What is a Digital Media Outlet?

By  (contrib. Web Heretics)
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A Digital Media Outlet is a type of destination site that focuses heavily on general interest content on one or more specific topics, is designed to attract large audiences, and utilizes a passive approach to commercial advertizing or site monetization. Digital Media Outlets differ from traditional, commercial websites in four areas:

·        Site Design

·        Content Distribution

·        Development Tools

·        Content Curation Tools

Site Design

Commercial websites tend to be designed specifically to convert bottom-funnel visitors (people who are already in the market for whatever kind of good or service a business happens to sell) into customers by convincing them to stop shopping and make a purchase. To this end, commercial websites emphasize page design, including flashy graphics, catchy messaging, built-in animations, and sophisticated pagination.

In contrast, media outlets are designed to deliver volumes of compelling content on a particular subject, or class of subjects. With media outlets, content is often the “product,” and the site makes money via indirect methods, such as affiliate programs or selling advertising space on its pages. With digital media outlets, then, page design is largely irrelevant, with sites consisting of clean-looking content posts organized into categories.

Content Distribution

Given the purpose of commercial websites—converting visitors into customers—such sites tend to have lots of product and company-focused content organized into tabs on the sites main menu. Likewise, such sites often have little content focused on top-funnel visitors.

In contrast, digital media outlets are designed to attract, engage, and keep visitors on the site, passively exposing them to coupons or other sorts of advertising. To this end, digital media outlets have lots of top-funnel (general-interest) content and minimal (if any) product-focused content.

Development Tools

Given the fundamentally different purposes of commercial websites and digital media outlets, the platforms on which they are built will likely have radically different sets of development tools.

Commercial Websites

Commercial websites tend to be built on commercially available Content Management Systems (CMSs), such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, or Orchard. Such systems have two basic toolsets, one for adding pages and one for adding posts (blog articles).

Pages

Given the emphasis of commercial websites—converting bottom-funnel visitors into customers—page development is critical, enabling site developers to, in essence, make commercial messaging as palatable as possible. Consequently, all commercial CMSs allow virtually any level of HTML/JavaScript development. And, depending on the CMS in question, there will likely be an ecosystem of third-party developers that publish entire sets of plugins and widgets that enable even non programmers to build beautiful pages.

Posts

In contrast to the advanced page-development capability these systems provide, they are likely to include garden variety blog editors, that support little more than formatting text and embedding pictures and videos.

These platforms, and the ecosystems of vendors that have evolved to augment them, have responded to market demand, which insists on extensive page-development capability but which is content with limited content post capability.

Digital Media Outlets

For digital media outlets, typical content management systems are in many ways the wrong tool for the job.

Page Design

Digital media outlets tend to have simple page designs—a logo at the top, a color palette, and categories of content. Consequently, the extensive page design capabilities of commercial CMSs are overkill.

Post Creation

Likewise, because digital media outlets focus heavily on content, the limitations of blog editors in CMSs may be inadequate to the task of rapidly creating multiple types of content posts. A media outlet, then, needs a more advanced post editor, one that facilitates the development of multiple posts per day across content categories and which will support multiple types of hybrid post creation. Likewise a platform for building and maintaining a digital media outlet will need tight integration with content development suites, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Spark.

Content Curation Capability

Most major media outlets rely heavily on syndicated content. Consider, for example, that on any given day hundreds of newspapers around the world will publish the same article by the same journalist. The Associated Press is an organization that creates news-related content specifically for the purpose of syndicating it to third-party outlets.

So, in addition to tools that facilitate rapid development of original content, any given digital media outlet needs to have easy access to content from syndicated sources. The optimal design for content syndication is a digital-media-outlet platform built on top of a content marketplace, so that a site operator can curate content from known sources in seconds, push out through social channels in real time, and easily meet editorial deadlines.

Relationship of Websites to Digital Media Outlets

Most businesses rely on their websites, which are, in essence, extensive, online brochures of the organization’s goods and services. But websites, because of their lack of top-funnel content, are terrible vehicles for attracting the masses and engaging with the next generation of potential customers long before they’re ready to buy.

By combining a digital media outlet with a website, then, an organization can meet content requirements from the top to the bottom of the funnel:

At present, many commercial marketing teams—the ones that have the budget for it—buy advertising space on high-traffic media outlets, thus, satisfying their need to filter prospective buyers out of large groups and route them through to their online sales brochures (websites).

But for marketing teams looking to build brand recognition and loyalty among the next generation of customers and the one after that, it may make more sense to spend their advertising dollars on building and maintaining their own branded, focused digital media outlet.

With Mojified, that’s not only possibly; it’s shockingly inexpensive.


Web Heretics is the official media outlet of Mojified, a business platform for creating media outlets.