By Matthew Lee
The Internet is one of the most important human innovations in our history and we’re still discovering new ways that it is disrupting almost all the industries of the world. For the media, the ability to distribute news via email newsletters and to host news content on websites was an incredible new way to connect with readers, but over time the Internet has shaped the very nature of the people that use it.
Since its introduction, the internet has been exponentially inflating as more and more users connect and upload data. Readers are being bombarded with information every day which manifests itself in a decreased attention span and an increased demand for instant news at any time of the day. What used to be advantageous to the media has become a new challenge.
Hidden among these challenges are opportunities. Analytical software has armed media companies with the ability to understand their audience on a deeper level by studying their behaviour and not just their feedback. Any communications service should employ analytics on their website and social media platforms, and fortunately many of these analytical tools are free. I suggest considering Google Analytics for digital analytics and Meltwater for media exposure and social media monitoring.
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is another important consideration for a media company. This is the idea that a web page can be constructed so that it appears as one of the first results on a search engine, such as Google.
Search engines use ‘web crawlers’, which are algorithms that search the web to find, catalogue and order search results. They assess keywords, metadata, the duration visitors stay on your site, bounce rates, broken links, pages viewed and total inbound and outbound links. It is important for a modern media organisation to familiarise themselves with these concepts so that any content they generate improves their site’s ranking.
Finally, to engage your increasingly impatient readers, a media organisation will need to develop content that is optimised for digital consumption. Partnering stories with graphics, providing the option of audio or podcasts, embedding videos, adding share buttons and listing recommended stories are just some of the ways the internet can overhaul your article.
It’s a good idea to familiarise yourself with the features of your distribution platform to discover what can be added to your publications and articles. These platforms, like Mail Chimp (https://mailchimp.com/) and BrandMail (https://brandmail.com.au/), are becoming increasingly dynamic. It’s also worth noting down some of the features that you enjoy in the articles you read and incorporating them into your own design.
The secret to combating the threat of the net is not to try and combat it, but embrace it. The internet is here for the long haul and to survive, media companies have no choice but to become internet-based organisations.