As you may have surmised this post will carry on where I finished off last week. Without giving to much away, yesterday we were discussing the growth and direction of the professional networks I work on.
We were getting stuck into membership numbers, traffic, referrals, stickiness, bounce rates, the ratio of… yeah I know. But, it’s important – someone has got to have their eyes on the numbers.
We have often spoken about the quality of the audience being more important than the size – (as has Joanna Geary) and while we are in full agreement we are left with the question: what is a single twitter follower, facebook friend or website commenter actually worth?
It’s a dirty question – we don’t write to make money (well, we do for ourselves, but not for the ‘business’) we write to inform, to provoke discussion and challenge assumptions. We write to topple governments, expose corruption and all those other noble intentions.
In all seriousness if we are to produce good journalism we need the money to do it, which means we need to understand how to make money from our friends and followers.
We know all this I hear you cry – tome after tome has been written about the Times paywall, the New York Times paywall, the Daily, the FT. Yet how much analytics is taught on any of the UK masters (or an NCTJ)?
How many journalists understand how to read a google analytics report and make useful decisions based on the information?
Many people have scoffed at the idea of a multi skilled journalist – show me the journalist that needs to know how to write, use a CMS, tweak SEO, engage people on social media, understand our traffic numbers, take a photo, edit some video, record some audio – they say.
I have done all of these in the last fortnight alone; smaller teams, niche topics, smaller budgets mean you must do more from less and if you are going to go down the route of being an entrepreneur, you will need all of these skills twice as much.
The numbers really matter and the skills to understand them just as much so.
How prepared are you to turn your hand to whatever needs doing at work tomorrow?