Written for SYP Scotland blog | Driving Online Revenue Panel – Magfest 2015
We’ve been talking digital all day long, but the topic that raises its head is how practical it is to drive revenue from your digital exploits. Marcus Arthur (BBC Worldwide) and Kerin O’Connor (The Week) take to the stage once more, joined by Mimi Turner, marketing director of 65twenty, who own websites like The LAD Bible.
“The thing that we have is to create something for our audience,” explains Mimi. Kerin picks up, in terms of partnership, “what you can offer is a new way to package your content with their brand. [The Week] readers like that, you see it in the numbers.”
The last ten years of journalism has been tough, notes Mimi, but she’s optimistic. “Native storytelling at its best, only journalists can do. It’s another new storytelling environment. Native means you have to have content, tone and attitude. It’s not a new skill.” The LAD Bible has 150m reach per week. “It’s a platform that understands its audience. That’s why brands want to work with you. Paywall is not a model you can just stick on. You need loyalty, you need to be in the right part of the life cycle.”
“We may be odd, peculiar, daft,” says Marcus. “But news journalists like to feel they’re story-lead.” Some find the jump to the other side very easy, others struggle. “Native can be credible, it doesn’t need to sell your soul.”
“Finding a new generation of editors for online is paramount,” adds Kerin.
Programmatic is a topic that’s come up time and time again during the day. “I don’t pretend to understand it all,” says Marcus. “It’s cheaper for ad agencies, it takes cost out. I think it will be major in the next few years.” Have a strong brand identity, and keep yield high.
“I’m cautious,” says Kerin. “I wasn’t steering the business towards it.” The Financial Times seemingly bought their own audience and there was a large element of distortion, with bots skewing some results. “Agencies have had a lot of leverage,” adds Mimi. “Forced publishers to look elsewhere.”
Publishers have, as Marcus notes, already “survived lots of horsemen of the apocalypse. Start looking at different methods of how to engage with and in digital.”
“There’s a cost to the content we provide, but we want the best for our consumer,” explains Mimi. In building around your brand, she believes “it’s a really important question. Sometimes when you’re lucky, you have to understand what we did good. Feel like part of it. If a piece of content it something you’d share with your friends and family because it would make them laugh, why not 20 million others?” That’s their philosophy.
“What you put out there is less important than what you get back,” says Mimi. So let’s close with metrics. What would they like to be able to see? “I’d love to be able to measure how much someone loves us,” says Marcus. “Fandom. Get to the root of why someone loves you.”