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Niche Content: How One Major Publisher Is Playing It

Inside The Boston Globe’s niche content site strategy; plus, checking in on Gawker’s digital revenue streams and the HuffPo redesign

There’s no doubt that niche content is the name of the game, at least if you’re playing the game using the Mequoda Method. But digital magazines can’t expect to slap a few enthusiast articles up on a homepage and wait for the money roll in. Rather, online publishers must stay vigilant in repurposing content, developing a content distribution strategy, and cultivating audience via social media and other platforms.

Make no mistake, though: If you can implement those tactics effectively as part of a multiplatform strategy, you will create new revenue streams. Take a look up and down the list of our Mequoda Masters to see how such an approach has worked for them.

While most of those folks head up startup, midsize, and regional publications, there’s a major movement afoot that finds lots of legacy publishers entering the niche content sweepstakes. As usual, our friends at Digiday are on top of the trend with the latest example. They also check in on Gawker and The Huffington Post. Read on for more!

The Globe’s Big Bet on Niche Content

The Boston Globe has launched both Crux, a standalone niche content site covering all things Catholicism, and BetaBoston, focusing on tech. This fall, they’ll debut Stat, a health and medicine vertical, according to Digiday. The sites operate as both local destinations and attempts at expanding audience.

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“The Boston Globe and the Atlantic aren’t the only legacy publishers to pursue niche coverage, either. In August, Cox Media launched Dawg Nation, the first of its planned niche sites, which focuses exclusively on University of Georgia football. Last year, The New York Post launched entertainment site Decider, which is focused on helping readers find things to watch on the Web’s streaming sites. The idea behind these efforts is in part to mimic the models of companies like Vox Media and Gawker Media, which are built around a constellation of highly focused sites with engaged readers. That might be an easier sell at a time when audiences are fracturing and general-news sites are getting squeezed,” Ricardo Bilton writes.

“This is all just a reflection of the way this market is evolving,” Kreisky Media’s Peter Kreisky told Digiday. “There’s a lot that can happen when you create these kind of well-targeted offerings aimed at specific audiences. You can get a level of loyalty and regular engagement that’s harder to get otherwise.”

We couldn’t agree more!

How Are Gawker’s Internet Revenue Models Performing?

Gawker – suffering from the same advertising slings and arrows as other publishers on top of the problems it causes for itself with its content at times – is emphasizing native ads and an ecommerce content strategy in the face of dwindling ad sales. The two streams now account for a third of its revenue, Digiday reports.

The site reports a native click rate of 2% and a 2.5 minutes time spent per post, Digiday says; meanwhile, Gawker Media took in about $10 million last year on its ecommerce cut with sales aimed at Millennials.

What Can We Learn From the HuffPo Redesign?

Well, according to Digiday’s Lucia Moses, four things: The HuffPo brand prominently figures across platforms; data plays a big part in establishing context and motivating visitors to stay on site; speed is as important as aesthetics; and the more video, the better.

Are you producing niche content? Any advice for your fellow publishers? Let us know in the comments!

To read more about niche content in the news, visit Digiday.

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