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BizReport : Content Marketing : August 14, 2020

How publishers can increase engagement through relevance

Recently Google announced a campaign that would push $15 million in ads to support local newsrooms and publications that have been hit hard by consumers' move to online news consumption. Through the campaign they'll place targeted ads in 3,000 newspapers, news sites, and radio and TV stations. While this is a interesting move, one local expert believes it is also a sign to publishers to take more control of their content and the data they have on-hand that can serve more relevant content to their readers and viewers.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: Is there a disconnect between publishers and consumers that is keeping consumers from engaging with content?

Jeff Kupietzky, CEO, PowerInbox: Yes, the disconnect occurs when publishers push generic and popular content that appeals to the broadest number of consumers in a batch-and-blast strategy. In reality, what consumers really want is content they care about and that's geared specifically to them. Once publishers can figure out a way to deliver more relevant content, the disconnect goes away and both parties will be happier.

Kristina: Is this a data problem or an overall interest problem?

Jeff: It's a problem with connecting the data to interest. Right now, most content targeting is based on the use of cookies, which means it's not permission based, is very inexact or inaccurate, and does not work across multiple devices. That means it's almost impossible for publishers to know you, the individual, and give you the content you want. They can't distinguish you from your child who also happens to use your laptop, and when you switch from using your laptop to a mobile device, they can't identify you as the same person. When publishers switch to using a persistent, consistent identifier, like email, which is permission based, accurate and has cross-device functionality, they can then better link data and interest to deliver more relevant content.

Kristina: How can publishers increase consumers' engagement with content?

Jeff: The best way to increase engagement is to focus on understanding each consumer's interests better so that you can send them the right content at the right time and over the right channel. Content relevancy is the most important factor in driving engagement.

Kristina: How important is the social space to helping publishers find the right consumers?

Jeff: Social can be great for attracting anonymous, casual readers. The problem is even if they click on your site, it's all referral traffic, so you don't know anything about who they are or have any way to follow-up with them for future engagement. The best audience is made up of known consumers with interests that you can match to content. Picture it like a bullseye. The outside rim is the social audience--nice to have but it's not really helping your score. The middle ring is drive-by, occasional visitors to your site--somewhat more valuable, but still not quite hitting the target because they're not registered users. Finally, the bullseye: registered subscribers to your site who you can track and engage with based on their known behavior. Even if there's fewer of them, they're still more valuable for their higher level of engagement.

Kristina: What about search optimization?

Jeff: Search optimization is great if you're selling a product: if you sell basketballs, you definitely want to optimize your site for related key terms. But content--reading about basketball--is much more nuanced. Relevant content might range from a subscriber's favorite team or player to details on specific games, trades and happenings with other teams. Content is a different kind of "product" and unlike a tangible product, the reader's interest in it doesn't necessarily disappear once they've consumed it.

Kristina: What are your top 3 tips for publishers to create a better digital strategy for their content?

Jeff: First, understand your audience's interests and track them across channels to get the most complete picture. Second, leverage owned channels like email and push notifications as much as possible over social and search. Third, use these channels to send relevant content that's personalized to the user, rather than a one-size-fits-all email or message that goes to every subscriber.

Tags: advertising, content marketing, content trends, online publishing, publisher tips, search marketing tips, SEO tips

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