Conversation Agent - Valeria Maltoni - What You Read Reveals Who You Are, or Does it?


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"So: make your site an event. Make it relevant. Make it pertinent. Make it better than the competition. Make me want to visit it." And make me feel welcome once I'm there, I would add, plus accept my feedback with full transparency.

Wouldn't it be great if we also wrote white papers and thought leadership pieces that way? I'm working on making inroads in that sense...

I'm taking note of your ideal mix, just in case all else fails and I decide to be in the publishing business professionally. Well, I kind of am as a communicator.

I thought it interesting to view how different publications promoted different things about the online offering, etc. Not quite sure yet.

How does an online publication attract readers? The same way as always: by differentiating themselves, and by identifying their customers correctly.

The news industry is currently trying to figure out how to make money online; everything is tried from the NY Times admitting "oops, subscriptions don't really work" to the Wall St Journal charging for simply looking at the site. (At least it seems that way!)

The basic problem isn't that these venerable institutions can't figure out how to attract readers - it's that they haven't figured out how to attach advertising dollars to those eyeballs.

But for a new publication to gain ground they simply have to be better than the competition. (No competition? You're destined to fail because you don't know your audience.) That and the usual lots of work. Oh - and people see through gimmicks quicker than most falsetto publishers would like.

I wouldn't be surprised if no one could say how long people spend reading online articles; how long they're willing to look for them, and how long they'd like to keep them around. (I keep some print articles for years. At least I can count on the paper still be available...) Or, if those metrics are known - I can't imagine that they are truly understood.

From what I've seen, the online publication world is still suffering from the "oh wow we're new and don't know what to do" stage of development. It's why I spend way too much money and time on magazines; I'll even make the 20+ mile trip (each way) to the nearest Starbucks for their coffee and the fact that I can buy a New York Times. It's an event, reading the Times. Online, it's part of my morning and evening tour of favored online sites. (The Times happens to the site I read when I'm still bleary-eyed, not having had my first sip of go-go juice.)

So: make your site an event. Make it relevant. Make it pertinent. Make it better than the competition. Make me want to visit it. And figure out a way of getting advertising on the page that isn't going to interfere with my reading (the contemporary slang for that is probably "experience", as in "interfere with my user experience". Or some such nonsense.) But most of all: don't push gimmicks and think I'm as dim as you hope I am. (Did that come out right?!?)

Give me information I can use, basically. Whether it's in developing an understanding of what's going on in the world, or my industry.

Actually - one of my inevitable sidenotes - there was a magazine called "Wall St Technology". I don't know if it still exists, but when I worked in that field it was extremely useful. It told me what was going on in my field, who the players were and what sorts of decisions were being made. Not just on Wall St, but in the global financial sector - but Wall St was its focus. It was relevant. And it assumed that I didn't have much time, but needed a good amount of detail. That's what "every" manager wants!

Hmm. If I can be defined by what I read - oy! :-)

Carolyn Ann

PS If InStyle merged with CycleWorld and The Economist... I'd be happy. :-)

Vintage, man. It's all in the positioning ;-)

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