Postings from the Edge

Global PR, new PR, social media and printing ink

Friday, 6 June 2008

Why aren't publishers counting clicks?

I had  a nice surprise yesterday that made me realise there are publications that are beginning to see the opportunities in web-based media. In my inbox was a monthly report from Building Talk (part of the )giving me the statistics for a press release they published for a client in March. It told me which of my press releases had had the most views and how many views. It also told how many visitors had clicked on the link to visit my clients web site.

It also reminded me that a few months ago I had received a confirmation email from a journalist telling me that he had used the story and here was a link to it on the web.

The fact that these two happenings are pretty remarkable indicates how poor journalists are at dialogue - especially with PR people. (remember the PR blacklisting stories of recent weeks).

Now, as we keep being reminded that advertising revenues are falling, perhaps we could use some of the above to start developing a more workable business model for the publishing industry.

As well as monetising content, how about monetising information about content? There is lots of valuable metadata slopping around publishers, but no-one wants to use it. It was only this week that a vice-president of AP told the World Editors Forum in Gothenburg that metadata should be standard in digital publishing.

As a PR person I have to pay a lot of money to get that information second-hand from companies like Cision. Why aren't the newspapers and other publications gathering together to pool and sell the information they have? Right now if I get a story in the digital edition of Børsen or Berlingske Tidende, the most I can do is send a screendump to a customer and hope for a pat on the back.

For US-based web sites I can run them through Quantcast to see how many visitors a site gets and what demographic they belong to. But still nothing at the story level.

Think how much better it would be if I could have a report showing how many views a story had and where they went afterwards like I get from Building Talk.

Perhaps that's a job for all the ad reps who aren't selling ads?

All copy should be born with metatags that can guide it through its journey to the consumer. Not just to make that journey easier, but to help create a stream of revenue for that content. Think what it could reveal to companies about their potential customers, interests, habits, etc.

Right now publishers are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

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