Since its adoption by international publishing companies, the paywall has triggered an array of questions among a group of professionals who have always been working closely with journalists: PR practitioners.
How many times have you, as a PR professional, asked yourself “If my client’s story is on a newspaper site which has implemented a paywall strategy, will this influence my client’s exposure and visibility in the media? How does it affect the SEO ranking?”.
James Henderson, Senior Business Development Manager at Evolok, was invited to Portland HQ to answer these questions.
In his presentation James debunked two of the most common myths of paywalls.
1. Media exposure and visibility behind a wall
An increasing number of newspaper publishers have implemented metered/porous models, allowing their readers to view a set number of articles and a certain freedom when it comes to sharing a story on social media.
While the metered feature entitles the user to view a certain number of articles for free, the porousity of a newspaper’s paywall depends how much and for how long an article is permitted to be shared on social media networks. The more shares allowed, the more porous the wall.
The publisher is in entire control of the number of times an article can be read through social sharing as well as how many times their readers can share the story online.
The positive aspect of this is increased traffic; paying subscribers promote the story while readers who are unwilling to pay will still be able to read your story.
Therefore, publishing your story in a newspaper which has implemented a metered/porous paywall will make sure that it is better targeted towards those people who are passionate about the topic. After all, as Peter Himler, contributor at Forbes magazine, has noted:
Overall, PR practitioners shouldn’t worry about paywalls. As James mentioned in his presentation to Portland :
"Often the paywall has been given various different connotations but we believe it shouldn’t be scary, it doesn’t have to be a nightmare or a dictatorial leader. We actually think the paywall should be a hero."
What are your views on paywalls as a PR practitioner? Feel free to share your experience with us.
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