New Media Marketing Challenged by Digital
New media marketing is making newspaper marketers scratch their head. But why is it so difficult to understand how Internet surfers use the Web for news and information?
While searching through my Google News page this morning, I clicked on “mobile Internet devices” and an interesting article on Cloud Computing getting clobbered by regulators popped up. Here’s the Google listing:
Google’s search engine has placed a DallasNews.com article link at the top of a search ready for media consumption. You’d think the Dallas News’ media marketing management would do cartwheels. Out of all the articles published today on cloud computing, the online version of its paper gets the top spot in organic search, the desire of every online publisher.
Then disaster strikes. After clicking on the Google link, I see:
The Dallas News tempts me with a great opening and ends with “…but.” My reader satisfaction with the paper drops 20%. I need “subscriber content access” to read the story. Its online newspaper articles, even those referred by search engines, aren’t available except for subscribers.
Instead of signing in, since I’m not a subscriber, I click on “view subscriber benefits” and voila!:
The Dallas News has an iPhone and iPad app. Now I’m excited. The paper understands new media marketing…until I become confused reading about becoming a “registered user” vs. a “news subscriber.” What the heck, I click on “Activate.”
Hold the press. Now I read: “If you are not a newspaper subscriber, sign in or create a DallasNews.com member account through the member sign in box or by registering. I click on “member registration.”
Hmm. This online publisher now wants me to provide all “member” details and I’m not even a subscriber. How did I get to this page? Why would the Dallas News not stop me cold like on Farmville: “Whoa, farmer, you haven’t planted enough beans yet.”
Requested information is also curious. The paper needs my phone number to link online membership to “subscriber content” should I decide to become a subscriber to The Dallas Morning News. Huh? I thought only subscribers get access to online content. The copywriter needs a course in new media marketing.
I also must reveal my birth year and gender so the paper can “…better understand our audience and to be in compliance with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)…Your privacy is important to us. We will not share your information with third-parties.” Now I’m convinced the paper borrowed Facebook’s privacy page.
What the heck. I fill out the form, click “submit.” Hurrah, I now have “full access” to online content. I had to read fast, though, because the web page re-directed to…you guessed it…the subscription page:
But, I shouldn’t worry because an email from The Dallas Morning News tells me all the wonderful stuff I can read and do online:
Thank you for registering at dallasnews.com. You now have instant access to local news and information, including entertainment features and sports updates, breaking-news video and award-winning multimedia presentations. We want to continue the conversation online, so please join us on one of our many blogs or in our community forums.
Heck, I’m feeling great. These folks really understand new media marketing. I immediately login to read the cloud computing article. Remember, the one listed on Google?
Zap! Despite logging in with my credentials, finding the cloud computing article, I’m back to square one.
However, the paper allows me to comment, yes comment, on an article I can’t read. So I comment:
Internet Age Changes Reader Expectations
Unlike the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and other online newspapers that permit reading search engine directed traffic, The Dallas Morning News makes potential readers and subscribers run through a rat maze.
People who search for Web content today would never have gone through the steps I just did to read a single article. They would have moved on to other sites in the first ten seconds.
While newspapers must gain online subscribers to handle the declining number of paid print customers, they must continually remind themselves of their role in the new media ecosystem. Allowing access to some online content–and making sure first-time Web visitors have a great experience–is critical to all online publishers.
In fairness to the paper, DallasNews.com has mobilized its website (http://m.dallasnews.com). Now the newspaper must streamline first visitor experiences. Otherwise, the online versions of newspapers and other publications will not save those responsible for print media marketing.