Audience Development Shines Like it Did a Decade Ago

Organic SEO, email, syndication, social and video still among top audience development strategies

Change constantly occurs, but not all change is drastically different from what was. Take audience development, for instance. Audience development has evolved through the years, but some of the most time-tested strategies are still successful and being used today.

We begin today’s news with looks at organic SEO, email and syndication, and how publishers are succeeding through these strategies. min Online reports, “Essence tells us that while its social channel remains a top priority for distribution, up 53% in referrals year-over-year in Q1 2017, both newsletter referrals (+278%) and SEO visits (+89%) are leading in growth. Likewise, partners like MSN, Yahoo and Flipboard remain important priorities.”


The article continues by discussing syndication and email value with Rich Sutton, chief revenue officer at Trusted Media Brands. “Even more flashbacks come from the revived mentions of syndication partners like MSN, Yahoo and AOL. Yes, for those famous “flyover” states and select demos, traditional portals remain important eyeball funnels. “MSN is a significant source of traffic for us,” says Rich Sutton, chief revenue officer, Trusted Media Brands. His brands (including Reader’s Digest, Taste of Home and Family Handyman) will often create custom content for MSN and AOL, which “drive big benefits for us.””

“It comes down to control. “Newsletter traffic is a more significant source of traffic than it was,” Sutton adds. Like syndications, “email is a channel we can control, as opposed to search and social. While you can stay on top of their algorithms, you can also get dinged easily.””

YouTube, the world’s second most-used search engine is the next audience development tool we’re looking at today, as we’re seeing The Atlantic utilize it more significantly. Digiday reports, “The Atlantic is sailing against the winds, opting for longer videos as part of series that are distributed through YouTube.”

“The 160-year-old publication, which has a small video operation compared to the distributed-media publishers that get billions of monthly views on Facebook, is focusing on creating longer videos that dive into serious topics such as science and politics. This includes weekly video series featuring its lineup of star editors and reporters, as well as animated videos and documentary features. At the same time, The Atlantic is prioritizing YouTube as the platform to distribute this content. The reason: Not only is YouTube the place where this type of content performs best, but YouTube is still the best place for publishers — especially smaller ones with a limited amount of resources — to reach a lot of viewers while also generating consistent revenue from pre-rolls. (YouTube typically takes a 45 percent cut of ad revenue from pre-rolls.)”

Our last news story focuses on Pinterest, an audience development tool that has been growing as of late. Digiday reports, “For Jill Sherman, svp of social strategy at DigitasLBi, Pinterest’s unique selling proposition is that it hits people at a different point in the purchasing cycle than any of the other platforms. The fact that it offers something that others don’t make it a unique opportunity for brands, she said.”

“…Pinterest has impressed marketers with several analytics, targeting and ad options. Marketers can place a Pinterest conversion tag across their websites, which enables them to track existing users onto Pinterest and better target their ads. Pinterest Lens is a new visual search tool that detects objects in the real world and suggests a list of related items. While brands don’t have the option of surfacing their own products through this feature yet, marketers believe it is only a matter of time before Pinterest starts monetizing lenses this way.”

Do you need help revamping your audience development strategy?  Over the past two decades, my team and I have guided the transformation of more than 300 magazine and newsletter brands into niche media empires. In every case, we dramatically expanded the number of revenue generation systems in their media mix. While the process is complicated, it’s not rocket science. It simply requires a methodical approach to adding each new revenue generation system to the organization’s larger integrated business model.

Schedule a 30-minute complimentary consult with Mequoda’s founder Don Nicholas to learn more about how we can help you become our next success story.


Leave a Reply