WSJ Still Thrives in Tough Times

18 07 2010

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As we have already discovered, traditional media are searching for new techniques to engage their audiences to offset low readership and circulation (newspapers and magazines). Most of these media end up finding social media to be the answer, and the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) is no different. Except the WSJ requires readers to subscribe for a monthly fee (unless they want to pay the yearly subscription in whole) to access all of their content, so how is the WSJ using social media to engage their audience?

Well for one, the WSJ has a blogs page that is free for anyone to read and share via Facebook, Twitter, Digg, and nearly any other social media channel. They also have a very comprehensive Facebook page that incorporates their blogs, streams their Twitter feed, and offers other news stories for free. Their Journal Community allows readers to connect with other people and discuss topics. Honestly, I had trouble finding content that I actually had to pay for! So what exactly are subscribers paying for? Well they receive updated news alerts, access to their online markets data center, printed journals 6 days a week, and an iPhone or Blackberry app if they subscribe to both online and print journals. But do you think the WSJ offers enough perks to convince people to subscribe?

With 414,00 paid subscribers for online content and an over all circulation of 2.1 million, the WSJ leads the pack as the most widely circulated newspaper. The WSJ has actually felt a slight increase in circulation while other newspapers struggle with declining circulation numbers. Some have said that the WSJ demonstrates the proper way to use a pay wall and still find readers willing to pay for newspaper content. Although some bloggers have condoned the WSJ for their social media policy, it appears as though the newspaper has embraced social media strategically and appropriately.

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Even though you can access most of the WSJ’s content for free and share via your social media of choice, I still believe the newspapers quality reputation gives readers a valid reason to subscribe. In fact, all this talk about the WSJ really makes me wish I still had a subscription! What do you think?


ESPN: Choose Your Favorite Social Media Source

11 07 2010

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When I originally decided to blog about ESPN’s use of social media, I forgot to consider how extensive ESPN’s media is. Not only do they have multiple television channels but they also have a radio station and a magazine. As I began my research at the ESPN website, I was quickly reminded of this because each of these 3 media have their own separate websites. But I’m here to talk about social media, and in case you have not heard I’ll be the first to tell you: ESPN is utilizing social media.

Where should I begin? Well first there’s the blog page that I don’t think they could fit any more blogs into. Seriously, there are over 30 different blogs that cover a vast range of different sports including niche sports like snowmobiling and BMX. Users are offered the option to become an “Insider” for a small subscription fee. This service provides subscribers with perks like access to exclusive blogs, fantasy benefits, ESPN the Magazine, and expert draft coverage. Each blog contains convenient links to share on Facebook, tweet on Twitter, or subscribe via RSS feed. I’d say ESPN has blogs on lock, but that’s not the only social media ESPN has on lock.

One impressive way ESPN is engaging in social media is through their Podcenter. With category and topic filters, the site makes it easy to find a specific podcast you may be searching for. It even offers exclusive podcasts for Insiders. All of the podcast (except Insider podcasts) are available for downloading, playing, and RSS feeds. So far ESPN has demonstrated blog and podcast mastery, but what about video?

Well ESPN offers a magnitude of video content through their YouTube channel and their video page. The video page offers hundreds of videos that are  easy to navigate by sport, TV show, category, and more.

You could probably guess that ESPN has a Facebook page, but they also have over a dozen Twitter accounts that you can check out at their Twitter List. The different Twitter accounts vary from specific cities to specific sports so followers can get just the news (or should I say Tweets) they are looking for.

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Before you stop reading this post because you’re thinking, “Okay, I get the point. ESPN knows how to use social media.” I must tell you that there has been some controversy over their social media policy that they implemented last year. The policy prohibits employees from posting sports content in personal websites or social networks and critiques have claimed this is inappropriately limiting employee expression and hurting the company’s efforts to demonstrate transparency. I’ll let you read the articles linked above and form your own opinion but if you care to hear my opinion on the matter, feel free to ask in a comment.

ESPN’s social media efforts are impressive. Their website offers an array of diverse content that can easily be shared in multiple social media formats and I believe this proves ESPN is the worldwide leader of sports in social media.