Web Content Strategies: The MasterNewMedia New Editorial Approach
From a media and technology news & reviews daily web magazine to a reference / learning resource with a specific focus on media literacy, communication skills and professional web publishing. This is the new editorial strategy focus for Master New Media, the daily magazine that originates the story you are reading now. This is where I am going next.
Photo credit: Junaid Khalid
I am Robin Good and I am the editor of Master New Media since the very beginning. Born back in 2001, this site has grown over time from a newsletter repository to a full blown blog about media and technology to the more recent format that gave coverage to many new media technologies relevant to those who need to communicate, train and market in the most effective ways.
Some of you have been following Master New Media for a long while and have seen already many changes and gradual evolutions, so you will not be surprised to learn that change, or rather "greater focus", is the name of the game.
And the time for change has come again.
In the past weeks and in the coming months Master New Media will go through a gradual restyling and reframing of both its look and topic focus by addressing more what I think is my core mission: helping others communicate more effectively with new media technologies. To empower the small guy to use the web to market effectively her skills. To enable the artist, non-profit institution or small shop to take on the many opportunities offered by the Internet to take their projects and businesses to a new level.
Key Traits of MasterNewMedia New Editorial Strategy
1) Leave the Latest News to Others
Photo credit: Pavel Losevski
Most technology and media blogs give plenty of coverage to news stories. New company acquisitions, product and feature launches are the most common topic you can find across a broad spectrum of blogs and independent news sites that focus on media and technology. This is a "natural". The authors behind those sites are passionate themselves about those stories and they love to share them with their readers.
On the other hand only a few web publishers work at making sense of all these technology news, while trying to create new visions, languages and paradigms of communication. Few take the time to stop and pull together those many news dots into coherent visions that can enable others to put these opportunities, visions and tools to good use. This what I want to do.
So, it is not that you will not see any more news on Master New Media, but as you have already been noticing for a while, I am not running anymore after the latest release or scoop. There is just too many of you out there already doing this.
2) Increase Focus
Photo credit: Andrey Zyk
Being the Internet the infinite resource of information that more and more people tap into to inform themselves and learn more about what they are interested into, it goes without saying that the sharper the focus one can develop in his web publishing venture the greater the benefit from many standpoints. Sharper and more defined focus allow you greater opportunity to be an authority in your field than if you were in a much larger and less defined arena. Define your focus precisely and go after it relentlessly is definitely my mantra when it comes to web publishing and I have been long thinking during 2008 at how to precisely define Master New Media's more specific focus.
Now the focus is emerging and it is quite clear: professional web publishing and how to get there. So, from a daily technology and media daily magazine toward a resource guide for all those, small and large who are seriously considering to enter or to significantly increase their online publishing skills.
3) Provide a Guide-To Approach
Photo credit: Vasil Yakobchuk
Many online publishers or would be ones are a bit derailed by their own passions and interests, forgetting way too rapidly that their "commercially relevant" audiences are often not as tech-savvy and capable to try out and test new solutions and tools like they do. And so, while there are a ton of very technically savvy blogs and news sites that talk to an elite audience of early adopters and pioneers, there are many more and larger audiences waiting to be introduced, guided and shown the way around all this new stuff you web publishers have already discovered.
In fact, in many cases the very best editorial approach is to master how to transfer to others in enticing and memorable ways what you have already mastered yourself. Whether that be golf or how to make your web site more visible on major search engines, beyond breaking news you often need someone that explains to you in an easy and simple way how things really work or how to do a certain thing better. This is what many of us are often looking for. How to do something better.
Master New Media new editorial strategy will address this need specifically: "Don't tell me (only) about a million new great things... help me understand and learn how to be an effective web publisher", is the voice of my typical reader.
Listen to the one of your readers too.
4) Aggregate The Best News from Any Relevant Source
Photo credit: John Pavel
News are important but you need not write all of them. Actually, as I have been saying for a while now, you can provide much greater value to your readers not so much by echoing and picking up the news breaking at every minute but rather by hand-selecting and offering to your readers the very best news "out there".
Providing your readers with a digest of news coming from the most relevant sources and hand-picked by you is one of the most valuable information services a publisher can provide to his readers. I call it newsmastering. If you learn how to do it (it is probably something you are already intuitively know) you can save you and your readers a ton of wasted time wandering around familiar sites, while keeping yourself as updated as only the experts in your field can be.
5) Do Lots of Video
Photo credit: Marc Dietrich
Live, streaming, recorded, mini-shows, news. The more the better. I don't need to come and tell you that video is "the" communication tool of these times, and how effective in many a situation video publishing can be. Just look around.
In this new editorial phase of Master New Media you will see even more video than the good dose I have already been serving you so far. There will be a mix of video use, ranging from screencasts to video presentations, tutorials and specific how-to guides.
N.B.: As a matter of fact, I am in the process of selecting a couple of new video production assistants to work with me in the coming months as interns. These same people will then take up paid positions in our fast-growing video production and editing newsroom. (More about internship opportunities, apprenticeship in my feature article tomorrow.
6) Leave the Silicon Valley Gossip
Photo credit: Phil Date
Not that I have ever given coverage to Silicon Valley gossip, investments and acquisition, valuation and financing of startups. That's never been my interest. TechCrunch and Michael Arrington do such a great job of this I am more than happy not to have to cover this stuff too.
My real interest is in the exploration and execution part of new media communication. How could I do this better? What if I used this technology mixed with this other one to do this? Would I be able to be more effective? How do I achieve this effect? These are some of the questions and themes I am after.
7) Focus on Professional Education
Photo credit: Eric Isselée
Even when you have chosen your content focus, you really need to decide what is it that you are going to offer in that area. The breaking news? The tutorials and learning guides? Advice and recommendations to user demands? Research data and statistics? Interviews? There are a ton of possibilities. Identifying and investing on the one that can best leverage your existing assets and abilities is the best way to go for a starter.
For Master New Media, this is a long-time vocation, and possibly the very reason that fueled my decision to start publishing online: helping others taking greater control of their lives by using the communication opportunities offered by new media and the Internet. I really like to share what I know as much as I like to enable others to become more successful communicators by using the Web as a publishing and marketing medium.
Helping my readers become professional online publishers will be my key focus. This focus will drive the choice of topics for future content articles, news selections, videos produced and everything else that I and my team will be producing in the coming months.
Why This Strategy?
Photo credit: Robert Lerich
Why this editorial strategy? What is my goal?
My key objective is to create a commercially profitable online resource that can provide high-quality information to the greatest number of individuals (looking for international editors of Dutch, French, German and Russian editions!) on the topic of how to communicate more effectively with new media technologies. Media literacy, communication skills, collaboration, professional web publishing: these are my core interests.
This is a booming industry. Everyone wants or soon will need to have some media literacy skills of some kind. There almost no job or activity where this is not relevant. From church to commercial spot any business or artistic benefit can immensely benefit from knowing how to manage and use the new communication tools of our age.
Yet, there is very little information about it that is well organized, credible and accessible. The average content on this topic is shallow, often skewed to Internet marketing fast-make-money schemes and rarely organized in a way that would allow a normal person to learn it in a meaningful and immediately applicable way.
How will I judge Master New Media results and performance on this front?
If my goal is to move away from news publishing and latest tech tools reviews, the most direct and significant changes I shall see in my audience statistics should be an increase in time spent on the site and quite definitely in the number of pages viewed. I am starting with very low numbers on both fronts, as the overwhelming number of people arriving at Master New Media from search engines often times just gives a glance to my page content and if I don't have what they are looking for, they go immediately away. So, while I have thousands staying even over ten minutes reading my content, the largest share lands and goes away after a rapid scan.
Long time spent on the site and many pages viewed. This is what I am after now. What advertiser or sponsor wouldn't like a site/ community with a profile like that?
(Master New Media traffic results and statistics are all public now and updated every month. Come and check out how we are doing!)
And consider this too: a site that is a learning resource, and where individuals spent active time, avidly absorbing the information they are interested in, offers much greater opportunities for revenue making than one would typically think.
Traditional contextual advertising solutions like Google AdSense may actually decrease the value of some learning, informational content offerings giving them an initial appearance of less credibility or shallowness. While these negative factors can be easily counterbalanced, it is indeed better to monetize your readers interests and desire to know or do more in very specific areas, rather than trying to guess through contextual ads what they may be most interested in.
Yes, a number of other factors, beyond editorial strategy, will have a significant impact on my ability to achieve these goals. Namely, interface and information design of the site content components will have a tangible impact on such results as well as the effectiveness of my content marketing and distribution strategies.
Give Me Your Feedback
Photo credit: Tomasz Trojanowski
Now, what's your take on the above?
Are you going to like it more or less? What is it you would want to see more and I am not giving you yet?
Use the comments section below and let me know.
(Tomorrow more information about Master New Media internships.)
Originally written by Robin Good for Master New Media and first published on August 11th 2008 as "Web Content Strategies: The MasterNewMedia New Editorial Approach"
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