There are enough predictions for 2023 out there, so I wanted to jump straight into the areas I’ll be deep diving into for the Product Initiative this year.
1. Using innovative content formats to meet diverse audience needs
Product has a role in supporting newsrooms to create different content formats that will attract and engage multiple audience segments.
For example, coming out of COVID, many of our readers are more aware — and critical of — the amount of time they are spending on screens. This awareness, combined with progress in headphone and smart device technology, means audio formats are becoming increasingly important to news organisations.
Many publishers are also focused on how to attract a Gen Z audience, a generation that is the first digital and social native generation — one that seems more comfortable on TikTok than using news products. How should media companies approach this? Which formats should they be focusing on? Who should lead the charge internally? And how do we evaluate success?
I’ll be delving into these topics with a particular focus on audio, video, and interactive formats, looking at how product and newsrooms can work in sync.
2. Personalisation: getting the right information to the right users at the time time in the right format
Most digital consumers don’t want to have to work to get to the information they want. They expect that digital products will show relevant content to them and their interests. This is complicated for news organisations that cover a wide array of topics to a diverse audience.
How can news organisations use personalisation tools to serve the right set of content and services to readers to maximise engagement? How do you determine how much investment to make in this area? And what are the trade-offs that have to be made? In addition to content personalisation, we will will look strategically at where news media organisations can personalise products to meet business objectives.
Building on the personalisation work we did last year (summarised in this report), I’ll be going further into how news media organisations are prioritising different elements of personalisation around the business.
3. Managing the product and technology partnership effectively
News organisations are rarely as up to date with technology as they want to be. There is usually a long “to do” list that prevents teams from working on new projects. Yet product’s job is to find new solutions to user problems, which means changing existing products or building new products.
How do you decide how much resource goes into “catching up” vs new development? And who manages this road map for resource and development? What are some of the workarounds product can use to accelerate product development without creating more tech debt or hiring more engineers?
I’ll be delving into the relations between product and technology, how news organisations prioritise work, how technology resources are allocated, and going back to the question of who really decides the product road map.
If any of these topics particularly resonate with you and you are open to share your experiences with me, please get in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org or book time directly with me at www.calendly.com/jodiehop.
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