As niche business media, engagement is our superpower. We have a direct relationship with our audiences over many channels, all of whom share common but specific information needs, concerns and obsessions. And ideally, we should have targeted content that they can’t find anywhere else.
I’ve been thinking about that last part a lot in the past few months as AI and AI-driven search start changing the rules of the media game…again. Annex brands have never been in the fast news business. Despite the aspirations of a few editors, that is a general media game we cannot win. And given the fate of consumer news sites, the prize for winning is a business without a clear future. Sure, we can provide some of this content in our enews, but even here the same rule applies - the more narrowly focussed to our niche, the better.
Far better than a constant barrage of CP stories, press releases or generic business content is a carefully metered dose of hyper-relevant, thoughtful content. And our website stats bear this out. Only a small minority of our readers visit our sites more than two or three times a month. That means the daily barrage of light news we’re loading up is not being seen by these folks.
So what might this unique content look like? You’ll find lots of examples in our magazines and on our sites, but here are a few ideas.
- Industry best practices: Let’s say you want to tackle mental health in your sector. This is a topic that gets immense attention on general news and HR sites, so there is a need to provide something different and deeper to our audience. How about identifying a few companies in your space that have this dialled in, and doing short interviews with them and laying out common themes and options for the majority of readers still trying to find their way?
- Research: Same topic of mental health, but perhaps we send out a brief survey of 4 or 5 questions asking what companies in this sector are doing about it and sharing the data in an article or infographic. Do they have employee assistant platforms like Dialogue, do they train managers and staff, etc… Benchmarking is a big deal for most leaders, but information is very hard to find.
- Webinars: Take one of the two approaches above (or combine them) and present them in webinar format with guests to allow more two-way engagement. This can be transcribed by AI and summarized into a few short articles for print and the enews.
- Columns: Find a passionate thought leader among associations or consultants to pen 600-700 words on how the industry should be dealing with mental health. This is almost always free and lets someone else do some of the lifting.
- Supplier-paid content: Are there companies in your space that make improving mental health their business? Can we create a Solutions in Mental Health advertorial resource?
You will undoubtedly have many more ideas. Substitute “mental health” with just about any industry topic, and the approach works. Think of it as the Slow Living moment for B2B media, where less is more and engagements are fewer but more meaningful. It means spending more timing planning content and less time posting it. It means less but more impactful time with social media. It means uploading less often but more deliberately. It requires asking the question – Will this content help our readers run a better business? Would they pay for it? If not, maybe move on quickly or find the deeper path.
We will never beat AI at the volume game. But we can certainly out niche and out create it.
Do good work, and be good to work with.
Scott Jamieson, President & COO
; mobile: 519-410-4000
For trolls to Debbie, Kristin, Steve, and more, visit The Wall!
To Craig, for Working Together
From Maria P – “I cannot thank Craig enough for helping me understand how the digital world works. From launching CRM's new site (a task with lots of moving parts) to sharing new ideas and his expertise on what is possible for us to accomplish. Thanks for your patience and for being a team player, Craig.”
To Anastasia, for Owning It
From Michelle B – “Ana effectively negotiated for an invoice to be nullified from a manure expo vendor after they neglected to pick up garbage containers from the August event site for almost two months and invoiced us in November. This not only saved more than $600, but also eliminated an adjustment for the accounting dept. as they work through year-end. Thank you!”
To Kristin, for Owning It
From Adam R – “Working alongside Steve, while balancing the budget workload and taking courses at night, Kristin was instrumental in hitting our deadline for getting the preliminary results out today. Her dedication to the results was on full display as she saw the job through to completion. Way to go!”
Not links, on LinkedIn
The social media platform Hootsuite ran a 60-day trial to see the impact of including links in your LinkedIn posts. Ironically for a network starting with “Link”, LI is reportedly harsh on posts that include links. The results confirmed that, with posts without links getting 6x as much reach. That is what makes LinkedIn a limited option for driving web traffic. So if you want to reach as many people as possible, lose the link. If you must include one, wait for the first comment to come in, then add a link in the second comment and edit your post to say so.
Reader paid content
If our content is timely, relevant and practical, readers will pay for it. In fact, the readers of Canadian Poultry have paid very close to $10,000 to register for a four-part webinar series on broilers. Not only did they cough up $80 each, but they added some encouraging feedback, with messages like “great initiative for producer and industry” and “excellent lineup of speakers”. The Annex record for a paid webinar still belongs to OHS at $20,000 at the outset of COVID, but I have a feeling we will break that record in 2024.
Owning Own Its
Not surprisingly, we each own the Own It Agreement process. If you have not set up your 2024 goal setting and Own It kick-off meeting with your manager, please do so over the next few weeks.
Michelle’s Open Dialogue
Over the past few weeks, you may have noticed emails from our wellness platform Dialogue in your inbox. This week’s email was about “taking charge of your mental health” and was to remind us of the self-care toolkits available by Dialogue.
Whether you are actively dealing with one of life’s challenges or simply looking to improve your overall well-being, the resources available are designed to help you fit in much-deserved self-care time – even if it’s only for a few minutes – they are available to you anytime, anywhere.
These toolkits have been proven to decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. You’ll learn new skills and approaches that can help you on a daily basis such as:
- How to approach problems with the right attitude
- How to re-direct attention away from worrying
- Warped thoughts and how to unwarp them
- Practical tips on how to adopt positive, healthy habits
Not sure where to start? With unlimited access to the toolkits, explore them all to see what works best for you. If you need some extra help, speak to a Dialogue coach by booking a session using the app.
Remember, don’t Google it, Dialogue it.