The New Era of Mobile
The Role of Content
Let's discuss content first. Despite those who said the Web would spell doom for traditional news organizations, and despite the emergence of blogs, tweets and other methods of "citizen reporting," there is still a role for professional journalists.
Rather than discount citizen reporters though, successful media outlets are incorporating them into what Shel Israel, in his book "Twitterville," describes as "braided journalism." This enables news organizations to capitalize on the immediacy and on-location aspect of user-generated content, while offering an avenue to engage with their readerships. News outlets from CNN to local newspapers have created event-specific Twitter lists to monitor man-on-the-scene reporting of events (such as the recent earthquake in Haiti), while leveraging their professional reporting resources to vet this information and provide deeper context to events.
Newsweek recognized this trend early on and has rebooted its layout and content to provide depth and perspective versus trying to compete in covering breaking news with 24-hour cable and online news sources—a losing proposition. What Newsweek is doing is emphasizing the type of content that builds trust and loyalty from subscribers, attributes that might be transferred to an advertiser.
But it's not just about news. Publishers of every variety can leverage social media connectivity to add value to subscribers and advertisers alike, while spreading their content virally. In growing numbers (27 million people, according to comScore), your subscribers are accessing social media platforms via mobile. Integrate your content with these platforms, increase your relevance and value to readers, and gain new ones, while leveraging data available from communities like Facebook to bring better targeting to advertisers. "Social connectivity" will enable you to target your readers based on their passion points, affiliations and real-time locations, thus enhancing your relevance.
Vitally important, then, is to build the trust and added value that will allow you to get subscribers to opt in to data-driven marketing messages. A publication is like a mutual acquaintance that can connect a reader and an advertiser for a "first date." If trust exists, subscribers will be more receptive to your advertisers' messages, and that receptivity will translate to reader response, conversion and potential relationships for those advertisers.