My talk: “The Sharing Revolution, ” outlines key trends, tools and barriers to adoption with social and participatory media approaches. I shared the bill on Sunday with fellow content producer and former Tyee marketing manager Lisa Manfield, who co-facilitated a lab component after our talks.
Here are a few of the user-centric conclusions, insights and strategies that resulted.
Strategy #1: Create your print content with an eye to web usability
- Headlines are more clever than searchable
- Large blocks of text content were not chunked with subheads or lists
- Few if any links to external materials
- Little to no opportunities for interaction (comments etc)
In addition to usability writing format, Lisa suggested that publishers write SEO optimized headlines. I suggest that editors take this a step further and write with bookmarkers in mind.
Strategy #2: Turn that bounce rate into a bookmark (with strategic and purposeful use of links)
Many publications worry about bounce-rate when linking to external sites. The real problem isn’t linking outwards but not providing enough of a reason to stay. A truly sticky page is one that readers will want to bookmark and share or contribute a comment to. Unfortunately they cannot do so if they aren’t provided with the opportunity – via bookmarks and sharing tools. But the content has to be sticky as well. Give readers a reason to hold on to that page via features, content, resources and information that they can use. Information that has value. How your editors define that value is where their skill and talent comes to play.
Strategy #3: Community build with (not on behalf of) user-readers
Magazines are about community. Thanks to web2.0 services and tools, there never been a better time to harness the power of those communities via free and popular online social spaces. Facebook groups, Youtube channels and Twitter feeds are a just a few of the ways magazines can brand, community build and populate social spaces with valuable content and exchange. The best way to find out what your readers like and want is to directly appeal to them via social tools.
Strategy #4: Twitter mags: RSS or original human content? YOU decide
As much as I love the idea of an RSS-free, human managed feed I feel this is a tall order for some smaller publications that lack the social, technical or time capital to do so. For many smaller publications, setting up an RSS is the difference between having a presence in a space they might not otherwise have the privilege to manage (i.e,. producing original content, engaging readers directly and etc). While an RSS only feed is far from ideal, it may function as a temporary means for publications to share their content in a new space while figuring out a strategy for more personalised feed management.
Being a user-centric, crowdsourcing type, I decided to put the question to my subscribers and the many-to-many opportunities afforded in Twitter via an online poll. The results are still coming in.
5. Web2.0: It isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about choices
Web2.0 is all about the user. And guess what? People are different! Web2.0 is about choice, customizatoin and granularity of features. For publishers this means ensuring you’ve given your readers a variety of delivery choices (not just the ones you like or use or prefer). One size fits all is likely to alienate all but one type of user.
You, the user, make decisions about what works for you. So do your readers. Let them have that opportunity – don’t rob them of choice.
So, dear reader-user, what are you looking for from an online magazine? What works? What doesn’t?