How IDG approaches editorial strategy
“Our mission is to identify high-value individual audiences within a larger tech community,” Gallant explained. “We don’t take a one-size-fits-all approach to technology. Our goal is to target content to specific audiences that are valuable from the marketing and the business side.”
Above: John Gallant
Each of IDG’s specific audiences, whether they be CIOs, Mac or Android enthusiasts, or senior IT managers, are served not only by a single title, but a consortium of titles the company produces. Gallant and his team use a rich set of analytics including Omniture, Parse.ly, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, to gain insight on their various segments of audiences. Through this data accumulation, they obtain a strong sense of what individuals are interested in, what they’re consuming, even what’s trending on social media.
“We do a lot of research across our audiences,” Gallant said. For example, they do surveys with their CIO audience, their network audience, and their security audience. They also do multiple events each year, which allow them to sit and hear from people, in a candid, discursive way. Gallant pointed out he has moderated roundtables over the last year that give him insight into what those audiences are concerned about and what the company should be focusing their attention on in the future, he said.
Gallant sees IDG’s audiences both as professionals, but also consumers. As professionals, “they’re trying to make sure they’re conversant and ahead of the conversation with their employees about what are the best things to use in a work environment,” he explained. “But, they’re also on the enterprise sites, they’re looking at that information because they’re also consumers.”
IDG’s audiences are multi-faceted. There are a lot of moments in people’s lives when they look at things from different perspectives, he explained. As a professional, they may want to know why another CIO has made the decision to implement a specific technology. As a consumer, they may want to see a review of a new Android phone because they’re thinking it’s time to switch out their phone.
Gallant explained they want to look at the totality of individual audience members’ roles. “We have committed the resources to make sure that person, who may have many of those moments throughout the day, is served,” he said.
IDG’s audiences are concerned about security, across the enterprise sites aimed at the consumers and across the professional sites aimed at CIOs and the like. “Whether they’re concerned as a consumer about the Yahoo! data breach, or whether you’re a CSO or a CIO who is concerned about risk and the risk profile of your company or attacks on your company, and what are the latest technologies to prevent those attacks, that’s a concern that cuts across those audiences.”
Gallant outlined that IDG’s editorial strategy involves keeping their audience up-to-date with newsletters before they start their days. “All of our brands have either one or two-day newsletter that are focused on what they need to know to start their days,” he said. “And in many cases, to end your day as well. We know a lot of people are starting very early in the morning to consume that information, to make sure they’re up to speed.”
The strategy is central to IDG’s company vision (to bring together buyers and sellers of technology), because it brings in high-value audiences, which drive the business, Gallant said. “In addition, what we’ve seen of late is that editorial is actually enhancing the business strategy.”
People are surrounded by a vast array of technology every day, according to Peter Longo, CEO, US Media at IDG. And, a vast array of decisions they have to make about purchases, which makes them crave information to make those decisions correctly, he added.
“If we understand what a person’s interests are, if we understand what products they’re likely to purchase over time, and we provide them information that will help them do that, we’ve seen that as a tremendous benefit and an opportunity to increase readership,” he said.
“So, we’ve put some buttons on there, like buy it now buttons, that allow readers to go directly from the buying advice, to the actual transaction,” Longo said. “And we see that as a reader service. It enhances the experience for our readers.
In this sense, IDG has tapped into the relationships people have with technology. As part of their business strategy, they’ve increased their focus around purchase intent and introduced ecommerce to their websites.
For example, on their consumer sites, under the review of a product, there is additional information letting readers know where they can acquire products, when they’re available and pricing.
Editorial content is also tagged, regarding where in the information is useful in the overall buying process, which gives IDG data on where audience members are in the buying process.
“If you start to look at your editorial and map it with data, and understand you readers are more rapidly moving towards the articles that help them make purchasing decisions, then you cane duplicate that process over time,” he said. “And I don’t think enough publishers are looking at the data from their readers as being reflective of what their interests are and what we should be publishing in the future.”
“Understanding the relationship between your readers and your content in a much deeper way helps you understand what you should be doing in the future,” he said. “And certainly from a commerce perspective, any publisher covering an industry or category of products that can be purchased – everything from athletic gear, to health an beauty information – would be well-served by that.”
IDG is a member of FIPP.
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