As I wrote in a post here back in May, the sphere of control you have over your digital assets (on the left) is impacted by the degrees of interaction you and your content are likely to have in social networks and as the content is exposed to social consumption (on the right). When I was talking about the value of social conversation and interest for news companies I was focusing on your story.
Looking at the diagram I drew back then, I can see how the statement is valid for news organizations as well. New media companies are borrowing a page out of the social activation concept. The Huffington Post integrated Google Connect on the site recently. Look for the blue tab with the bubble that says "connect to social news".
One only needs to take a look at the sentiment captured on Twitter after the redesign of CNN.com to notice that the lack of a comments or participation option is the most common reason why people don't like it. Contrast - CNN.com - Breaking News, U.S., World, Weather, Entertainment & Video News with Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post - who's more focused?
Or contrast CNN.com redesign with Smashing Magazine redesign - Smashing Magazine may look a bit different at first glance, but keeping the general structure intact was very important to us. After all, we don’t want to confuse our readers; rather, we want their experience to improve. What's included with the redesign? A social network.
More and more online publications are also giving you the opportunity to customize your experience.
Publishing tools, syndication and search are the key enablers and the nodes for new media equity.
One option, as we discussed a few months back, is to publish content and news yourself and exposing it directly to partners, customers, and the press alike. As your community of employees, peers, and customers interacts with it, they may share and build upon it - while you facilitate, listen, and participate to the conversation.
Social activation builds your new media equity. It looks like news media organizations are catching up on that and building or integrating ways to achieve social activation and build new media equity connecting news with people.
The ultimate community of course, is the group who can stay on top of great and well written news of interest it cannot find anywhere else. It will do that for a fee. I'm talking about the readers of the Wall Street Journal online. The WSJ.com is the only media publication that made the Digital Hot List 2009. From behind the paid wall, its audience spiked by nearly 45 percent (ComScore) - and the newspaper's circulation is now the biggest in the country.
Content within context - in this case financial news - trumps direct social activation in revenue. Note that in the case of the WSJ, the paper never wavered on its business model and clearly continues to deliver value for readers continue to pay for the privilege. Do people talk about the WSJ? They do, and the Journal even hosts a community site. Value comes first in building equity.
Is social activation the only hope for other news organization that want to build new media equity? Social activation engages after you build value - this is what many news organizations will need to figure out to build new media equity.
What about your new media equity? Are you allocating time and thinking towards building value in your product or service?
© 2006-2009 Valeria Maltoni. All rights reserved.