Putting Content in Context
The tools and tactics for taking your readers down the funnel have changed dramatically.
We’ve seen great change in the way we deliver content to our trade audiences over the last 25 years—but our mission, a commitment to developing information to help our readers make better business decisions, has stayed constant.
Consider the role of print. Originally, it was the source for industry news, in-depth insights into business operations and new product launch information. We spent hours reviewing paper galleys and played a strategic game on reporting about industry events. (Or was it just us who had the “buying was brisk…” report written ahead of a trade show for a print issue that would come out after the show, but was sent to the printer before?)
Today, print serves as a component of a multi-faceted engagement strategy. Natural Products INSIDER’s bimonthly issue includes executive summaries of in-depth reports and digital issues designed to lead readers online; instead of news, it’s contextual understanding of how this affects business long-term; and operational insights still serve a purpose to an ever-evolving audience.
Similarly, online content development has evolved. We moved from simply posting the print content onto the website, into posting press releases as news, to putting context around the press release and adding a tone of voice, and now into reporting via blogs that allow a broader look at what that news means to a changing industry. We have focused on social media and SEO strategies, using these tools to bring in the right audience using content as a self-fulfilling filter.
While our site traffic remains strong across our brands, with INSIDER at a consistent 150,000-plus page views per month, we know it’s not just about one-and-done. We’re looking to build a relationship with our audience, providing them valuable information that will make them want to register with our site to gain access to relevant deep-dive content. When we talk about site registrants, it’s not just an email address; we track engagement with each individual premium content asset (such as a digital issue or report), as well as attendance at our related events. Across our Health & Nutrition Network, we have grown in the last three years from zero to nearly 70,000 site registrants who are looking for trusted content, using much more of a pull strategy than the old-school email blast and push.
Ultimately, our online content strategy can be viewed as a ladder of engagement, where we seek to bring in an interested audience member with something small—a tweet or LinkedIn post, for example—and offer them more valuable information the more they engage. She might read a news story and the “related content” box offers a report on the topic; with free site registration, she downloads the report. Then the next time we have premium long-form content on that topic, we can directly connect with her and offer more insights that can help her in her business journey. At each step of the ladder, we are providing more business information, and she is becoming more engaged with our brand, hoping to ultimately bring her to our SupplySide event to participate in the conference program on-site.
One area of online engagement that has proven an adventure to old school journalists is the role of video. In the past three years, Informa has made a tremendous investment in video production, using it to help tell stories in a different and more engaging way. This has required the content teams to develop new skill sets, understanding how to use visual clips to tell a story and to streamline the story itself. I have produced three documentaries—one in Italy, one in China and one in Texas, each one a learning experience in terms of scripting, selecting clips, working on voiceovers and even knowing what to film while on-site.
Another video evolution can be seen in digital summits, the next step in webinars, allowing speakers to give video presentations that are integrated with visuals and graphics. Our Infection Control Today brand has always had great engagement from the health care community; the number of site registrants grew from 36,000 at the end of 2013 to more than 46,000 by April 2015. Using targeted email promotion based on our database showing what content items and topics each registrant had interacted with, we were able to promote the most recent digital summit to yield 1,200 registrants to date.
Our core business tenets hold that everything starts from content, always keeping in mind the needs of our audience and delivering that through trusted brands. I look forward to the next steps in our evolution as part of the global Informa family, working with colleagues from other business units in academic publishing and business intelligence to promote their content to our audience; and to explore opportunities in conference content with our Vitafoods team members—extending our media brand on a global basis.