Here’s a fascinating article at Paid Content, Nick Denton says Gawker’s advertising future is affiliate links and “commerce journalism” — paidContent:
“Gawker is looking to hire ‘commerce specialists’
The job listings describe the position as ‘a new type of service journalism’ that includes ‘everything from posts about the cheapest deal on something our readers need to introducing them to new things they’ve never seen,’ and notes that Gawker will be deriving revenue from those posts…”
What does this mean for writers?
Firstly, it means that the “throw up content and make money from advertising” strategy is OVER — for large sites, with big costs, anyway.
Nick Denton has his fingers on the pulse of the Web, to coin a cliche, at least as far as blogging and content are concerned. He knows passive advertising is over and so it seems as if he’s going into affiliate marketing in a big way. The journalists he hires, who were taught in journalist school that commerce and editorial are to be kept apart at all costs, will have to learn a whole new set of skills.
I’ve no doubt at all that if Gawker is headed in this direction, other large content sites and blogs will move in the same direction, if they haven’t already. There’s a reason for this — more and more content flooding on to the Web. There’s too much content inventory for sites to derive much of an income from AdSense, and and other advertising. The results aren’t there.
Therefore, Gawker is turning into “Hawker”. Not that there’s anything wrong with that…
Big tip: pay attention. Where Gawker goes, other sites will follow (and so can you)
There’s always been money in “deal” sites. There are a mile of “free Kindle ebook” and “ebook special” sites, for example.
On a large scale, the big “deal” sites use feeds to get their material online, so they’re mainly using technology to get deal offers from vendor sites onto their own websites. There’s little original content on these sites at all. Most don’t worry about it. They have advertising budgets, so they pay Google, and get their own ads on sites which work as affiliates.
Some of these “daily deal” sites do have writers who provide editorial. I’ve noticed this is the beauty area, as well as in tech.
Pay attention to what’s happening on websites. See how many instances of “commerce journalism” you can spot.
Also, practice writing this kind of material. Create some writing samples…
Websites want to SELL these days, rather than passively posting content, and hoping for clicks on their advertisers’ banner and text ads.
Once you have a little experience at this kind of thing, get some gigs, using your samples.
Copywriting skills are becoming vital for all writers, because at bottom, what Gawker wants is writers with copywriting insights and skills. And where large content sites go, other sites follow.