What’s the one thing that all successful media organizations have in common? They rely on their value propositions to stay on target and guide future innovations and improvements.
By constantly reassessing the “promises” or value being delivered to their target audience, they can remain relevant and further strengthen the niche they have created. From Christian Science Monitor, to Buzzfeed and New York Magazine just to name a few, I think the readings this week provide a clear snapshot of how various publications are successfully navigating today’s overcrowded media landscape by keeping their value propositions in mind.
In the Neiman Lab article we read, Pamela Wasserstein, New York Magazine’s CEO, specifically mentioned the publication’s value proposition in her answer regarding its membership program recently launched in November. The value proposition for the membership program itself ($9.99 per month) is that there’s a sense of community. Keeping this value of exclusivity to current members in the program is important for future growth — Wasserstein is cognizant of the fact that broadening the audience too quickly could diminish the overall value to loyal individuals by deviating from the program’s initial “promise.”
Wasserstein’s response and forward-thinking perspective on this question was very eye opening for me. It proves that as an entrepreneur and media innovator, every decision you make is intentional. I understand the importance of a clear, strong and unique value proposition, and I have a better grasp on the nature and growth that takes place in this space.
If we’re talking intentional publications, Buzzfeed’s 5 billion views per month are a testament to its unique strategies, according to this Fast Company article. Buzzfeed not only tailors content specifically for the distribution platform it is using (Whether that be Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat), but it “Aims to create something organic in each global market rather than simply translating an article into another language.”
This focus on organic content solidifies the lessons we learned last week about target audiences, specifically in “A Roadmap for Digital Media Startups: The New Business Models for News Toolkit.” While Buzzfeed remains committed to its overall target market, the publication understands the importance of targeting each niche audience differently in order to create the same impact. These international audiences are simply another user “persona” identified by the company.
Making intentional decisions allow publications to expand their brand, while still maintaining the integrity of their mission and values. Preparing to launch a new subscription program, the business news site Quartz is one great example of this. The website will remain free, but Quartz has decided to tap a new niche audience of global business professionals who want to learn the newest trends in artificial intelligence – This will help them remain relevant, while also providing them with an additional revenue source.
After transitioning strictly to web and a weekly print magazine, The Christian Science Monitor felt that driving traffic to its page would require them to act just like everyone else (through click-bait headlines etc.) In order to combat this, the publication made the intentional decision to set itself apart.
It found that a “counterintuitive and unorthodox” view of current events was lacking in the media, so it took action. By taking this into account and still maintaining the integrity of its value proposition, the Christian Science Monitor has started trialing a product that uses a moderated approach to let readers know “This is what we’re sharing and why.” It’s new, it’s different, and only time will tell how successful this will be. If it catches on, this will be something that the Christian Science Monitor can add to its unique value.
Legacy news publications like the New York Times are also feeling this pressure to transition to digital, expand its brand and stay relevant in the industry. According to the Times’ newest report, the newspaper will be reducing the number of editors and increasing its use of visual journalism (to keep up with completely digital publications). Within all of these changes the NYT will still continue “its commitment to a subscriber-based revenue model,” which preserves the publication’s credible and transparent reputation.