Research from Editor & Publisher and Ebyline reveals that content editors are still primarily focused on publishing quality content that their readers want, but they expect to have more revenue-generating responsibilities in the near future.
Susan Johnston of Ebyline explains, “Half [of the survey respondents] said audience or traffic development will take more of their time and more than a third think they’ll be on the hook for driving revenue soon.” Another 80% of the respondents expect that social media and building a wider online presence will also be added to their plates.
Ironically, just as brand marketers are trying to think more like publishers to sell products by telling stories and emotionally connecting with audiences, content editors are preparing to think more like marketers in order to increase page views and advertising dollars. EContent Magazine warns, “Editors are getting a lot more work piled on their plates, and it may be time for companies to start thinking more holistically about editorial teams, providing the kind of support to editors that they need to create great content while still bringing in page views.”
According to the survey results, editors believe that original reporting, depth/expertise, and exclusivity are at the top of the list of content success factors followed by publication title and presentation. At the bottom of the list are social media value, author byline, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Furthermore, editors who responded to the survey reported that their audiences have the most influence on their content decisions. 44% of respondents said audience/reader suggestions influenced their news coverage followed distantly by newspapers. Coming in last were broadcast and advertiser suggestions.
Surprisingly, blogs ranked almost as low as broadcast (even among web editors) in terms of influencing content decisions at the editorial level. This marks a big opportunity for authoritative content publishers, such as high-quality bloggers, to find a niche and exploit it. However, it’s important to point out that the study report doesn’t specify exactly how “blogs” were classified and described to survey respondents. It’s probably safe to assume that many of the editors who responded to the survey manage blogs and monitor blogs in addition to other media every day, but those blogs might not be reflected in the study results. For example, anyone who looks at The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, or Mashable is monitoring a blog, and it’s very likely that many of these editors read content on these sites or other popular blogs on a daily basis.
The most important take-way for Authoritative Content publishers is this — quality content still ranks supreme among web editors, but social media and search engine optimization activities should not be ignored. Publishing amazing content is great, but if no one sees it, only the publisher can enjoy it. Generating wider exposure for your content should be included in your list of publishing success factors, too.
Image: Lotus Head