It is true when they say content is king. But "relevant" content is key to success. All publishers need to make sure they have the right content for the right people in their audience.
How is the online content consumed?
A pull strategy (bringing people to your online content) requires SEO / SEM or display advertising to acquire the audience. This can be expensive.
A push strategy (delivering content to the people) is likely going to be key in getting cost-effective results and ROI. The best way to do this is delivering relevant content in a timely manner via email. In this case content is targeted to individuals based on their preferences and behavior.
Here are some more on pull techniques:
Search engine optimization and search engine marketing Seems obvious, but how many publishers do this? If you publish media in a given space, the huge number of topics that your publication or Web site covers makes SEO/SEM a totally different challenge.
Co-registration This is easier said than done for publishers that sell advertising, but basically the idea is that anytime someone signs up for an e-newsletter subscription on another Web site that's topically related to your Web site, you negotiate a relationship whereby your newsletter subscription is offered as another checkbox on that other Web site's e-newsletter sign-up form. Not surprisingly, Marketing Sherpa uses this tactic on a lot of marketing vendor sites. One advantage: They have a paid content model, so there's no conflict of interest. I'd like to see an example of an ad-supported publisher doing this with suppliers in their space.
Landing page optimization I know most publishers aren't using this technique. The idea is that the very design and layout of the sign-up page (for our purposes, called the landing page, the place where the moment of truth occurs, when readers decide whether or not to opt in to your site, newsletter, magazine, advertiser white paper, etc.) greatly influences the number of readers who "convert" or complete the form. By testing different versions of the page, you can increase conversion by up to several hundred percent.
Tracking/Analytics This is the clever use of Web analytics programs to give you feedback on metrics that are meaningful to publishers. How many people subscribed to which e-newsletter products, and which were the most effective sources of traffic, both internally and externally? If you're doing paid search, which keyword groups yielded the best ROI? Which should be scrapped? Anyone doing paid search without tying it to some ROI metric is throwing their money down the drain.
Do you have a system for determining the relevancy of your content?