Until just a few years ago big city newspapers like the NY Times were the premiere news source for people who wanted more news than the fifteen or so 30-second clips they could get on the evening news TV shows. Times have changed dramatically. Now those same sources are scrambling to find ways to compete successfully with sources that provide free access to all sorts of news to customers who access portals at virtually any time of day of night. Some newspapers are trying to find ways to monetize their content and information. Theirs is a delicate balance; they must move carefully so that they don’t jeopardize their reputation for accurate reporting while at the same time trying to figure out how to get readers to pay for what some provide free-of-charge. The situation is a marketer’s nightmare, for sure.
In a day of real-time anything, wise media companies need to focus first on creating great content and then on getting it to their customers quickly. The customers will choose for themselves which content/access combination they feel is best, and will utilize that one. Companies in this situation also need to broaden their thinking regarding the service they provide. To compete effectively, a media company must view itself as competing with all sorts of providers. It’s not enough to simply see yourself as a radio station, a newspaper company or a TV station in competition with other local radio stations, newspapers or TV stations. Internet, RSS and email have essentially reshaped several media markets into one giant market. The customer still wants great news content delivered quickly, but now it needs to be delivered right to his inbox or as a feed on Twitter.
Winning in this market will require that the content and the delivery are just right.
One media company’s example.
Even though generating good content is important and has its challenges, doing so is not the major difficulty faced by the average media firm. The key challenge is to get that information through the available channels in a way that an audience wants it. A major issue here is whether or not a website has the capacity to regularly update its content. The consumer looking for headlines doesn’t want to read from a page that’s no longer current. So, how does an audience know that content is updated?
We realize that email marketing is not the only way to reach customers. However, since we are an email marketing service provider, we are obviously biased toward that medium as a preferred method. Not long ago we assisted a traditional TV network with 14 affiliates as it started delivering headlines and breaking news alerts directly to customers’ inboxes twice daily. At the same time in the morning and in the afternoon customers found updated news pieces waiting in their inboxes.
To accomplish this we used our RSS-to-Email technology combined with our advanced triggers/advanced scheduling. The network employees do the jobs they know best; they create and publish excellent articles. Our technology allows them to automatically deliver that great content twice daily to thousands of inboxes. They don’t have to do a thing.
Now that this first step is implemented, this media firm can start working to integrate social networking and mobile alerts. This first step has shown that customers want information quickly and that by accessing the available information they are indicating their preference for it in particular format. The message to this firm—and a host of other companies—is clear. It’s time to look beyond a single information channel and be willing to provide information how, when and where the customer wants it. Companies that don’t do so may find themselves without an audience.
Director of Business Development for eConnect Email, an email marketing software company. James enjoys spending time at the beach and traveling in his free time. Follow him on twitter @eConnectEmail