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What we’re reading: changing the e-news mindset, zero-click Google searches, cranky editors

I’ve been going down some rabbit holes this week. The statistics might be showing an increase in zero-click Google searches, but not at the NPN desk. Here are my key takeaways from articles around the web that I found most interesting this week.

What’s New in Publishing: How The Economist grows revenue by experimenting with the digital experience

What’s New in Publishing takes a look at how The Economist has doubled the amount of web traffic that it receives from its e-newsletters over the last 12 months. In short: it involved lots of small experimentation with redesigns and content changes. But mostly, a change in mindset. 

The Economist’s Newsletter Editor Sunnie Huang explains: “The primary goal of our newsletters isn’t to increase reach; that’s the job of our social media platforms. For newsletters, the primary goal is to deepen our relationship with current readers and help them get more value out of our journalism.” 

Key takeaway: This is a really interesting way to look at e-newsletters, particularly for publications that generate revenue largely from subscriptions rather than advertising. (The Economist reported 2019 annual revenue of £333 million (AU$604 million), or which 59 per cent was subscriptions and circulation). 

Seth Godin’s Blog: Sooner or later the shark gets jumped 

Godin has a crack at Google’s shift from a search engine based on public good to that of a corporation driven to please shareholders, and what that means for the rest of us. He references brilliant analysis from SEO expert Rand Fishkin that outlines that the majority of browser-based searches via resulted in zero clicks. 

Key takeaway: For me, the takeaway here is to focus on engagement and loyalty with your existing audience, including ways to reach them offline – via events, networking, etc. Although successful events require successful online marketing. Rand also suggests using your website’s HTML titles and meta-descriptions for ‘brand awareness’ rather than click through. 

In Publishing: The modern editor 

UK-based In Publishing has a cracker of an article on the ‘modern editor’ versus the ‘editors of old’ in newsrooms. The depiction of editors in the past as being feared, grumpy and largely unavailable made me smile. While the article says that these editors died out in the 1960s, I have found memories of living in fear of my first editor during the early 2000s. The article goes on to suggest that modern editors may be too available and relaxed with their teams. 

Key takeaway: Different leadership styles suit different individuals and different team dynamics, but I was certainly motivated to do the best work possible to impress my ‘editor of old’ when first starting out. The article ends with 10 key leadership takeaways specific to editorial leaders. 

Written by Lyndsie Clark

Niche Publishing Network Founder and Editor Lyndsie Clark has over 10 years of niche publishing experience, working in a variety of roles spanning B2B editorial, sales, operations, events, BD, and management.


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