The creation of digital media (which was conceptualized as early as 1950) caused a well-known and major revolution in the way we use and interact with journalism, education, publishing and many other industries. It is perhaps one of the best-known examples of disruptive innovation and completely changed the way media was viewed and consumed. However, while most people focus on the easy to distribute a digital form of online media, its low costs and a wide potential pool of readers, one of the main changes in our view of media is often overlooked. One of the major innovations that digital brought to media was to change printed articles from static expert pieces to a springboard for dialogue.
Digital media is about a decentralization of knowledge and space where readers can be active about the content they read. The days of passively reading a newspaper or magazine and then throwing it out are long gone. Today’s media is all about heated debates, reader talkbacks and strong opinions. Today, successful media is really media that gets a conversation going. In other words, the role of the reader and the understanding of readership has fundamentally morphed and changed since digital media was unleashed.
Digital readers care less than ever before about news sources and more than ever about the conversation. Now, brands have long ago cottoned on to the importance of user-generated content. The days of seeing and believing brand advertising are gone. Today’s millennials and Gen Z’s are more skeptical than ever before and would much rather read the thoughts and reviews of their peers than listen to a brand sing its own praises about products or services. The thing is, media has gone in a similar direction. And while we still need reliable news sources, their role has changed dramatically. Rather than being the be-all and end-all of news, they are now a catalyst for debate.
Great articles get shared on social media, tweeted, shouted about and even (if content publishers are very lucky) go viral. To do any of this, it is imperative that users have a space to air their opinions. It is not enough to have outstanding content. It is not enough to be unique. Great content producers must also nurture a safe environment for users to interact with news.
So how can you encourage readers to interact (because let’s face it you can’t force them). Great content is certainly the beginning. Finding the right niche for content is also incredibly important because the stories need to speak to the right people. There is no point writing an article about the Rio Olympics and only reaching a group of people who hate sport. There is no point posting about Pokemon Go if your target audience is high profile executives (although who knows, it seems like now everyone is playing).
Once you have the content and the target market sorted (and this is certainly not trivial) its time to invest in a high-quality and easy-to-use comments platform that enables users to create and share comments. People usually want to share their opinions, but they want to do it in a way that is straightforward and comfortable. And while media can easily be plastered across social media, this doesn’t necessarily give content an edge. Similarly, while every website development tool now has some sort of automatic comment section, this might not be your best bet. It is definitely worth doing some research on comment platforms and choosing something that stands out from the crowd. One great way to differentiate is to choose different types of media. While almost everyone seems to be sticking with text-based comments, there are a few pioneers trying out different things like video and voice.
Heyoya is a unique comment and reviews platform that brings voice to e-publishers and e-stores, improving sales and user engagement by allowing readers to express themselves beyond the medium of text. Heyoya’s new Receiver plan allows for quick and easy below-the-fold monetization. Heyoya is a game changer for websites and is proven to increase brand affinity and the quality of user-generated content.
For more information about Heyoya, click here.