan Bigman, Forbes.com managing editor, has been challenging b-to-b editors and publishers with recently. In January, he sounded some alarms at an editorial reception hosted by American Business Media, saying that he could easily hire âone of your editorsâ to replicate trade-style coverage. Whatâs not so easy to replicate: data.
âA magazine does not exist to drive traffic to the Web. People find Web sites from other Web sites,â says Bigman. âYou can supplement whatâs in a print story with in-depth data on the Web, but you donât want to direct someone reading a magazine on the couch to âread this story againâ with electricity.â
Bigman offers thoughts about the challenges b-to-b publications will have to deal with as more and more consumer and business hybrids such as Forbes drill down their verticals:
â˘ Allow your readers to get involved. Googleâs open-source Google Maps has âunveiled the creativity of millions of people.â The trick is to surrender to that idea. âThe difficulty for a lot of editors is handing over the control.â
â˘ Create community. âFacebook.com and Myspace didnât invent online communities. Magazines were always in the business of bringing readers and advertisers together at events,â says Bigman. Foster community online, and monetize it. âUsers want transparency, and the ability to find anything anywhere.â They go online with a purpose, and will persist until they find what they are looking for. And when they do find your site, give them depth of content.
â˘ Nothing holds anymoreâeven the cover stories youâve been keeping under wraps. If you find out a competitorâs print story will come out earlier than yours, scoop them by getting yours online. Stories presented online do not require the background uncovered by previous news. âYou donât need a new top; all you need is the topâ and a link to the previous information.