Member Website Features Build Reporter Profiles and Audience

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Let's go through some well-done features that I've come across lately on member websites. It's interesting to note that two of the four—some blog posts on TeenLife and videos on MDM—are sponsored (and that does not affect the strong content).

Note: Best New or Relaunched Website is just one of 30 categories in our 2017 SIPAwards, open for entries now.

Face lifts. SIPA member TeenLife is a leading resource for opportunities that inspire passion in teens. What you notice most when you go to their site are lots of faces. Nancy Harhut, chief creative officer for Wilde Agency, would applaud this. In addition to her tips that I wrote about yesterday, she said that there should be more faces in our emails and websites. "It's what attracts us" and will increase responses, she said, "faces and eyes."

In fact, she said photos, in general, increase the credibility of your text. TeenLife also does some sponsored content. A story about a pre-college week at UConn is well-written and fits snugly into their busy blog. "Would you trade a week of your summer for the chance to rock your world, expand your brain, live on a university campus, boost your college applications and, of course, have fun? Sophia Costa did just that."

Q&As with reporters. In their news section, Connectiv member Crain posts Q&As with some of their reporters, asking them about an event they've recently covered. The most recent one is with Automotive News reporter Nick Bunkley. "I try and look for the really unique angles that the readers aren't going to get elsewhere. So that's where the value ends up being — providing content that is different from the 5,000 journalists going from one press conference to the next."

It's only four questions but it gives a little personality to the reporters, which is a great thing today—especially if your reporters speak at webinars or events. It also adds some background information that you don't get in the regular coverage. And it even provides a primer for less experienced reporters. "You definitely have to go in with some kind of plan for what you're looking for. If there are people you want to talk to or if there's a topic you really want to focus on, you need to have a plan."

The joys of podcasting. Soyini Coke of SIPA member Annona Enterprises also features faces—in sharp photos—to promote the wonderful podcasts she does each week. She has even featured two other SIPA members in her podcasts, NewsRx and EB Medicine (pictured here with Coke at the right). "I hope you have been enjoying CEO Exclusive Radio," Coke wrote in a LinkedIn article. "I believe learning about current trends and how other CEOs work with their teams and advisors will allow you to craft better plans and strategies for success."

Coke has been doing the podcasts since February 17, 2015, so kudos to her for sticking with it and keeping the quality high. It lifts her profile. Another SIPA member podcast that I like is Matt Bailey's Endless Coffee Cup. In a recent conversation with OMCP founder Michael Stebbins, Bailey looked into the competencies required for digital marketing. They discuss training practices, standards and core skills necessary for this industry.

Video segments. Longtime SIPA member Gale Media's Modern Distribution Management has three video segments on tech tips on their website. In 4 Moves to Help You Succeed at E-Commerce, Jenel Stelton-Holtmeier takes us through a clear, effective 3-minute video. Like what Crain does, it builds her persona and gives both her and MDM more gravitas. 

Oh, her 4 moves?

1. Invest in an integrated solution.
2. Provide the best content—something MDM has always done. "Our entire story is about quality not quantity," Jen Kern, MDM's director of marketing, once told me.
3. Interact with others. "Offer 24-hour assistance with customer portals and an online chat."
4. Offer a memorable experience. "Don't underestimate your customers. They're digital-savvy shoppers who know what a great online experience is like."

At the end, Stelton-Holtmeier gives the sponsor information for the videocast. It's up front and unobtrusive. Since the content was good, we don't mind. 

Ronn Are you subscribed to the SIPAlert Daily?
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…
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