Content producers, talk less, listen more!
Recently, Romain Saillet quite rightly invited the media to “Produce less and distribute more” on video platforms. I would add that they should also rely much more on the data of their readers, upstream as well as downstream of content production.
1. Listen more to produce more relevant content
Most brands, media or institutions are using social networks as a new distribution channel. It’s hard to lose your habits as a descending unidirectional speaker! They forget that social platforms are also a great observatory of user needs and a means of improving the quality of their offer, as Starbucks has clearly understood, which questions its customers. to develop new products.
Social networks are an ideal place to practice “information on demand”, particularly through surveys. This is what the Decoders of the World with a voting system, to identify the most recurring questions. This is a good way to kill two birds with one stone, since it also increases tenfold the power of distribution of content designed in this way, as I could check it here or the. Youtubers have perfectly assimilated this essential recipe for their success and very often include their fans in the narration, by answering their questions, by quoting them, by asking them to choose the subjects, even by co-producing the content themselves !
In general, before claiming to be listened to, you must already create a link. Every salesperson knows this, even if he has never heard of thePalo Alto school. Of course, an editorial line cannot simply produce what people are looking for. We must also offer them what they do not yet know and that they might like, otherwise there is a real risk of cognitive confinement.
2. Interview users to design the products
Julien robert is the co-founder of Happy Couple, a fun application which aims to discover his (her) partner and ultimately strengthen the marital relationship. Through a game of questions and answers, sent alternately to one and the other, and a comparison of the results, the couples get to know and understand each other better, while having fun. Challenges, tips, suggested activities and a points system reinforce the appeal of this application which is experiencing favorable development. In just a few months, it passed the 85,000 downloads mark and has nearly 50,000 monthly users, including 18,000 daily “addicts”.
To explain this more than encouraging result, Julien first insists on the design method in “Lean-startup” that he used. The “lean-startup” is this mode of project management – now very trendy – which proceeds by progressive validation of hypotheses. Thus, Julien began to test his concept with his base of 1000 friends, colleagues and acquaintances, by sending them once a week, for four months, a series of five questions – four closed, one open. Example: Do you feel that you understand your partner well? Are you interested in an app to help you do this? Until the validation of the interface of the application itself: choice of this or that graphic or that formulation. As a result, Julien was able to rule out certain ideas, such as the possibility of sharing his results on Facebook, at least not at the beginning (too intimate).
This method makes it possible to avoid releasing a product that does not correspond to the user’s needs, despite a great deal of effort and reflection in isolation. Here, we gradually validate the public interest. First by targeted questionnaires, then by models and finally via beta-test sites that we refine, taking into account real uses.
3. Make use of user usage data
Julien’s great strength is to have built his CMS before his editorial content. It has designed a system that allows it to analyze in detail the behavior of its users, to adapt its content and develop its application.
First, the system makes it possible to use the responses of users, to derive a graphical representation displayed in the application. The data makes it possible to serve personalized content, according to the results specific to each couple. Some will be very much in tune with “leisure” issues and much less with the communication of emotions, for example. Then, the global data makes it possible to identify the recurring sources of misunderstanding, to guide the selection of the subjects of the advice sheets, so that they are useful to the greatest number of people.
The CMS also collects all the marketing information concerning the users themselves: How many are new, regular, occasional, dormant, dead users… How many days per week do users play, how much time they spend on each question and on average per day , per week or per month? This makes it possible to adapt the questions and the application over time, each time improving user retention and satisfaction. Not to mention the usage curve over time, which allows you to know when attention is declining, to better relaunch it by notification or by significantly modifying the product.
These techniques are well known to video game designers who analyze the usage data of their games, minute by minute, to sense when the player picks up, either because the game is too difficult or because it is too easy. . No wonder that among Happy Couple’s advisors, during the design phase, we find a data-science expert from King.
The media should be inspired by this methodology, which is reminiscent of that of Melty, even if the latter has given up, it seems in part, to produce only content “on demand”. This is also what advocates the latest Reuters report.
4. Monetize user data
Closely monitoring user data can also benefit from it, because it is obviously a godsend for ad targeting. It will be necessary to make sure to anonymize this data of course and not to go too far in the contextualization (for example, avoid advertisements linked to intimate e-mails), so as not to arouse the rejection of users.
This is the strategy followed by the social networks Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. What makes the strength of the business model of Facebook or Google, besides the mass of users they reach, is their affinity advertising tool delivered “turnkey” to advertisers. Moreover, if Twitter has more difficulty than others in making money, it is also because its system and its advertising formats are less efficient and less precise.
The media would benefit from developing their own integrated advertising platform, rather than depending on that of others! It is also one of the reasons for the success of La Presse +, the Canadian daily newspaper, which worked as much on the advertising tool of its application, as on the content itself. Advised by an internal agency at the newspaper, advertisers create interactive, well-designed, well-conceptualized inserts that work. Result: La Presse + has thus managed to maintain the same prices as on paper.
In short, the media should move from CMS (Content Management System) to CCAM (Customer Content and Advertising Manager) which would also integrate customer relationship management. All this with the aim of offering the reader similar subjects, like Amazon orOutbrain : “Those who bought this product also liked this”, but also newsletters and notifications, personalized and contextualized in time and space. A tool which would also integrate the advertising network managed by an internal consulting agency to spare the goat and the cabbage. This would preserve the user experience and the media brand over the long term, while maximizing the advertising impact.
Content producers, foremost among them the media, can no longer be satisfied with just creating content and vaguely monitoring traffic. They must listen to their readers upstream of creation, but also downstream of editorial production. This, to better disseminate and better monetize their work. This means broadening their initial field of skills to marketing, with a strong technological dimension.
They need to act quickly, because advertisers have already captured a good part of the value, by distributing and monetizing media content, particularly through programmatic. However, this is only one step. They are already working on the next one : the intelligent distribution of their curation or even their production of branded content. It would be a further blow to the (free) media, after the loss of a good part of their distribution power, in the benefit of Google and social networks.
Article originally published on Mediaculture.
Cyril Frank is a journalist. Founder of Mediaculture.fr and Quelle.info (“the news explained”, now “that interests me”), it supports the media in their digital transformation. Trainer in content marketing, editorial strategy (increase in traffic, loyalty, audience monetization) and use of social networks (traffic acquisition, engagement…).