Newspapers and TV stations find that online feature content is vital for creating an attractive Web site, despite their emphasis on news.
This lesson in content development has benefits for any online publisher.
Many sites that hire SEO experts have blogs with regular postings about their area of expertise. These blog postings almost always have a feature focus. It means they don’t have a tie to a specific event or date and therefore have short-term value.
They have readership value today, next month or even in years to come.
TV Station Evergreen Example
Imagine taking over management of a TV station Web site. A producer will naturally want to put stories from the newsroom on the site, along with plenty of video.
Experienced managers of broadcast sites know that their content may go live more quickly than a newspaper site. They have a culture that doesn’t broadcast content only once a day or once a week like a print schedule. But TV sites have far fewer and far shorter articles, and video doesn’t get many plays.
The answer for such a site lies with strong, original feature content. Not only can it have long shelf life — especially health, travel, attractions and recreation — but it has higher appeal to advertisers than news.
Likewise, newspaper sites may pursue original evergreen feature content for the same reason — long shelf life and advertiser appeal.
TV producers and newspaper editors have a tendency to dismiss feature content after trying it. A feature article often doesn’t get the same level of readership in the first days or weeks after publication as a news story.
Feature Content Has Shelf Life
But it is shelf life that makes the difference. A news story typically has readership appeal on the first day and sometimes briefly beyond.
Articles about travel, recreation, health, entertainment and similar content will have readership potential for months and even years. They rarely need much updating.
As a result, some sites have as much as 30 percent or more of their page views from features.
The return on investment of labor in a feature article is often equal to or greater than news. Sites should give healthy doses of both kinds of content for the sake of readership and advertising.
Be warned: Such a content focus often takes months and sometimes more than a year to develop momentum. But it leads to a more robust product, broader reach and higher revenue.
In the long run, evergreen feature content will produce its share of website revenue and audience appeal.
Features Create Revenue Potential
A site with 100 percent news content will find that many advertisers won’t have a place for their ads.
The manager of an entertainment event often doesn’t want an event ad to appear on a city council article. A travel advertiser usually doesn’t want to appear on an obituary page.
Again, these lessons from TV and newspaper sites have benefits for many other site publishers that display advertising. It pays to create content in a variety of broad categories. These categories will appeal to a broader variety of advertisers — and readers.