Selecting content topics that are designed to do more than just bring in web visits and drive ad revenue is an effective way to get more out of written web content you’re paying for. Writing online content that moves beyond the capacity to bring in as many site visitors as possible is a lot like writing a speech. Granted it’s pleasant to fill as many seats as possible, but delivering the speech is intended to accomplish a secondary task like establish a relationship with the listener, sell a product, or even inspire someone to make life-changing decisions. If you’re a small or midsize business that hires writers to handle your web content, you can utilize your writing talent similarly to how speech writing services work by suggesting article topics with a secondary function.
For example, if you’re running a car dealership or a retail store, writers are great for creating articles that better explain your merchandise and help drive sales. Alternatively, your business can publish content that sparks an interest in your company with the intention of growing a frequently returning site visitor relationship, or getting visitors to follow you on social networks for news updates. Purpose-crafted content changes the return investment around so that spending a hypothetical $50 on web content isn’t reliant on making back more than $50 in ad-revenue to turn your business a profit. Instead, an article you paid $50 for that turns in negligible ad-revenue, but boosts product sales $500 is a much more reliable investment.
Things are looking up for the ad revenue side of dual-purpose content as the Interactive Advertising Bureau is reporting that quarterly online ad revenue was up 19 percent in 2014 over 2013. Online ad revenue continues to grow, reaching over $42 billion in 2013. The IAB reports that as far back as 2012 web page ad banners and display ads have accounted for around 20 percent of all ad revenue. It’s good news for all-around growth for SMBs on the web, but things aren’t necessarily looking great for straight online ad-based revenue with news content.
According to the Pew Research Center, Newspaper Online ad revenue more than doubled in a ten-year period from 2003 to 2012 starting at $1.2 billion and growing to $3.3 billion. While the growth rate is impressive, it’s extremely important to include the news format’s bread-and-butter ad revenue source: the print product itself. In 2003 newspapers made $44.9 billion in print ad revenue, which fell all the way down to $19.2 billion in 2012. The takeaway is that while online content ad revenue is rapidly growing, it has a long way to go before it replaces older media revenues.
Crafting dual-purpose content is writing smarter instead of harder for a lesser return. If you’re having trouble coming up with content ideas that are more than just news updates, think about what else your SMB wants to gain from this content and send it on to your writers.
Dan S is a former news journalist turned web developer and freelance writer. He has a penchant for all things tech and believes the person using the machine is the most important element.