Attract, retain, monetise: The three essential steps to successful digital publishing

Monetisation ()

So, how does it work? Here’s the ‘attract’ stage of our process.

Our teams try to get a holistic perspective on the audience they’ll be writing for. We start by building personas; that is: a precise description of a specified audience group, with a name and a photo. We try to fully understand why, how and what for they will use our content. By content we mean evergreen content that’s valid for a very long time, because that’s an essential tool of our ‘attract’ stage. And personas define the tone of the content. Why? Because an evergreen for a young marketing manager is very different from the same evergreen written for a marketing vice president. Not only the tone will be different, the format will change, too. Every persona has their own preferred channels, formats and topics.

We mostly write evergreens about topics that have been discovered based on data and analytics. First, we go to SEO tools like Searchmetrics to look for topics that have a high annual search volume and low competition scores. Google Trends will help us to add trend patterns. We then reconfirm the keywords by checking against Google Adwords to see the ad prices and environments. Once we’re confident that we’ve found a new topic we’ll build large universes with thousands of keywords.

Lastly we’ll create schedules, one for every weekday and one for the whole year. While the daily routine takes into account single keywords and smaller groups the yearly plan will focus on uber topics and many keywords.

That’s the essence of the ‘attract’ process to deliver constant, predictable and scalable audiences. Let’s now have a look at the ‘retain’ step.

Retain means: converting our evergreen readers to e-mail newsletters. We use tools like to install a welcome popup that shows up after two seconds on our evergreens, then launch a Sumome scrollbar that’s permanently on each post. Some of our teams also use for exit popups. These are linked with our automatised newsletters that are driven via RSS with links to the evergreen updates and to all new contents.

Once that’s done we’ll focus on converting emails to paid. This is the ‘monetise’ step of the funnel. For the monetisaton we use Magento as our e-commerce platform together with WordPress for the websites and the Salesforce Marketing Cloud for trigger campaigns via e-mail. We’ll offer free downloads and other engagement products to keep our readers happy. Paid items will follow later through the same methodology. In the near future we’ll launch triggered e-mail campaigns to send customers related products to the ones they’ve clicked on, remind them to purchase the items that are in their carts and send them notes to new relevant paid products. 

What about you?

Once the aforementioned attract-retain-monetise cycle works you will be able to calculate the website traffic each evergreen will generate, you will know how many uniques will convert to e-mail and you will see how many e-mails convert to paid after 12 months. That’s what we think digital publishing is about.

More like this

Four content marketing predictions for 2016

Five reasons to be optimistic about the future of media

Five reasons why evergreen content boosts reader revenues

Your first step to joining FIPP's global community of media leaders

Sign up to FIPP World x