Full Sale Ahead: Give Marketers What They Want
As a premium content provider you need to do more than just deliver eyeballs, you need to deliver interactivity. Whereas exposure is fast becoming a commodity, the ability to create interactive experiences for customers is commanding a premium. If you can create online or mobile products that encourage your advertisers' potential customers to interact in a meaningful way, you can charge a premium for the sponsorships you sell.
Content that motivates potential customers to register, comment, download sponsored content, sign up to receive a newsletter, take a webinar, participate in an online dialogue, or interact in any way, helps you move quickly out of the commodity advertising game. Consider this:
• Do visitors think about your website as a place to read about stuff, or interact?
• Do visitors think about your blog as a place to read the ideas and thoughts of its writer, or a place to share opinions?
• When people visit your Facebook page, are they looking for the latest information, or a discount, special offer, insider's view, or special treatment?
Advertisers see interactivity as a means to touch their customers in ways that simple "exposure media" cannot do. They will pay a premium for it.
Question #2: Do you ask, "Is social media profitable?" or "Is user participation essential?"
In publishing, launching digital media products are often evaluated in terms of monetization. The conversations can go like this:
• Should we launch a newsletter? How many ads you think we can sell?
• Should we start a webinar series? How many sponsorships do think we can sell?
… and so on.
Social media fares badly with this "how much can it make" kind of analysis because building a social media destination takes a lot of time and effort. It can take 6 months to a year to build an online social media community with enough traffic to support sponsorship sales. I have heard of cases where it took several years.