Posts Tagged ‘Folio’

Can UGC last?

February 4, 2009

User-generated content has been all the rage lately – not only because of the success of sites such as YouTube but because many publishers see it as the answer to many of their problems, a way to bolster content and boost pageviews without significant investment on the part of their staff.

However, a recent article on Folio discusses a report that says UGC may not be as valuable as was once thought. The challenge? Monetizing content that advertisers may be reluctant to sponsor due to its unpredictable nature.

My suggestion: experiment with UGC, but don’t take on any major projects unless they fit one of two conditions: either the sponsorship has been sold already, or the project works so well with your brand and site that you think it’s worth the effort overall. Don’t jump on the UGC bandwagon without having a solid plan in place.

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More discussion of digital editions

December 18, 2008

It’s no secret that I’m not the world’s biggest fan of digital editions – as I’ve said before, I am highly skeptical that they will ever take off with readers. They’re not as pleasurable to read as a print magazine or as convenient as a website.

That being said, I’d be happy to be proven wrong if anyone could present me with some hard data. So please, throw in your two cents in the comments. The caveat: we need to study readership over a significant period of time. One or two issues doesn’t count as the newness of the format is still a factor. And I do think that trade mags and informational publications will perform better in digital editions than magazines that people read for pleasure.

The other issue, even if people are reading them, is how well ads perform in digital editions—and what we should be charging for them. Josh Gordon at Folio has a good discussion going on monetizing digital editions. Head over to see what people have to say and share your thoughts there as well.

Adam Hodgkin of Exact Editions has also offered me a couple of subscriptions so I can try out some of his publications and review them. I’ll be doing that soon.

Is social media right for your site?

September 12, 2008

Folio posted a long roundtable discussion the other day about incorporating – and monetizing – social media on your site. Participants included Stephen Merrill of BudgetTravel.com, Jeremy Westin of Playboy Media Group and Ted Nadeau of CondeNet. It’s definitely worth a read if you’re interested in the subject. But for the time-pressed, here are a few key points:

• Nadeau points out that not only does social media offer an opportunity to deepen user engagement, but it’s a way to extend your content and brand beyond the “walls” of your website.

• According to several of the participants, we’re moving from an age of quantity to an age of quality, from valuing high traffic numbers to valuing quality traffic. This is especially important as online ad sales looks to improve upon the CPM model for gathering revenue.

• It’s all about the content and how you facilitate it. Stick to your brand.

• Community managers/editors/leaders are going to be the next wave of editorial staff and the next “cool job to have”.

• When working on user-generated content, it’s important to maintain editorial standards.

• We’re still in the early days of social media; “it’s all about careful experimentation,” says Westin.

Finding the right CMS

August 7, 2008

Choosing the right content management system (CMS) for your site is a big decision: not only is its functionality crucial, but nothing will annoy your editors and producers more than a glitchy CMS.

Folio contributing editor Rory J. Thompson discusses two open-source CMS’s in a blog post today—Joomla and Drupal (which is used on Folio’s website). 

Have you used either of these? What are some of the pros and cons?

Building community

August 5, 2008

One of the more popular goals online these days, both on magazine sites and on the web at large, is “building community.” The idea is to build a large group of repeat visitors who spend lots of time on your site and view lots of pages (and therefore, of course, ads). There’s also a lot of potential for building your brand and collecting reader data to be used in more creative ways (such as targeted newsletters).

But how do you build these communities? Josh Gordon at Folio has a few ideas, inspired by/borrowed from cio.com. The bottom line? A community is born, not made: you can start a community on your site, but it’s the users who develop it and ultimately decide what goes on. Something to think about if you (or your lawyers) like to control every aspect of your site.