Engaging readers is the key
John Byrne, editor of BusinessWeek.com, writes in the latest issue of MediaWeek how the business media will be successful if they can engage readers to be part of the conversation.
Byrne writes, “Tracking the effectiveness of a reader engagement initiative requires new metrics. At BusinessWeek, weâ€™re measuring this by counting up our outputs to the world in published stories and blog posts against inputs by our audience-in reader comments and stories. Last September, for every story or blog post on our site, we had roughly 13 contributions from readers. So our Reader Engagement Index was 13-to-1. Soon after the launch of our initiatives to more deeply involve readers, that index rose to 30-to-1. No less important, though, the eyes on those reader contributions and conversations nearly tripled year-over-year.
“Beyond the increased numbers, thereâ€™s a far more important takeaway. Youâ€™re creating context to establish a true community of engaged users. The strategy acknowledges that content is no longer king. No media brand can effectively compete against either search or aggregation with ‘content.’ You can only compete with context. As consultant Jeffrey Rayport puts it, ‘Content and brand are table stakes. The main game is to engage users directly in authentic, compelling, loyalty-inducing site contexts.’
“In the online world, search is the ultimate transaction. Itâ€™s the antithesis of community. Context is the ultimate relationship. So welcoming and encouraging readers to be participants in the process of journalism is essential to competing in a media world that has become increasingly transactional. This is the new New Journalism, a model that begins to answer the questions that critics such as Jeff Jarvis has raised about our business. If print sucks, this new New Journalism is a beautiful thing.”Â Â Â
Read more here.