Media Companies: Don’t Let Your Traffic Run Out the Side Door
Josh Elman

This is good advice for companies that want to become media companies but all media companies understand the value of loyal readers.

The trouble is that new and old media companies are caught in a bind — they don’t control their fractured distribution channels and are forced to accept changes in news feed algorithms by technologists that don’t understand how the news is made.

There is long-term traffic to be gained with a better “side-and-front-door” editorial strategy. However, building a large loyal audience takes time and it requires an editorial voice that is unique and worth seeking out amidst the mess of media of questionable agendas and blatant baiting pursuit of traffic.

It’s hard to do and to do it consistently.

You will lose traffic initially and you will have to triple up on your original content — loyalists demand high quality every time they visit. You’ll need gifted writers and editors and publishers. This is a tough investment to justify when we still have a rapidly dissolving media business model.

And how will you sell that unique editorial voice? With programmatic ad buys you don’t get a chance to meet face-to-face with a media buyer and sell them on the premium value of your loyalists.

With programmatic ad buying you are not visible or distinguishable from the mass of low-quality media.

None of the top technologists and visionaries at Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Medium have figured out how to stabilize and generate sustainable revenues for the media companies whose content they view as important to their platforms.

Their answer has always been that the traffic they bring is payment enough.But more traffic for media sites is of little use when its monetization has been devalued by Google, Facebook etc.

The dirty little secret about Google et al is that they are terrible at monetizing content.

Their scale enables them to make money by making very little money on each ad. But media companies can’t make money by make very little money on each ad. It won’t pay the bills.

Until we have stability and sustainability in revenues the disruption in the media industry will continue in 2016.