The first panel, “the Subscription Dilemma” included Jonathan Lewin of eMeta, Andrea Broadbent of McGraw Hill and Adam Bernacki of Leadership Directories, focusing on paid content models. Andrea described how they converted ENR.com from a free site to a paid site, leveraging critical construction economic data as the “crown jewels” of the site. They have converted 71,000 paid subs.
Adam spoke of the differences between demand-publishing at D&B and selling canned content such as that of a directory publisher like Leadership Directories and how a balance can reach audiences outside of the core customer base. While transactional (pay-per-view) sales are less than 1% of LDI’s revenues today, Adam sees that as a strong growth opportunity.
The second part of the panel was focused on the role of SEO and SEM for premium content providers. The panel consisted of Rafael Cosentino of Congoo, Matt Hong of Thomson Gale, Pam Springer of ECNext and David Scott of Freshspot Marketing.
Rafael led off with a discussion of how premium content providers may be able to help themselves by developing co-branded networks. During his previous experience at Healthology, Rafael developed numerous co-branded networks. As a result, when he did a Yahoo search on “cardio health”, 90% of the results on the first page came from Healthology and its partners. Rafael walked through a list of top tips for successful co-branded networks. He also suggested that premium content providers could take a “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” approach, where premium content providers, by linking to one another, could improve each other’s traffics, giving all of them stronger positioning vis-à-vis open web content.
David Scott provided four key observations for those involved in developing search engine strategies:
1. First, he indicated how search is remarkable in that it’s the only form of marketing that does not require interruption of the user from what they are doing. You reach people at the exact moment they are seeking you.
2. Good search engine strategies look for sites that aggregate audiences. As an example, he indicated how MarketingSherpa, with its focused audience, generates much higher quality leads than general search like Google.
3. Don’t be egotistical. Understand your buyers first, then develop SEO/SEM programs based upon what they are looking for. Too many publishers select keywords based upon what they have to offer, not what their customers are looking for.
4. Pay very close attention to the landing pages that you drive people to. It’s amazing how many companies invest tremendous budgets on SEM, then drive that traffic to their home page or a weakly designed landing page.