Vinoth Poovalingam is the Co-Founder and CEO of Hocalwire, a Delhi based start up company which provides end-to-end technology support for the entire content supply chain (from portal management, apps, SEO and enabling revenue) for news portals. He is an alumnus of IIT Madras and IIM Bangalore. Earlier he has worked with Flipkart and then Amazon to develop their logistics networks by building scalable processes.
In an informal conversation with K. Srinivasan, Editor in Chief, Digital PreSense, Vinoth shares with us his insights in building traffic for websites and content platforms in general.
Q: What do you do at Hocalwire?
Vinoth: At Hocalwire, we provide tools and techniques to build and manage a Newsroom. We work with Media houses to enable their digital presence by building an end-to-end digital ecosystem for their content. Our endeavor is to enable the access of good quality technology in an affordable manner, to give wings to your content.
Q: How do you help Media houses ?
Vinoth: The change of digital news is fast picking in India. Most of the traditional media players have good content, but they lack the technical know how and necessary guidance to conquer the digital world. We exactly fill this gap, we work as a technology partner for our clients. We enable technology in all aspects of the news supply chain, right from reporting, editorial and publishing. We also work with partners to monetize the traffic which comes to a news portal.
Q: Can you elaborate on the different tools you have to help digital journalism?
Vinoth: The news supply chain as we call it, starts with a lead and ends up as a story which the audience of our client reads. To facilitate this we provide the following tools
a) Reporter Tools : App / Website based reporting of leads or content on the fly
b) Editorial Tools : Typically tools which can enable a team of editors to monitor and curate the leads which the reporters provide
c) Publishing tools : Front end with respect to Website & App, which carries the content
d) Social Media & SEO Tools: Tools which can help automate & monitor the Social media and SEO aspects of making an article popular
e) Analytics : Data and analysis for getting feedback into the performance of the activities carried out by the team.
The above set of tools provide a holistic end to end technology and guidance for any one looking to build their digital presence.
Q: How to you build traffic for your clients in particular?
Vinoth: There are five ways in which we can get traffic to a website
1. Direct Traffic : Based on the brand value of the website brings visitors to the site regularly. The site has to be branded independently through various digital and non digital tools. This is when your audience directly comes on to your website looking to read a content.
2. Search Engine optimization (SEO). There are two aspects to this (a) Technical and (b) Content SEO. Technical SEO is about using technology to tell crawlers about the content we have this includes Page title, Page Description, H1, H2, H3, etc. Under the Content SEO, every article should have proper elements like tags, keywords, short description basically resulting in a good keyword density. You can search for Google trends and Google Keyword planner and visit the sites for appropriate trends. Keywords have to chosen properly.
3. Social Marketing: The links for contents should be promoted through social media tools like face book, twitter, linkedin, instagram, etc. In India, facebook and twitter constitute close to 90% of the market share in many website, although you may have to look at Linkedin as well for content which are more career oriented in nature.
4. Marketing through other channels: The contents have to be promoted through mailers, online groups, whatsapp groups, RSS feed, push notifications etc.
5. Paid Marketing: Google, Face book and other digital marketers provide facilities to promote the contents on some payment. Depending on the audience and content, appropriate plans should be chosen.
These are all the basic tips to promote the contents. They can be used effectively with proper blend.
Q: How do you help monetize the traffic ?
Vinoth: Once you build traffic to your website we can help monetize that traffic to build a sustainable model for getting more good content. We have identified and are looking at the following ways in which we can monetize the traffic
1) Banner Ads : Traditional form of digital advertising which looks to make the inventory of high performing ad space and monetize the same
2) Native Ads : The latest forms of ads, which works with companies like Taboola and Google matched content to provide content based marketing channels
3) Affiliate marketing : Partnering with E-commerce channels to enable your audience to get better offers and information about the products
4) Subscription services: In this we look to build subscription plans / pay per view model for generating revenue for our clients
5) E-commerce : We are looking forward to enable mostly selling of virtual goods, for our clients.
Apart from the above we have also partnered with content syndication agencies who are willing to purchase of client's content for a fee.
Q: What is the future of Digital Journalism in India ?
Vinoth: India is an emerging economy, we have just 30% internet penetration. The future is bright for digital journalism, which should coexist with traditional forms of journalism and will slowly carve for itself a bigger share of the market. With the current intiatives from the government of India like Digital India, it will help boost this ecosystem more. Simultaneously content marketing is becoming an integral part of the digital marketing tool kit of brands, I feel this will help give a big boost for the digital journalism ecosystem.
Q: Any tips for the aspiring Journalists, with respect to digital journalism?
Any aspiring journalist in today's scenarios should keep themselves updated with the latest development in digital journalism. In the current world it is not enough to just create great content, one should also keep themselves updated with the latest happenings with respect to technology in the digital world. That said, there is a huge opportunity for Journalists to make a better India. Journalism and digital journalism in particular is no more the forte of a few, the opportunity is wide open and anyone can leave a mark with the right tools and insights. There are so many stories which are unheard of and so much content which is waiting to be read. I think "Pen is mightier than a sword" should get a different perspective, it should be "Digital Ink is mightier than a sword".