D.B. Scott blogged the other day about news-sharing agreements between different companies, prompted by the announcement that CBC and the National Post would be exchanging content (CBC sports for Post business). He focused on this being common among news companies but didn’t mention that it’s also a great way for magazines to increase the value of their websites while bringing in a new and wider audience.
One of the most common agreements is between magazine websites and major web portals, and a number of Canadian magazines, including my own, have content-sharing agreements with sites such as msn.ca, sympatico.ca and yahoo.ca. (They’re in alphabetical order to preclude any favouritism, by the way.) Portals definitely have the broadest audience and it’s a great way to get your brand out there but as they are all general-interest, the audience isn’t necessarily targeted to your content area.
Another way to create partnerships is with other sites that have a similar target audience but a different content focus. My favourite example is the link exchange going on between Toronto Life and CBC Toronto: Toronto Life’s events coverage for CBC’s news. (You’ll see a Toronto Life block on the CBC Toronto home page and vice versa.) Both are aiming for a Toronto-based readership, but they have very different and complementary strengths in terms of editorial. The Toronto page of globeandmail.com has a similar agreement with the blog torontoist.com – I’m not sure on the details, but you’ll see a Torontoist header and story in the right-hand column of the page.
Content or link exchanges can come from many places, and not just online – newsletters are another source. They’re a fabulous opportunity to showcase your content, site and brand to a wider audience and, ideally, convert them into regular users. The key is to find the right site to partner with: it has to be similar enough that there’s no disconnect for readers, but different enough that you’re not sharing an audience already.