OK, let’s be clear about one thing: In media business, content is king. Everything else? Well, that’s a new revenue opportunity. This is a story about one media company branching out into the digital world by developing and marketing its own CMS (content management system), responsive Web sites, and apps.
If content is king, than entire business should be aligned to ensure seamless content delivery to readers. What does that mean? It means that you need to establish simple yet solid infrastructure and processes that guides staff’s content to the market.
The problem here is finding a good CMS that helps facilitate that. Sure, there are some great solutions for soccer moms blogging about their muffin recipes and products that are too complex for their own good. But that’s not what you need in the newsroom.
That is your new revenue opportunity. So ...
Define the problem: Lack of great CMS solutions for media companies available on the market.
Define the need: Intuitive user-centered interface for non-tech-savvy content creators.
Assemble a team: Editors, developers, UX designers.
Create the product.
The beautiful part is by solving your own problem, you create a market-ready product that other publishers also need. And that’s how the Styria CMS system was created.
We didn’t start developing CMS on our own with the idea of monetisation in mind. Core business is still core business and solving problem at hand should drive the change. The project originally started as a solution for news portal 24sata.hr. But as it progressed, we realised that CMS could be adjusted to fit other portals in the Styria group.
With each new adaptation, the end product was upgraded and became more and more universal. In time, we saw that CMS developed into modular product that can hold its own on the market.
When you decide that product has potential to be offered outside of company, you need to find a unique angle. In the case of Styria CMS, our core advantage is acces to leading regional content creators that constantly work with our development team in order to advance the product.
That synergy lead to the development of myriad distinct features like:
- Traffic eco system of widgets and tools designed to increase traffic within the portal network.
- Multi-site and multi-platform management that allows journalists to share content easily.
- Reader behaviour analytics that help editors make better content related decisions.
It’s a good idea to test and pilot products internally on a smaller scale before going to the market. Our challenge was to design interface with (almost) no learning curve, since a big portion of our content creators aren’t tech-savy. It took a good amount of work to perfect modular user friendly interface that is simple enough, but provides journalists with much needed flexibility (multi-media integration, lists, etc.).
Always monitor and measure results. They show if you are on the right track and help down the line to market a product successfully. Never shy away from numbers. They are case studies that give future clients the reason to buy, and they were one of the main reasons why Styria CMS became a proprietary export product sold on six European markets.
But, that isn’t the key.
Corporate culture is crucial. To succeed in the new revenue game, you need to nourish and cultivate an innovation-oriented climate in the company.
Early on, Styria set tech and innovation as a strategic imperative. That vision lead us to establish digital team that aimed to push the envelope in every project. The results of effort: an award-winning 24sata.hr Web site, ranked twice among top five designed Web sites (next to the likes of The Guardian).
In time, the team turned into full-fledged company, Styria Digital Services. The company kept the same focus and developed a series of Web sites based on responsive design, smartphone apps, and CMS. The base of all listed items that solved our problems became products that we offered in the market to solve problems of other publishers.
Are we worried about losing our competitive advantage? No. In media business, content is king, after all. Everything else? Well, that’s your new revenue opportunity.