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Upcoming trends in content, monetization and design

Upcoming trends in content, monetization and design

Margaret Looney | November 16, 2012

In an era when every week brings a new "next big thing," journalists and news companies need advice about which new tools and trends matter--and which ones to ignore.

Media executives and journalists from innovative companies gave their advice about trends worth watching at a recent Digital Capital Week event. News sites USA Today and The Atlantic and Web startups Tech Cocktail and Curbed Network discussed what’s on the horizon at the Innovations in Media session, which IJNet attended.

Here are three areas where the panelists see new trends emerging:

Monetization

Look for more news organizations to hold live events to generate revenue. The Atlantic plans to hold events in the vein of the Aspen Ideas Festival or the Washington Ideas Forum, said contributing editor Zvika Krieger.

These events often echo an outlet’s editorial niche. For instance, Zach Davis, marketing director for Tech Cocktail, a media company for entrepreneurs, said the site sells tickets for events profiling tech startups.

Another revenue stream outlets are exploring is sponsored content, Krieger noted. The Atlantic published a special report on energy entrepreneurs sponsored by oil company Shell.

Content

In an effort to “compete for the eyeballs across the Web,” USA Today general manager of personal technology, Jeremy Teres, said the next trend for content is to offer better tools for user contributions so anyone can more easily upload their own stories or videos.

The Atlantic is answering the content aggregation trend with Atlantic Wire and the hyperlocal trend with Atlantic Cities.

And the need for journalists to promote their content and encourage others to share is here to stay. “It’s not about SEO (search engine optimization) anymore. It’s about sharing,” Teres said. “It has to be part of our DNA going forward.”

Design

The emphasis isn't necessarily on the homepage anymore, but rather on individual posts. “They rise and fall on their own merit,” Krieger said. “Each individual post is like its own homepage.”

Panelists said they’ll be keeping an eye on these innovative media companies and sites:

  • Vox Media - with striking projects like sports site SBNation, Polygon for gamers and tech/art/science site The Verge.

  • New York Magazine – The magazine pioneered a forward-thinking digital strategy in 2006 and has continued to break ground with its fresh layout and blogs such as Vulture and The Cut.

  • Mobile news app Circa – Perfect for browsing news on the go, the iPhone app aggregates news blurbs with a slick design.

  • iPad news app The Daily – This national news publication is suited exclusively for touch-screen platforms.

@margylooney

Photo by Margy Looney

Comments

Monetization Techniques

I'm curious what other new monetization strategies and content platforms were featured. Did any stand out to you? Our friend Patrick O'Keefe wrote the book Monetizing Online Forums and we made this monetization "cheat sheet" to accompany it. http://blog.skimlinks.com/2012/07/26/flowchart-how-to-monetize-your-website/ It's a good reference for anyone learning about their monetization options. Was there anything discussed at the conference that we missed? Thanks! Meghan Skimlinks

re: monetization techniques

Hi Meghan! As far as suggestions for monetizing content, these are the only tips the panelists offered. They stressed advertisements that complement the reader's experience and feared most sites will be "stuck in the age of banner ads" for quite a while. Thanks for the link to the cheat sheet, the infographic is great!