Publishers Changing Focus: Web Content Now More Important Than Print
Computerworld’s online reporters and editors are responsible for the repackaging of online content in its print publication, which has made the magazine itself more profitable. "I think that’s the most important thing," says Martha Connors, vice president and general manager of Computerworld.com. "A lot of people are saying that print is dead, but by making the right changes organizationally, you can make print profitable."
Forbes.com managing editor Dan Bigman understands that the needs of online editorial are much different than print (or the cut-and-paste most publishers are still doing). In January, he sounded alarms at an American Business Media meeting by saying he could easily hire "one of your editors" to replicate trade-style coverage. What’s not so easy to replicate is online content. "There are a lot of reporters who never wanted to do fast news;they always wanted to work at a more leisurely pace," says Bigman. "We focus on people who ﾑget it.’ Traditionally, the magazine gave you things you never heard of once or twice a month. We’re trying to tell you new things about things you might already know about."
That includes a series of special projects that provide an alternative look at common topics. Last fall, Forbes.com ran a special report called "Communicating" that featured an in-depth package with more than 40 feature articles and interviews, 90 minutes of audio, 20 minutes of video and a special feature that enabled viewers to "e-mail themselves decades into the feature." Contributors included Noam Chomsky and Kurt Vonnegut. A similar report called "Money" ran in February.
This month, Computerworld relaunched its Web site featuring a new, homegrown, content management system that allows for the posting of articles within 15 minutes, a much shorter lead time than previously. The new site also threads vendor and partner content throughout so readers can find it through multiple methods, including search results and in contextually relevant links adjacent to articles, Connors says.
Over the past few years, Computerworld.com has grown traffic to over 1.5 million unique page views a month and is on track for a more than 40 percent increase in 2006. Connors said the redesign of the Web site was a "substantial investment" expected to have a "longer term" payoff.
While Forbes.com, doesn’t break out traffic for the individual site, the reports were very well received and contributed to growth of the overall site. Worldwide, Forbes.com has approximately 15 million unique viewers, according to comScore media metrix based on a three-month average.