How newspaper brands can benefit from taxonomy
The newspaper publisher Rupert Murdoch said last year that online publishing is the future, so newspapers worldwide have stepped up their efforts to analyse reader profiles, brand attachment, and how groups with common interests can be commercially developed with additional relevant services, according to Jeremy Bentley, CEO for classification systems provider APR Smartlogik.
By way of example, Bentley says, online directory publishers have already been through this process and provide an important example for newspapers that are currently going through the same transformation. They provide a roadmap for the future of newspaper-consumer brand connections.
Directories have extremely simple transactions: someone wants to find a supplier of a particular service in a particular location. But for an online directory to be truly effective, more detail is needed if advertisers' ROI is to be maintained and improved. They have therefore been investing in taxonomy (categorisation system) development to provide users with a more in-depth ability to search beyond the broad categories made familiar by directories such as the Yellow Pages. This extra "findability" is possible by building a categorisation system that translates between interchangeable, synonymous terms, and that can categorise new material automatically, and automatically incorporate and develop new terms and connections based on enquirers' behaviour.
Brand power One or two leading newspapers have already been hard at work to allow these groups of people with common interests to interact with one another. Anyone who underestimates the power of a newspaper's brand is misguided, Bentley says. The affinity that readers feel with 'their' newspaper is exceptionally strong. People often define themselves in terms of the newspaper they read. Certainly, they usually feel that fellow readers are also likely to be like-minded, and people that they would most likely want to interact with.
Creating these communities under a newspaper's brand umbrella invokes a virtuous circle. Readers get more of what they are interested in, from a content-creating organisation whose output and style they enjoy. Newspapers replace mass advertising revenue with niche advertising revenue, plus a host of premium service micro-payments from the readers themselves. And advertisers achieve highly targeted media reach, eliminating the wastage of mass advertising.
Advertiser connection According to Bentley, good online taxonomy can boost the connection between a newspaper's advertisers and users of its web site. No one person uses exactly the same vocabulary, and so translation services are needed to connect people to content - and advertisers.
A wealth of content is produced every day, all of which needs to be automatically categorised, and to do so manually would simply be uneconomical. When Murdoch said the future of the newspaper is online, Bentley believes the winners in the game will be those whose richness, usefulness and findability of online content grows with its readers.