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13 Ways to Jumpstart Digital Revenue

Publishers offer insights into social sharing tips, sponsored apps and more.



Stefanie Botelho By Stefanie Botelho
11/17/2011

To conclude min day's Digital Summit at the Grand Hyatt in New York City this week, three digital publishing executives shared actionable tips on how to ramp up revenue, regardless of company scale. Here, John Haskin, VP digital sales and marketing with Bonnier; SVP/GM, digital food platform at Meredith Dan Hickey; and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's SVP of digital Missy Forestall share what worked for their companies and what may work for yours.

1. "Spend money to make money. Invest wisely in measurement tools to enable yourself to play digital Darwinism," says MSLO's Forestall. She suggests measuring ideas at the end of execution. After this analysis, start feeding what's working for you, and killing what's not.

2. "Leverage the new Facebook analytics, especially ‘people are talking about this' for better social/website integrations. Use this social content to support earned/owned media platforms," suggests Bonnier's Haskin. The trick is to think about content development, and who is developing that content. He asserts the difference between online editorial teams: those who specialize in getting increased page views for the month, and those who create content that encourages sharing.

3. "Include marketers into social. Get advertisers into conversations on Facebook and help clients drive fans," says Hickey of Meredith. He cites the success of a recent social campaign for Boca Burger, a division of Kraft Foods.

"We created a person on the message boards called ‘Boca Girl'. We were very transparent, going into different groups and contributing content. We took the brand and socialized it for them," says Hickey.

4. "Collaborate across all business units to create a marketing ‘boomerang affect' among all entities," says Forestall. MSLO's team works to coordinate and to get its audiences to transfer from one platform to another, generating traffic and buzz for contests, articles, etc.

5. "Develop partnerships that create multi-site and offline content areas that can sold as sponsorships," says Haskin. Bonnier successfully did this by partnering with the Today Show, sharing co-branded content with the Parenting brand on websites, television and the print property.

6. "Get into the ‘intent' business. Find out what users are planning to do in the immediate future and create value for them," says Hickey. When dissecting the traditional marketing funnel, magazines and brand awareness are at the top of funnel. "It's our job to look at intent," says Hickey. "What type of permission does the brand have to ask the user?"

7. "Match app content to advertisers' needs, so you can lead digitally without financial risk," suggests Forestall. Partnering with key advertisers allows publishers to take those risks in digital space, she says. MSLO was awarded an AdAge Media Vanguard Award for Print-to-Digital/Best Single-Purpose Education App for the Martha Stewart Living Egg Dyeing 101 app, sponsored McCormick.

8. "Use content syndication to drive large sponsorships and traffic back to your site," says Haskin. Being able to build a big syndication deal into an overall deal makes partners feel like their content will be spread more, according to Haskin.

9. "Find bottom of the funnel opportunities around the most actionable parts of your site," says Hickey. He suggests surfacing "transactionable" activities to advertisers. This breaks down to offering opportunities around the where the customer is engaged, like in a site's search engine.

"We get our teams to identify them, so we can strategize, then socialize with our sales team. From there, sales can say, ‘Here's what consumers are doing, and here's what they're about to do'," says Hickey.

10. "Have a nimble CMS. Greater speed to market = more innovation," says Forestall. MSLO recently converted from Vignette to Drupal, and Forestall says time spent by editorial posting content has been cut in half.

"It also allows us more flexibility with advertisers," says Forestall.

11. "Identify high value lifetime customers on your sites and create new revenue streams via lead generation," says Haskin.

12. "Monetize your registration path. Co-registration and Captcha are easy ways to add incremental revenue streams. See also, ‘capturing intent'," says Hickey. A publisher needs to register and understand users, making sure there's a good match in registered consumers.

"What you're offering has to have an affinity to what you do as a brand," he says. Meredith gains 5-7 million registrations on an annual base.

13. "Explore new data overlay tools that help develop online GRPs to compare your web programs with TV programming," says Haskin. It allows team members to make an apple-to-apple comparison of audiences, he says.

Stefanie Botelho By Stefanie Botelho
11/17/2011







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