Trade Pressed

Google Analytics: The Social Experiment

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Watching how editors and sales use Google Analytics has been an accidental social experiment. Sales departments have forever been using metrics – how many readers, pass-along readers, BPA figures – to sell magazines. When you show them the extensive metrics you can get even from a free tool like Google Analytics, you can pretty much immediately see the monster you’ve created. They want more, more, more! Bwaaahahaha.

I don’t know if it’s the idea that metrics are just for sales, but I haven’t seen editors take up as ravenously to metrics the way sales people have. If I say, “Look at the metrics. Do more of what gets a lot of clicks and less of what doesnt,” I get looks like I’m cursing in church. It’s not cheating. I swear!

But really what are metrics other than a numbers-driven focus group. Your readers are voting for the content they like with their clicks. If you could talk to your readers every day and have them tell you what information they need, wouldn’t you?

Here’s my number one tip on how editors can use metrics: Look at your keyword searches (searches performed on Google, Bing, etc., not searches on your site).

Now scroll down to entries 25 through 100. Searches 1 to 25 are most likely variations on the name of your site or the market you serve (American Widget Maker, Widget Maker magazine, American Widget Magazine, widgets). Around term 25, you should start to find concepts that can help you create editorial. How to combat foreign-made widgets. What widgets sell best among moms.

While the concepts that come up are already included in the content of your site (or a keyword search wouldn’t have directed people to your site), it might be time to revisit the topic or repurpose previous content.

Yeah, it takes a little time to consistently track keywords. But isn’t it worth it to give your readers what they really want?

Written by tradepressed

August 18th, 2011 at 11:59 am

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What Is Social Media?

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We’ve gotten rolling with social media at our company. Our editors are Tweeting, we’re on Facebook and we have our own Ning network. I guess I’ve been focusing all my efforts on winning people over on social media. Now that we’re all on the same page, everybody wants to know what the master plan is.

Like I have a plan! But here’s my thought process on social media.

  • We need to be where our readers are, and where they will be in 20 years. This means Twitter, Facebook and Flickr today. Could mean something totally different tomorrow.
  • Twitter is personal. Editors each Tweet under their own accounts, and it’s the editor’s chance to chat with readers and promote whatever they like.
  • Facebook is more promotional for the magazine, but we also link to outside content. We use RSS here, so our news feed appears on our Facebook page. There’s a chance here to have our readers get to know us. Something I’ve been meaning to do is take pictures of editors at their desks so readers can get a behind-the-scenes look at us.
  • Our Ning site belongs to our readers. I don’t want to see too many posts from our editors here. I wouldn’t frequent a forum where the editors are doing all the talking. We generate conversation when there’s a serious lull, but it’s not about promoting ourselves.
  • Flickr and YouTube are the hard sell right now. I’m not getting across the message that the communities around these sites are important to tap into. We pretty much have the attitude that we should keep images and video on our own URLs to drive traffic. I don’t disagree, but I think we’re missing out on an opportunity with these sites. I put photos up on Flickr myself, but it’s not a priority.
  • I have a Delicious account, but I mostly use it for personal stuff. I’ve been thinking about starting an account for our magazine brand, but I’m still thinking.

Past this, I don’t have much of a plan. It seems that of all these, I need a better plan for our Ning site. It is the most marketable to advertisers. We have quite a few members, but they could be chatting a little more frequently. So how do I do that?

Before you go, look at this presentation. It’s  awesome.

Written by tradepressed

August 6th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Twitter: One Year In

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Here’s some analysis of my first year of using Twitter.

- Been using since June 14, 2008, thru

- 127 updates. I thought that number would be higher.

- 196 followers. I’m surprised it’s that many.

- We’ve had 392 visits to our magazine sites that originated from Twitter.

Just today I received a story lead through Twitter. I’ve followed public opinion on our industry through Twitter. So I’m going to keep it. I think we’ve only scratched the surface on what Twitter can do for us, and I predict I’ll have twice the followers by this time next year. And they’ll be quality followers.

And these are the tools that will help me do an even better job in my second year.

  • Great for following events and our industry in general.
  • BackTweets. See who’s blogging about a URL, including yours.
  • URL shortener that also tracks how many people click.
  • Twitter Feed. Send your blog posts directly to Twitter automatically.
  • TwitPic. Send camera phone photos to your feed. I’d use yfrog if I had an iPhone.
  • WhatTheTrend? Find out what’s trending and why.
  • TweetDeck. Keep it up all the time and you’re on top of Twitter all the time.
  • Help A Reporter Out. This guy links reporters with sources. I just found this, so we’ll see  how good it is.
  • TweetStats. See how much work you’re doing on Twitter.

I’d also like to point out Angela Maiers’ 70-20-10 Twitter Engagement Forumula. I think this is a great guideline for us. Found at the Blog of Mr. Tweet.

70% of your tweets should share resources- sharing others’ voices, opinions, quotes, blog posts, articles, content and resources

20% of your tweets should engage in conversations with others, responding, connecting, collaborating and connecting with others.

10% of your tweets can be chirping, chitchat as Angela calls it, on trivial details or self-promotion.

Written by tradepressed

July 6th, 2009 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Web

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No more pay-for-post blogs?

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Wow — this is a sign of a new day. From Poynter: FTC to Investigate Bloggers Receiving Pay for Posts.

I’ve always felt that it’s caveat emptor with blogs, but I can see the point. I like a nice separation of church and state, although the Internet has bent if not broken a lot of those rules.

If you set yourself up to look like a news source and you’re really just a PR service, the reader should be told what’s really going on. But are we not giving the reader enough credit? Can the average reader tell the difference between a paid blog and a legit one?

Poynter asks if this may amount to “rattling the saber at blogs and social media” by the FTC, but it’s definitely exciting to see web reporting legitimized by the investigation. The FTC is basically saying there’s good blogging going on out there, and it should be differentiated from unethical reporting.

Written by tradepressed

July 4th, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Posted in ethics,Web

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What’s Twitter really for?

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twitter.jpgI’ve been to the conferences and I know what the (current) Web 2.0 tools are. The obvious ones. And I agree. We should be using these tools. But how? Standing up in front of a bunch of editors and saying “Twitter,” like it’s completely self-explanatory, is just going to leave them confused, especially if they’ve never heard of it.

So how are you using Twitter for work? I searched Twitter for the word “magazine,” and here’s some of what I found. Vermont Business Magazine has tweets that seem to link to news stories on its site. No chit chat. Just the facts. So here, Twitter seems to serve as an RSS feed for site content.

Punchline Magazine has a Twitter account that’s a lot more chatty, like a personal Twitter. It also links back to site content, including video interviews. Punchline has 75 followers on Twitter, and the interaction with the editor(s) is really good. Having a lot of loyal followers who like to talk seem to make or break a magazine’s Twitter. Otherwise, you’re just talking to yourself. Only thing – who’s tweets are these? What’s your name, Punchline tweeter?

I thought this was really cool – Craft magazine uses Twitter as a repository for How To tips. This seems perfect for Twitter. I get a quick list of story headlines (HOW TO – Recycle Old Crayons) delivered to me, and I decide which are interesting enough to click. And these aren’t all full-blown articles. Some are quick blog posts.

Are you using a Twitter feed on your site or linking to a magazine Twitter page? What’s the theory behind yours? Letting readers get to know you a little better? Promote good content? Just messing around?

Written by tradepressed

August 7th, 2008 at 9:17 pm

Posted in Web,Writing

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