Tuning content to reader frequency

Most of websites and especially news or magazine types of sites have their own rhythm in updating their content. In general these sites are updated daily. Some only have minor updates on a daily basis and release major feature articles ones a week.

This behavior mandates readers to follow the same rhythm to keep up to date with the content. But with growth of the internet and the huge increases in available content this is impossible to keep up. Even narrowing down the number of sites and content with highest interest the reader cannot keep up.

This poses a real problem for these sites. To attract regular visitors and create the most ad value a loyal readership is important. For this reason website should better adapt themselves to the interest of the individual reader. On how to do this let us take a look at traditional media.

Traditional media come almost exclusively in three flavors:

1. daily media – newspapers
2. weekly media – low cost magazines
3. monhly media – high cost magazines

There are good reasons why publishers have chosen these rhythms. In the end it is about maximizing revenue. But these rhythm are not one size fits all. It is a tradeoff between reach and content.

The advantage of online media is that they can adapt their content to the individual reader. A monthly reader can get the feature articles and an overview of the news of last month. A weekly reader can get a feature article, the most important news articles and an overview of the news. The daily reader gets the items as they are released.

The situation today is that most online media only cater for the daily or maybe the bi-daily reader. All other readers need to plow their way through more content they would like. Therefor the attractiveness of these media is lower than it can be. The potential of gaining more — although less frequent but maybe more valuable — readers is there. There is an opportunity for online media to improve on this. Especially for professional run media this should not be a big challenge to implement. And for non-professional media there is a business opportunity for others to make those digests through cross-licensing deals with these sites.