Almost two years ago we listed ten of the best editorial workflow tools that had emerged from traditional newsrooms looking to organize their contributors. Most of those companies are still growing and a few more such as DivvHQ and Skyword have joined them. It’s not just publishers they’re supplying, though: as the ‘content is king’ mantra keeps pushing businesses to invest in original content online, marketers are taking a more active role in generating content that shares the same goal of most news teams: engaging readership with content they perceive to be of genuine, tangible value.
“Engagement is a state of mind…[it’s] really the alignment between what we want people to do and what they want to do…if those two things are aligned then people are going to be engaged with our site. So to do that we have to clearly enunciate what we want people to do and what they want to do.” – James G. Robinson, Director of News Analytics, The New York Times
From managing writers to providing content marketing services for paying clients: agencies and traditional publishers share plenty of similar processes. In many cases both industries are recruiting from the same talent pool for journalism graduates and communications majors. Staff poaching has become a source of PR in its own right, as start-up publishers like Buzzfeed and Vox recruit top professionals from the Wall Street Journal, ESPN and other historic media companies. Some publishers like the New York Times and the University of Oregon’s Emerald Media Group have even hatched internal agencies of their own that have nothing to do with their newsrooms but have many of the hallmarks of traditional newsrooms: pitching, assigning, editorial sign-off, publishing to multiple platforms and a laser-focus on the quality and potential impact of their work. By behaving like publishers, marketing agencies have helped usher-in a more scientific approach to the impact of content, how it fosters engagement and whether it’s satisfying the profitable segments of a publisher’s audience the way it must, if the organization is to thrive.
Two key priorities for advertising agencies are effective audience analytics and the ability to segment and serve niche audiences. While traditional news teams may be driven by how their journalism is impacting their communities, the ability to target and analyze direct access to specific interest groups within one’s audience has been a boon for the digital teams tasked with scavenging the internet for attention-poor consumers that see value in content that’s on offer.
As part of this process, commentators from the professional media industry and college media alike have endorsed the value in identifying niche, passionate audiences and producing content that meets their needs.
Audience analytics (whether generated digitally or in-person) is the first step to discovering what kinds of motivations define the engagement your audience really feel with your brand: something that this excellent Tow-Knight Center session on ‘quantifying journalism’ covers with three panelists from the New York Times, Upworthy and analytics company Chartbeat:
Once a publisher or content marketing team has identified reliable trends in how their audiences are behaving, the next task is to manage writers than can generate ideas for content that will fit those behavioral patterns and produce excellent work that can test those assumptions. This is where easy editorial management and organizing freelance writers, artists and editors comes in. Here’s that list of editorial management tools, once more, plus a 7-minute demo of Camayak: