Websites are now encountering a situation that print and broadcasting have had to deal with for years.  The balance of editorial and advertising.

You need enough advertising to be economically viable.  To get that, you need enough traffic to generate that advertising.  To get the traffic, you need editorial that has enough value that eyes will be attracted.

On the web, this has prompted the development of click bait (Amazing Facts!!!), listicles (10 Places with Crazy Laws), eye candy (Miss Bikini Contest Shocker)… anything to attract eyes to sites to be able to collect income from visits to sites.  But the editorial of this kind of editorial is very fleeting.  You click though and the site gets the benefit of your visit but there aren’t any reasons to come back again.

Print and direct mail have gone through this.  Some direct mail has nothing editorial to offer except price offers and deals.  It might get a cursory look or it might get trashed. There are those who feel that delivering the offer into the right hands is the end of the story.  This is the “if you build it, they will come” school.  Bad news is they won’t.

This approach gets lower response rates than engaging the reader and involving them in the message.  Involvement can not only make the sale today when there is an offer, but also builds some brand equity for sales in the future.

When we review magazines for their advertising potential we look carefully at the ad to editorial ratio.  If it is all advertising, there is little reason for the readers to go through the periodical.  Readers look to find out What’s In It For Me. The value of the editorial adds value to the advertising.

Without meaningful editorial content why would anyone come back without new prompting?  That means sites live and die by the support they get to build traffic.  They won’t intrinsically build their traffic.  The larger sites don’t need the constant allures to generate traffic.

We always look for a long term character we can build for a brand, a character that will engage customers and create some loyalty.

On TV, the infomercials rarely get very high ratings. They don’t need high ratings to make a few sales, but for normal advertisers there is no desire to place your spot in an infomercial.

The same is true for digital. You need eyeballs, for sure, but you want to get your exposure in an environment where people are engaged and interested.

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