"But beyond that, you just have to constantly experiment—there is no way to know what works. Should you write long, or short, post on a Monday or a Tuesday, I do not know. I can't even work out how to game the algorithm and I work here. But I do know if you think you have got it, it will change almost instantly. You have to keep throwing stuff at the wall and see what sticks..."
That's from an interview on The Drum this week with Dan Roth, editor in chief of LinkedIn. For me, this amplifies the importance of getting away from your office and attending events and meetings. Now I will pledge that that event should be our Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) at the Margaritaville Resort in Hollywood Beach, Fla., Nov. 11-13, but it can be other events or initiatives as well—the Executive Councils I wrote about yesterday are another example.
At a conference you're going to hear success stories from industry leaders. You're going to network with colleagues and ask when they're sending out their webinar promos, or what's working at their new event. If the editor of LinkedIn can't pinpoint information, then the value of getting many, many judgments at an event such as BIMS can be priceless.
Here are four important niche publishing topics—with BIMS references attached:
Original reporting to matter more in Google search. In an effort to put original reporting in front of users, Google's VP of news Richard Gingras announced that the company has changed its global search algorithm to "highlight articles that we identify as significant original reporting," and to keep such articles in top positions for longer. (See article on NiemanLab.) Google doesn't venture to define exactly what original reporting is, saying, "It can mean different things to different publishers at different times, so our efforts will constantly evolve as we work to understand the life cycle of a story."
Certification programs are trending. The Institute of Finance and Management was comprised of the acquisition of several similar-but-different membership and certification businesses. The content was valuable to its audience, but the content delivery left much to be desired. The membership websites were clunky and difficult to navigate, and the certification programs paper based and extremely manual. In this session, Becca Carifio and Brian Cuthbert of Diversified will share how they revamped their membership and certification businesses into one that is now far more streamlined, scalable and growing at rates not seen before.
Marketing with personas. When the American Chiropractic Association overhauled their website, they went straight to Google Analytics, and the data told an interesting story. After discovering only 10% of its 5,000 web pages were getting significant page views, ACA decided to focus on the top 500 pages. The most visited page was an explainer on chiropractic, suggesting the site was more of an authoritative resource than a membership tool as ACA staff previously thought. So they developed personas, or representations, of typical website users. They asked questions such as: Who is this person? What is their age? What is their capability with technology? What are they looking for? That is just one example. Mark DeVito, president of Beyond Definition (today is the official name change from Bates Creative!), will present others in leading this workshop at BIMS.
Virtual online summits. By fiscal 2019, the Education Week newsroom had developed 9 first-of-its-kind Online Summits for their readers and sponsors. And with fiscal 2020 on the road ahead, their sales team is already in the field with long-lead sales for live events all the way into June of next year. This product now represents a revenue stream equivalent to and over time larger than our big, annual conference with a significantly lower investment of staff time and resources. Each event is 2 hours long, and there are 8-9 events a year. They stem from special reports that Education Week already writes, so the lift is "moderate" not "heavy" like live events are. The session, A Lead Gen Machine: How Two Hours of Content Generates a $250K Line of Business, will cover this.