Sydney Morning Herald, Age introduce “collections” for intuitive content navigation
Digital Strategies Blog | 30 January 2023
It’s been almost six months since we rolled out collections across The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age. It’s proven to be an effective and successful way of collating our content.
What are collections?
In essence, exactly that: This is an editorial tool that allows the newsroom to collect and package content in an organised manner. This ranges from articles to photo galleries to videos to bespoke interactives.
There are three use cases within our CMS for collections: magazines, investigations, and series.
The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age regularly publish multi-part investigations, and the collection feature allows them to be bundled and digested in chronological order. It lets the reader digest our initial investigation, then follow the developments and reactions as they unfold.
Collections can be shared as separate assets off-platform, while they can be housed as a single asset on the home page. This consolidates space and throws a spotlight on the collection’s special artwork.
The ability to package all the elements of our magazines, such as Good Weekend and Sunday Life, allow us not only to better showcase the product on the Web, but also build habits and increase engagement.
Collections enable us to provide extra context and better convey how stories relate to one another. Rather than each individual magazine story getting lost on separate index pages and only being associated by tags, collections lay out an entire edition’s stories in a reader-friendly order.
It’s similar to when we group related content on our home page and in a double-page spread in print to show the reader the link between stories.
Reinforcing the brand
Highlighting that week’s magazine cover as the header image is also a powerful way to reinforce brand recognition.
Once a story is marked as part of a collection, readers will be prompted to continue their experience by surfacing a widget of the collection at the end of the article. This is automatically generated when the story is added to the collection in the CMS.
They have been very useful for planned rollouts, such as our widely read series Wipeout, as editors are able to publish collections with placeholders for future content. After readers completed the first instalment and clicked on the collection, they could see that part two would go live on Tuesday morning and part three on Wednesday.
We are constantly developing the product, but since its inception, they’ve proved to be a successful addition to our online offering. More than one-third of our active subscribers engage with collections weekly and sessions that featured collections had a higher engagement time than those that don’t.