In the olden days of journalism, the lifecycle for a piece of content looked much different than it does in today’s digital world. A long, in-depth piece was written, published, and then archived. Unfortunately for the piece of content, its peak performance was ephemeral, and the publisher got very little mileage out of a strong piece that ran once. But that wasn’t really a concern because a few big advertisements took care of the bottom line.
In today’s world, advertisements still fuel the revenue fire but publishers are faced with new challenges in audience development and engagement – it’s one thing to drive someone to the site, but it’s increasingly important to keep them coming back and engaged while they’re reading. Often, the answer lies in getting the most out of each piece of content before it becomes irrelevant.
Digital journalism has more moving parts than older generations, which requires publishers to define their bottom line goals. Funny enough, those “bottom line” goals should be focused at the bottom of every piece of content. Today, once readers reach the end of an article, publishers have more options than ever to keep them on the site and engaged. Commenting capabilities, ads or content recommendations are all options with specific goals. As a publisher you’ll need to figure out which option best fits your publication’s goals.
Comments Drive Engagement
If you’re looking to build a regular readership and community with your publication, enabling comments is the best way to encourage conversation about the content.
However, simply providing a commenting a platform isn’t enough to drive engagement. It’s a good idea to moderate comment discussions to avoid belligerent online behavior and to help kick-start the conversation. Using a social based commenting platform like Disqus is also a smart move. It allows readers to easily interact with the content, comment and share with their social profiles.
Disqus is unique because it requires one login that follows the user between publications, as long the platform is enabled. Users receive notifications when their comments have been replied too, encouraging them to revisit the content they’ve already seen, just to continue the conversation. Not only is the audience engaged with your content, but they’re also more likely to return to your sit
Ads Drive Revenue
Advertising is indisputably one the oldest and most effective revenue generating activities. And if revenue is the main goal of your publication, there’s nothing wrong with taking a modern approach to a tried and true system. Hosting ads through a versatile platform like Google’s Double Click can help ensure that your readers are receiving quality, relevant ads.
It’s important to not be too intrusive with advertisements. The last thing you want to do is annoy your readership and prevent them from coming back. Readers are more likely to return and engage with your content if they don’t feel like their user experience is being interrupted or forced. There’s also a higher likelihood of them clicking targeted ads, which means more revenue for you.
So, if increasing ad revenue is your company’s goal, do it carefully so that it doesn’t conflict with the audience’s engagement. You are going to want those people coming back for more ad impressions and clicks!
Content Recommendations Drive Page Views
If you’re a publisher looking to drive page views, then a content recommendation platform is the answer. Content recommendations usually come in a box with headers like, “You may also like,” or “Trending.” They provide links to other content within the site, aiming to keep readers on the site for as long as possible through fresh content.
It’s a great way to build a readership, which can be supplemented with our first recommendation, comments. Enlisting the help of content discovery platforms is an easy way to help increase page views, increase time on the site, and provides easy access to engaging and relevant content your readers are seeking. These platforms automatically serve up relevant content from other areas of your site right alongside every piece of content, seeking to capture readers’ attentions, and thus keeping them on the site.
All of these options are viable ways to engage with your audience at the end of a piece of content, but it’s important to understand what goal they help fulfill in order to maximize their efforts. In fact, it’s possible to use more than one at a time, but you don’t want to create competition if you’re really focusing on increasing one specific factor. So, don’t leave your content hanging; be sure to define your audience engagement goals early and cap the content off appropriately.
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