Content is still key, but publishers need to find new angles and perspectives to capture audience interest.
That’s the message from Luna Brailovsky, writing in an INMA ‘satisfying audiences’ blog this week.
The entertainment editor of Vía País in Argentina, she says journalists face an increasingly widespread challenge. “The success of content is measurable and the impact of a story on the audience can be analysed to the bone.
“We can know the age and location of the people who read us, the time spent, if they clicked on our links, or for how many seconds they watched our videos,” she says.
The tools linked to data science are enlightening when it comes to directing the content. Understanding the articles with the greatest impact on the audience is important. They also mark a way for media companies to define their expectations for their journalists.”
Brailovsky says writers must also be clear about how their stories are monitored and optimise their work in order to follow various criteria. “This is not only editorial, but also according to those required by the platforms.”
As editor of the entertainment section of Vía País, she says it is in her favour that this type of content has a higher potential of going viral. “But so as not to lose focus, it is important to understand what the trends are and how new topics arising from those that have already worked can help us attract a larger audience and retain the one we already have.”
As an example, she cites celebrity news – what they post on Instagram, what their love life is like, the last item of clothing they wore – as the articles that attract most traffic.
“We know this type of content is successful, especially on social networks. However, the strategic objective was always to take advantage of the audiences we already had in order to diversify the stories and cover more ground within the entertainment world.
“Therefore, over the years, we had success stories with the launch of specialised verticals linked to the world of series and movies, and another to the world of music, for example. These verticals are carried out by specialised journalists who not only know the sector, but also understand how the site’s total audience is made up and from which topics its content can be most successful.”
Brailovsky says the transition must be gradual: “If we know that ‘Britney Spears’ is successful on our site because of her latest Instagram post, we believe side content linked to related stories or her influence on new artists should be successful too.
“This isn’t an exact formula, and we learn along the way.
“Once we learn from our experience and work with the team to give these verticals a lift, which already work as ‘mini’ sites in themselves, we move on.”
A recent vertical, Estilo, has to do with trends related to decoration, wellbeing, horoscopes, and healthy living. “We decided to move forward with this theme because, as mentioned, it is easily linkable to content we already know is successful. The logic is, if famous people deliver an audience, it is very likely their houses or their beauty treatments deliver it too.”
Since its launch, Estilo become one of the top ten most-read sections of the site.
“Experience shows us that using creativity to expand content, we already know to be successful does nothing but create interesting products for the audience.”
Following search trends, knowing the metrics of stories in depth, and investigating new aspects of the topics of interest were a key part of this process. But to find successful articles based on traffic, it is essential to remain faithful to the audience’s interests but also offer them new content from different perspectives. “We don’t want to fall into a routine that becomes boring or redundant,” she says.
And like everything, it requires learning, a lot of work, and a lot of trial and error. “For us, it was key not to get frustrated during the process and try various approaches to find the formula that delivers an audience… which is not fixed, and rather, requires constant revisions and changes.”