Tortoise and the Hare

I'm taking a leaf out of Chris Brogan's blog today and telling everyone what it is that I do. Yes, I do something besides blog and Twitter and blog about Twitter all day. I have a Facebook page, too. Oh, and a job.

My job has a very fancy title but it boils down to this: I am in charge of knowing everything there is to know about e-editions and then some. "Then some" is still in the works.

An e-edition, for all you shy folks out there who won't ask, is an online version of a newspaper. Unlike the websites most papers maintain, e-editions are simply digital copies (PDF files, actually) of the print paper. The benefit is getting all of the content from that day's paper in a comfortable, familiar (and let's not forget, environmentally friendly) format available from any computer. Pretty much the coolest thing ever. Back at the ranch...

I must have seen a hundred different e-editions advertised in the last month, but I can only see a demo for about half of them. Not to beat yesterday's dead horse, but consumers need quality time with the company and with the product. I don't want a month's subscription if I'm going to hate it after two days.

That was one of the lessons we learned pretty quickly when we launched the ARN e-edition. No matter how well you explain an e-edition, it just doesn't click until you actually see it. So, we did live demos of the e-edition in wi-fi hot spots all over town. Usually, I just had to get someone to look at it once, and they were hooked. The problem was getting people to stop and look. Even harder was getting someone to click through on a link in an email without someone standing there with it up and running. And if the link just went to a login screen with a link to subscribe? Forget it. No one wants to work that hard. Since we couldn't just be doing live demos all day, every day, we added a demo and a pretty intense (for me, the creator, not everyone else) step-by-step tutorial under the help menu.

And that helped. It's tough to sell die-hard newspaper readers, but once they saw it, they were some of our best subscribers. It's that good. 7-day print subscribers also get an e-edition subscription free, but let's just pretend that couldn't possibly be the reason.

It's not that it's the prettiest or the most convenient (although it is pretty and convenient). It's that this e-edition has the whole package. It's the newspaper, obviously, but subscribers also get the Sunday comics and local weekly publications like the Abilenian. It's also one of only about 10 e-editions nationwide that includes PARADE magazine on Sunday. But even that isn't enough to deserve much attention. The best thing about the online edition is the service, not the product. Subscribers get individual attention from Day 1. We keep adding features because our readers keep asking for them. It's been an awesome process, and I hope other people can learn from it.

With all of that said, we still need work. And help. I know we're making something we can be proud of (see yesterday's post for details) and that will eventually be rewarded. But slow and steady may not win this race. Outside of our subscribers, people don't know the e-edition exists. They also don't know the kind of service that comes with it. How do we spread our message in a town where change is a still a little bit scary? How can we find the tipping point*? Unlike before, these are not rhetorical questions. What do you think?

*It is not necessary to read Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point in order to answer this question. However, it will increase your life expectancy by 15 years and your capacity for thought a thousand-fold. Moral: Please read it. (These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA).

1 comment:

  1. i've seen it, and i'm a voucher!
    ckh - midlothian, tx