Fresh Content: The Key Performance Indicator
In the subscription billing universe, stale content is the enemy. If left unattended, this enemy becomes a poison that leads to canceled subscriptions and a dwindling subscriber base. On the flip side, fresh, relevant content that draws readers’ attention and keeps them coming back for more is the nirvana that all periodical subscription websites aspire to.
Avoid the ‘Analysis Paralysis’ Trap
Any online business that’s not consistently applying a significant portion of its resources towards generating and managing fresh content is missing the boat. Too often, small businesses get caught in the analysis paralysis trap, meaning too much time is spent analyzing metrics from content that was created weeks ago. This is content that readers have long since left behind in their rear-view mirror.
How to Drive Content with Limited Resources
Granted, most small businesses have limited resources to generate fresh content. It is easy for any business to fall into the trap of relying completely on its own staff to continuously create this content. This is akin to sending a one-armed man into a fight. Why do it all when there is army of readers who can help? Tap into the insight, emotion and intellect of a subscriber base that’s ready, willing and able to contribute.
Have an Engaging Home Page
Most successful paid subscription sites feature a free section that is incorporated into the home page. Also typically featured is an interactive blog where readers can respond to articles and contribute ideas and exchanges — all of which continuously drives traffic! The home page should also include links to premium content that only subscribers can access.
Subscription Sites May Rule
For example, many newspaper sites highlight news and information about various current events. A number of articles are free, while others tease readers with only the first paragraph visible. Want to finish the story? Click on the subscription link, sign up and unlock the rest of the article. The KPI (or Key Performance Indicator) of these sites is how often content gets updated, which is directly proportional to subscriber retention rates.
As for exactly how often content needs to be updated, this will vary and depends quite a bit on how specialized the subject matter is. For a broad-based example that truly sets the bar, look no further than the Wall Street Journal’s online offering, WSJ.com. Content is updated every half-hour at minimum. Home pages are constantly refreshed with current picture offerings. Top stories are free, but the majority of articles require subscriptions.
When done right, the ongoing generation of fresh content is the key to a longstanding and successful relationship between a successful online business and its subscribers.