Promotion – Self and Otherwise – Must Accompany Good Content

Back in May, I discovered that The New York Times in-house report on their digital prowess—or more their lack thereof—had been leaked. When I quickly read the 96-page report, I salivated at the frank analysis and actionable responses it contained. The size of the entity did not matter; the examples and advice resonated for all publishers.

Of course, I wrote about it, once in May in an unusually long piece for this space, and then once in June. So I was a bit surprised to see last week on the SIPA Listserv a post about the new discovery of the Times report and that SIPA publishers should take notice.

It got me thinking. Just writing a good story is not enough these days. There is so much noise to get through that unless you shout, tweet, friend, circle, link, and more, people may not notice. And then I recalled Chapter 2 of the Times report, titled, you guessed it, Promotion.

It begins: “At The Times, we generally like to let our work speak for itself. We’re not ones to brag. Our competitors have no such qualms, and many are doing a better job of getting their journalism in front of new readers through aggressive story promotion. They regard this as a core function of reporters and editors, and they react with amazement that the same is not true here.”

Here are 7 pieces of promotional advice that the Times report offers to publishers (and me):

1. Most successful publishers believe that journalists should be their own promoters and encouraged to engage on social media. For example, Dan Colarusso, executive editor of Reuters Digital, said, “All web editors engage on social and are also tasked with identifying related communities and seeding their content.” Some places make it a bit of a competition. I can see that—when our Web guy releases analytics here, I’m anxious to see how I rank and it makes me want to do better.

2 “Create an ‘impact tool-box’ and train an editor on each desk to use it. The toolbox would provide strategy, tactics and templates for increasing the reach of an article before and after it’s published. Over time, the editor could teach others.” The report said that these skills can be taught; ironically, the Times reporters who do it best learned from their book publishers.

3 Your promotion effort needs a leader, data and tools at their disposal. The Times experimented with a cross-departmental team to try to promote the magazine and failed without these things.

4. Whoever is handling social media for you needs to be integrated with your content creators. Having a data expert in there as well would help. “When we figured out the Facebook algorithm and that Facebook mattered more than Twitter, traffic exploded,” said Jacob Weisberg of Slate.

5. Discussions should take place before a story is published. At The Huffington Post, a story cannot be published without a photo, a search headline, a tweet and a Facebook post. Said one top Times editor: “I don’t feel like we sit down when we have a big project, a big story, and say, ‘How do we roll this out?’” Said another: “It would require an entirely different way of thinking. It would be about saying, ‘This is what is running on Sunday.’”

6. Focus more attention on the behind-the-scenes process of optimization. The Times simply added structured data, for example, and it immediately increased traffic to their food recipes from search engines by 52%.

7. Use social more for audience development than as a reporting tool. The Times found that most competitors use social as a hotbed of experimentation because platforms and user behavior change so quickly.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Information Industry Network – Summer Drinks Reception for B2B Information, Media and Publishing Professionals – London

The great thing about the B2B content industry is that the market dynamics is ever-changing – whether it is the development of new business model, the continual proliferation of free content, consolidation and convergence – where players become more multi-faceted, delivering outputs on multiple platforms.IIN AUG DRINKS

In addition, organisations are grappling with the challenges of how to engage better with their customers and prospects, and are chewing over issues such as what content delivery systems should be used, how to use data better for decision-making and much more.

With such a rapidly changing environment, the need to share experiences with others is always welcomed. One of the best ways to share and connect with each other is to do so with a cool refreshing, ‘relaxing’ drink or two.  The Information Industry Network is, therefore, hosting a Summer Drinks Reception on Thursday, 21st August, to facilitate B2B information, media and publishingEXCHANGE professionals in catching up with industry friends, colleagues  and acquaintances, and to strike up new business relationships – all in a delightful venue – The Minster  Exchange.   The evening will also give us a chance to inform attendees of what the Information Industry  Network (IIN) is all  about.

We open the doors to the evening’s activities at 6pm and will go on till late (Minster Exchange closes at  midnight), with the opening welcome talk and introduction scheduled for 6.20pm. Light snacks will be  provided, and guests will be given vouchers for a set number of complementary drinks.

The Minster Exchange is ideally situated in the centre of London, near Fenchurch Street, with closest underground stations being Monument or Tower Hill, and nearest overground railway station being London Fenchurch Street. For venue details click HERE

The IIN Summer Drinks Reception is for professionals working within B2B information, media or publishing organisations (entry is free for those who meet the criteria). If you are a supplier to the industry (and not a member of SIIA – which incorporates IIN, SIPA and ABM), then there is a charge of £100.00 (+ vat) to attend.

Attendance is by registration-only.  To receive registration details, please email either:IIN Logo

Patrick Angell, Executive Director, Information Industry Network: , or

Naomi Hoad, Event Coordinator, Information Industry Network:


Event Details:

Information Industry Network – Summer Drinks Reception


Thursday, 21st August, 2014 


Minster Exchange, Minster Court, Mincing Lane, EC3R 7PP

The venue is ideally situated in the centre of London, near Fenchurch Street, with closest underground stations being Monument or Tower Hill; and nearest national rail station being London Fenchurch Street.


6pm – late (opening welcome and introductions – 6.20pm)


  • Professionals from B2B information, media and publishing organisations  - FREE
  • Vendors/suppliers who are SIIA, IIN, SIPA, ABM members – FREE
  • Vendors/suppliers who are not members of SIIA, IIN, SIPA, ABM – £100.00 (+vat) per person

Dress Code:



Patrick AngellPatrick Angell is the Executive Director of the Information Industry Network. SIIA’s European division for  publishing, information and media organisations across Europe. The Information Industry Network aims to assist  members understand current issues facing them via conferences, seminars, and online events, we also assist in  helping them share experiences, build business relationships and connect with others across Europe and cross- Atlantic. Follow us on @iin_europe and visit our LinkedIn group



‘Test, Analyse Your Data and Constantly Evolve’

“Testing is fundamental to what we do,” Carola York, managing director of Jellyfish Publishing, told me a couple weeks ago. “Our mantra is test, analyse and refine. [We] test every single kind of thing—different landing pages, copy on buttons, color on call to action. Every single thing we do. We got them [to our site]; we want them to stay there.”

Doesn’t it take time to test, I asked. “That’s what we get paid for,” York responded.

On Monday it was reported that an A/B testing company in the United States called Leanplum Inc. received an investment of $4.8 million from Shasta Ventures. So York is right; testing has become big business. Leanplum has a “team loaded mostly with engineers” and much of this money will go towards marketing.

But I think that just underlines testing’s value. It still can and should be done on a smaller level, but—and this is a big but—testing does require pre-thought and follow-through to be most effective. Here are two recent examples.

At the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, Hildegunn Soldal, digital editor at their DB Medialab, said constant innovation is key. She espouses three core elements: quality content, monetizing that content, and development and design. Quoted in the World News Publishing Focus, she said, “…we have to know where we are going in this mobile world if we really want to succeed. The days of launching a product, letting it just sit there and then moving on to another product are over. Everything needs to be evaluated, developed and refined …constantly.”

Last spring, they fretted when their own mobile traffic stagnated. The staff looked at the situation to decide how to test to see what the problem was. “They changed the mobile home page design a number of times, testing it with traffic figures. Nothing changed. Then they gave the home page the same design as its tablet counterpart. That actually caused a drop in traffic,” the article reported.

“We thought, ‘OK, we have reached a peak here, this is good as it gets,’” she said. Turns out it was the download time of the mobile home page with that tablet design that took too long to load. “So they focused on the speed issue, simplified the design, and traffic jumped significantly.”

“You have to test, test, test, analyze your data and constantly evolve and innovate your offer, especially on mobile,” Soldal said.

Here’s an example that you can get something wrong in testing and still get it right. Jake Peterson from, writing on the KISSmetrics site, told how they “created two variations of the signup button text. The control version read ‘Get Started,’ and the variation [they used] was ‘Create Free Account.’”

Create Free Account beat Get Started with a 21% increase in conversions. But then they went further into analytics to reveal that “the visitors who clicked Create Free Account were less likely to complete the signup form. Furthermore, the Create Free Account clickers were also less likely to sign up for any paid plan. While the Get Started people were “much more likely to sign up for paid accounts.”

This goes along with advice I’ve heard from people recently—know before you start out what you’re testing for. If the key metric is people buying, then that’s how you set it up. Or as Peterson writes, “Be especially wary of optimizing for a single click or action. Remember, a single click usually does not provide direct value to your business. Long-term gains are always more important than short-term conversion wins.”

At the end, he emphasizes that you must monitor closely the effect of each test variation all the way through and come back to it in a few months to see where the users have proceeded to.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Top Execs from Google, Penton & Randall-Reilly to Keynote Conference on Integration of Information and Media Industries – November 10-12 in Miami

BIMS BannerSIIA today announced that top digital content and B2B media executives from Google, Penton, Bloomberg and other industry-leading companies will speak at the Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS).  This new conference will focus on the continuing transformation of the information and media industries. BIMS will take place November 10-12 in Miami, Fla., and will address the four markets that are dramatically impacting the B2B media landscape: big data, marketing, digital media and advertising.

As the lines which once separated big data, marketing, digital media and advertising fade away, the Business Information & Media Summit will gather industry leaders to address challenges and opportunities in an increasingly integrated marketplace. Reflecting this, the conference will feature keynotes from:

Arundel_PatriciaUsing her expertise developing strategies that enable Fortune 500 companies to innovate across mobility, productivity and social computing, Arundel will discuss “How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Digital Age.” As high-tech enterprises max out the value of globalization and low-cost outsourced labor, her presentation will identify new ways to achieve competitive advantage in consumer and business markets.

Kieselstein_DavidKieselstein’s keynote will draw on his experience leading the largest privately held business information services company in North America.  Kieselstein has driven a rapid transformation of Penton and with it a rapid increase in revenues and profitability by executing on a three-pronged strategy driving innovation and growth.

As president of Randall-Reilly, Reilly has made several strategic changes to help the firm complete its transformation into a top marketing services company which provides insights into specific market segments and then engages those audiences through targeted platforms. Reilly’s industry experience reflects the diversity of the Business & Information Media Summit, as he formerly served as vice president of marketing for the company and general manager of operations for Randall-Reilly’s Events.

These keynote speakers will join a roster of other senior executives who will speak at the Business Information & Media Summit:

  • Robert Passarella Business Manager for Event Driven News Feeds, Bloomberg L.P.
  • Keith White Executive Vice President & Managing Director, CQ-Roll Call Group
  • John Nicodemo Global Leader of Worldwide Data & Predictive Insights, Dun & Bradstreet (D&B)
  • Mark Howard Chief Revenue Officer, Forbes
  • Guy Cecala Chief Executive Officer, Inside Mortgage Finance
  • Wilma Jordan Founder & Chief Executive Officer, The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc. (JEGI)
  • Bruce Brownson Founder & Chief Executive Officer, KnowWho
  • Josh Green Chief Executive Officer, Panjiva
  • Richard Belanger Chief Information Officer, ProQuest
  • Jay Hallberg Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Spiceworks
  • Kreg Peeler Founder & Chief Executive Officer, SpinGo
  • Adam Singolda Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Taboola

BIMS combines three former conferences – the Specialized Information Publishers Association’s Marketing Conference, the American Business Media’s Executive Forum, and InfoCommerce Group’s DataContent Conference – into one comprehensive event that examines the trends of the changing B2B media industry.

WHO:           The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)

WHAT:         SIIA’s Business Information & Media Summit 2014 #BIMS14

WHEN:         November 10-12, 2014

WHERE:       The Fontainebleau, Miami, FL

For a complete schedule of events, visit: Updates in advance of the event are available using the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #BIMS14.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Congress Oks Bill to Legalize Cell Phone Unlocking (PC Mag)
Congress approved the Unlocking Consumer Choice and Wireless Competition Act, a bill that, if signed by President Obama, would reverse the Library of Congress’s decision two years ago that made cell phone unlocking illegal.

DOJ to Congress: Make Online Streaming a Felony (The Hill)
The Department of Justice is pushing Congress to increase the penalties for streaming copyright-infringing content online, so that online streaming of pirated content should receive the same consequences as illegal downloading.

House Returns to Patents (The HIll)
The House Judiciary subcommittee on intellectual property will hold a hearing this week on the state of the Patent and Trademark Office. The hearing comes after a concerted push from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte to reform the country’s patent system.

Infringement To Go: Pirate Bay Goes Mobile (Ars Technica)
The Pirate Bay has now debuted a new mobile service at, which will eventually have such features as personal RSS feeds so users can browse torrents on the go, and start the downloads at home.

UK Police Start Replacing Ads on Copyright Infringement Sites With Warnings(GigaOM)
Under a UK police initiative called Operation Creative, the police will now start replacing ads on copyright-infringing websites with official police banners that warn users that hte site is under investigation.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

New Markey-Hatch Federal Student Privacy Legislation is Unnecessary

SIIA today issued a press release on the introduction of the “Protecting Student Privacy Act” by Sens. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Orin Hatch (R-Utah).

The current framework of robust federal regulations, industry best practices and binding contracts provides strong student privacy protections.  With these three layers of protection, we can give students access to revolutionary learning technology while ensuring that their information is used only for educational purposes. New federal student privacy legislation is not needed at this time.

The Markey-Hatch legislation is well-intended, but it contains provisions, such as a prohibition against the use of student information for targeted advertising, that already exist in current law and regulation. Other provisions, such as those related to data destruction, might not be workable in practice.

We share the privacy protection goals of Senators Markey and Hatch, but it’s critical to ensure that any new rules do not inadvertently create obstacles to the effective use of information. Innovative education technology is essential to improving education for all students and to ensuring U.S. economic strength in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

Should the Right to be Forgotten be Secret and Global?

Implementing the right to be forgotten was never going to be easy as earlier blogs in this series have pointed out.  But recent press reports show how tricking this implementing is going to be, revealing suggestions that search engines should take down the links globally and keep their actions secret.  Both of these ideas would be missteps.

The secrecy suggestion seems backed by common sense logic – it is self-defeating for search engines to announce to the world that they have taken down the links to stories that should be forgotten.  But that is not the concern, since search engines aren’t making such public announcements.  Rather they are informing the third-party publishers that a link to their content has been deleted from search results.  So the problem seems to be that if affected parties know that a link has been deleted they might object and this objection would direct attention to the topic that was to have been forgotten.

There is clearly room for debate on what the right policy is here.  Any added discussion of the take downs creates an added risk of creating exactly the kind of exposure the right to be forgotten is intended to avoid. But secrecy seems to be the wrong answer.  In fact, if search engines kept their deletions secret they would have faced accusations of lack of transparency! Publishers clearly have an interest in knowing that links to their content will no longer appear in certain search results.  For one thing it provides a check on the search engines getting it wrong, as apparently they did in the early days of implementing the take down program. And as long as the rest of the world isn’t simultaneously informed of the takedowns this seems a balanced approach.

The other concern seems to be that the new right to be forgotten will not be effective if the takedowns are purely local.  Why should people outside the EU be allowed to get search results that people inside the EU cannot get? So, the argument goes, search engines should delete links globally when they decide that they should be deleted under EU privacy law.

This is the wrong direction.  It improperly extends EU privacy law to the world. The impulse to limit information globally is understandable, but unworkable. We know this from other examples. For instance, it is easy to understand why Turkey objects to videos that denigrate the Turkish nation and would like to make sure that they are not shown anywhere in the world. But it goes too far to extend Turkish rules on hate speech to the entire world.  A reasonable compromise is to comply with Turkish law with respect to videos shown in Turkey.

This is the balance struck in many other areas of cross-border electronic commerce. Internet gambling rules are locally, not globally, enforced. British law permits and regulates Internet gambling, while US law prohibits it.  It would be an easy matter to structure US law so that global payment systems blocked all Internet gambling transactions. Bu that is not what US law does.  It provides for local enforcement. People in Britain can go on the Internet to gamble, while people in the US face restrictions, including restrictions on using payment cards at Internet gambling sites.  Examples are not hard to multiply – alcohol ads, for example, are not allowed in Saudi Arabia, but are permitted on websites available in other countries.

There is certainly nothing in the right to be forgotten decision that compels search engines to delete search results globally.  Moreover, earlier cases under EU law show a conscious desire to avoid the extraterritorial application of European privacy law. In the 2003 Bodil Lindquist case, for instance, the European Court of Justice rejected the idea that posting material on an EU website amounted to a transfer of data to other countries. It made this judgment precisely to avoid the implication that the entire Internet would be subject to EU jurisdiction.

Each country is entitled to its own privacy laws, Europe no less than the United States.  We should seek to make them sufficiently compatible at the edges so as to allow data transfers.  But simply extending European jurisdiction to the globe is the wrong way to go.

Mark MacCarthy, Vice President, Public Policy at SIIA, directs SIIA’s public policy initiatives in the areas of intellectual property enforcement, information privacy, cybersecurity, cloud computing and the promotion of educational technology.

Curated By Logo