I regret to inform you that the headline of this blog post is incredibly misleading. I’m actually only qualified to speak on two industries, so this isn’t going to be some comprehensive list that will explain to you the mysteries of the commercial world. You’ll get two industries and you’ll like it!
I just moved to Texas from the East Coast, where I worked as a digital analyst for a major newspaper. The newspaper industry is, as you know, in a major reformation phase right now. Business leaders are trying to figure out how to do four things simultaneously:
- Keep true to their journalistic roots
- Monetize their websites, either through paid advertising on their sites or through content pay-walls
- Lessen their dependency on their print products, which still make up 60-80% of their total profit
- Appeal to a younger demographic, most of whom consume their news through social media and don’t want to pay for content they can find for free elsewhere on the internet
So, where does social media fit into this model currently? News is no longer consumed solely through your morning paper while drinking a cup coffee. It’s actually consumed through Facebook, Twitter and many more – all day, every day. Newspapers are also no longer the sole source of verifiable information when Buzzfeed, celebrities, bloggers and hashtags can point someone quickly to the most topical current event.
But this is what’s interesting (allegedly):
Social media makes up a large amount of referral traffic to newspaper websites. Percentage wise, they crush some of the retail companies I have been analyzing here at PMG. So, even while the industry is bemoaning the fact that young people have been a harder audience to convert into paying subscribers, their content is still hitting home on the social sites that matter. And, what kind of analyst would I be if I didn’t speculate for you the reasons why?*
Newspapers are continuously driving people back to their website by linking to their own content multiple times a day. The bonus is that news content is easily share-able, goes viral more often and doesn’t have a price tag on the page users land on. Most news companies also lower their pay-wall for the first article of content a user reads through social media in order to expose new readers to their brand.
So, would it shock you if I suggested that retailers could actually learn from the newspaper industry when it comes to the web?** Companies who pimp their products, but who also have an online blog with share-able evergreen content not directly tied to sales have higher reach through social media and increased web traffic. So consider using social media as a place to also share your voice, your news and your brand, not just your products.
*TRICK QUESTION. Still an awesome one.
**It shouldn’t, since you’re on a blog right now with a goal to do the exact same thing. META.