Newspapers: Step IV: Identify silos of initial value

We have the CTO.

We’ve talked to our advertisers (and set some expectations)

We’ve improved our reporting.

Step IV:

Identify silos of initial value

Summary: I’m going to make an assumption here that a newspaper site does not have enough content producers, product managers and developers (even with the new CTO) to solve everything at once. I think this is a fair assumption.

Therefore, we’ve have to focus on one vertical or set of advertisers and solve their needs. The goal is the following: increase all metrics of a set group of advertisers or vertical across all points of the supply chain.

Directive: Solve a vertical.

Let’s use the travel vertical example. We have 7 travel partners that really like our attention to their campaign. Next they tell us what performs best from them (along with the accompanying metrics — brand and direct response). We investigate where they are displayed and we investigate how users are getting to these pages.

We form a task force. One that has carte blanche to: a) not seek approval on all content issues and b) ability to prioritize work for anyone as they see fit.

(Ideally we have a strong product manager that has followed the CTO leading the charge.)

We do an extensive competitive analysis, we identify success metrics, we build or repackage content as necessary and we strike distribution deals as quickly as possible regardless of price. (Price will just slow us down; we can always renegotiate later).

All the while, we inventory the effort level and manhours needed to achieve this. We identify where processes are repeatable for other veriticals or advertiser niches.

What do we have? Well after a few iterative takes, we probably arrive at something of value based upon a valuable advertiser metric (some examples in travel could be: impressions, clicks, bookings, viewthus, email sign-ups or other).

So know we have a success. We also have the manpower assessment it took to complete this (our operating cost). Further, we have process points to improve operations.

Thus we can do this again and again for a series of clients. This isn’t the end game mind you, but it solves some of the following:

– advertiser value

– advertiser expectation and customer service happiness

– content / production costs

– revenue

Once, we have more users, we can make more valid assumptions and try some riskier, highever value endeavors.

While this post may seem obvious to any user, I wonder how many newspaper sites are evaluating their effort level based upon a specific ROI and putting in processes to improve the profitability.

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