To try or not to try – that is a publisher’s most challenging question. In a constantly growing market, especially after a wild year, it is essential to try and keep up with the latest trends to continue revenue growth and reader engagement. We’ve made it easy and narrowed it down to three main areas that every online publisher needs to address to improve their site’s performance and grow their audience.
New Formats, New Platforms, New Endeavors
Content MUST Be Mobile Friendly and Accessible
These days, it seems that everyone is glued to their cell phones all day. Formatting for mobile phone screens first is crucial as nearly 60% of online traffic is accessed through mobile devices, as reported by Statista. Short headlines, quality pictures with appropriate size adjustments, and easy navigation within an article (i.e., short paragraphs, bullet points) are what keep people engaged these days.
Welcome to the Age of Audio Content
Buckle up, buttercup, because it’s podcast o’clock! We have to talk about the uber popular podcasts taking the content world by storm if we’re talking audio. Audio opens up a whole new world. Picture this: cross-promotion opportunities that can operate between audio and digital print channels. Publishers can take their existing articles and/or content and record them as podcasts or audio pieces!
The hands-free method of podcasts makes it feel like you aren’t even using your phone. They’re available on popular platforms that people already get their music from, like Spotify and Apple Music.
According to Business Wire, 56% of Americans are listening to podcasts monthly, and as reported by PwC, IAB, and Forrester, its advertising market is expected to reach $1 billion in 2021.
Experiment and Diversify
Trying new forms of content on new platforms (such as TikTok videos) will open your publications up to new audiences. But these new endeavors must stay true to the core message of your branding. So, take the time to rework your existing content to better fit each platform’s features.
Another example is Facebook’s Instant Articles, a publishing format within Facebook. It’s a way for online publishers to distribute content on the Facebook app, redirect them to read the actual article, and even load 4x faster than a mobile browser.
It’s All About Data-Driven Content
Optimize and Measure Your Own Revenue
RPM (Revenue Per Thousand Impressions) is the ideal metric by which to optimize and measure revenue. This way of measuring engagement helps the publishers themselves measure their own earnings. A straightforward and easy way to find out how much money you’re making? Sounds pretty smart to us!
Gain Power Over the Content
According to industry research, when third-party cookies cease to exist, about 95% of the web will become anonymous. That means publishers and advertisers won’t have a one-to-one match for each individual user. With no more third-party cookies, online ads will need to be more contextual and relevant to the pages that readers are currently on, rather than the sites they previously visited. In addition, marketing strategies will focus on the current audience instead of just whatever is trending at the moment.
The Power Comes from the People
With the growing number of digital subscribers, publishers’ best interests focus on creating content that is most targeted to their audience’s needs rather than just following a mainstream trend. In other words, give the power back to the people! According to SODP (State of Digital Publishing), readers care more about quality than quantity. Smaller-scale publishers will need to pinpoint their niche to make their mark in the ever-expanding content world.
Collaborative partnerships will be key to reaching wider audiences. For instance, two sites might coordinate to swap top-performing articles and publish them to each other’s sites. In return, each would get brand exposure to a new audience. (It’s kind of like sharing clothes with your best friend – twice the amount of clothes means double the options!)
Visuals Attract Larger Audiences
We found two main benefits to adding more visuals to online content. First, according to PressPad, readers stay on your articles and websites for more time, which is the whole point, after all! Second, the visuals tap into people’s emotions to make them more engaged and build a feeling of brand loyalty, so they’ll return multiple times to your sites.
Engage Readers with Videos, Graphics, and More
Digital publishing means that you, as a publisher, can embed videos, infographics, GIFs, and other media links to keep readers on your sites. There are also ways to improve existing articles to be more visual and concise. According to a Cisco study, 82% of all online content will be in video format by 2022. You might also want to know that 20% of video views from YouTube came directly from a Google search.
The “Story” Feature
Many of the current social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat) all have a “story” feature that allows users to upload short, visual content for 24 hours only. If we’re being honest, most users will post a daily sunset, but this tool could be a publisher’s golden ticket in the right hands.
It’s one of the fastest-growing trends. Between the three above-mentioned platforms, over 1 billion stories are shared daily, according to SODP. On Instagram, by the way, there is an ability to combine stories together into a “highlight” function to make them permanently accessible on your account.
So, there you go, folks, those are our top three trends to improve online publications. And this is only the beginning. Publishers should continue to experiment, find innovative strategies to implement, and not be afraid to expand their definition of content to continue to grow their brand. Remember – if at first, you don’t succeed, dust yourself off and try again!