Online media in recent times seems to be the branch driving the media force. Majority of readers these days prefer sourcing for information online to traditional media outlets. Furthermore, the advancement of technology has, for good, made this choice easier and more accessible, as new devices are released almost every day. The ease in accessibility to news online is however posing a financial threat to online editors as no direct payment is made to them by readers to access their online content.
Penplusbytes in collaboration with Online Editors Ghana, on 12th of December, 2017 held a strategic seminar on the theme “Monetizing Online News” aimed at identifying solutions for online editors to generate revenue using their websites. The seminar attracted online editors and bloggers from notable media outlets in the country who were taken through how to discover various ways to monetize their online content and some applicable tools to increase online content monetisation.
Giving the welcome address, the president of Online Editors Ghana, Isaac Yeboah stressed on how reporting fake news is becoming the alternative to ethical news reporting in the country. “The rise of digitalization has contributed to this; online reporters take advantage of various apps to create shareable news item of no validation and source”, he said.
In an interactive and engaging manner, speakers at the seminar including Kwami Ahiabenu II of Penplusbytes, Charles Ayiku of University of Professional Studies (UPSA) and Emeka Dele and Venus Tawiah both of Now Available Africa, outlined some guidelines for online editors to increase revenue generation on their online platforms.
Monetizing online news; Prospects
An online editor must firstly identify a focused niche, with which the site will always be associated. In such situations, the site has a focused consumer market, rather than focusing on many target group. When the target group of the site is clearly defined, it easily answers what type of content to be provided on the site to the target group.
Another thing online editors must note is that, to generate money from their online platforms they need to build huge traffic on their sites, and the major means for audience to be pulled to a site is by having strong content. In this sense, when generating content, it is very appropriate to identify the needs of the audiences that visit the site, and thus build content satisfying their needs. Also, the content should revolve around the preferences of the site’s target group.
It is possible that an online editor will have a clearly defined target group, provide strong content solving problems of users and may still not generate money from the site. It takes practical skills to use the necessary tools for monetizing online content, in that order if the online editor doesn’t have the know-how knowledge of the tools, monetization becomes difficult. For that reason, online editors should be abreast with the periodic advancement of online monetization tools.
Google AdSense, Facebook Integration, Live Stream, Social Media Walls, traditional integration are some the tools for monetizing online news, that online editors should acquaint themselves with their applications and usage.
There are online affiliate programs like Amazon, Shopify and other third party agencies on which online editors can sign for a link to their sites to generate money.
Monetizing online news; challenges
Generating money from a site has never been smooth due to challenges like internet connection. The continuous interruption in connecting online makes it not interesting for readers to access online content. And the less readers visit a site, the more building strong traffic on a site becomes impossible.
Another challenge is unsolicited ads frequently popping up on the site. This breaks the chain of smooth reading on the site which has a high possibility of driving readers away from the returning to the site.
Plagiarism has also resulted in decreasing revenue for online editors. Some online editors copy and paste content from other sites on to their sites, without due credit to the original source. This unfortunately has the tendency of questioning the credibility of the original source, not making the site a trusted source. And hardly will readers visit a site associated with trust issues.
Unfavorable policies from affiliates also deter online editors from monetizing their online news. Some of the policies do not favor their assertions which make them decline from signing on to affiliate programs.