Don’t Keep Readers Out, Make Them Want to Come in

According to a Guardian executive, thanks in part to the growth of the Facebook appsocial sharing is now close to generating as much traffic to the paper’s website as search does — a fairly incredible statistic, considering that social produced just 2 percent of the traffic to the site as recently as six months ago. The Washington Post has seen similar success with its social-sharing app, and the paper’s ombudsman recently described how   the Post sees these kinds of tools as a better short-term response than a paywall: in other words, a way of increasing readership instead of trying to restrict it.

This is from Don’t build a paywall, create a velvet rope instead by  in GigaOm, and I couldn’t agree more. The Guardians’ strategies lately are going to be effective as far as I can see. They are going to publish reports from experts but let local people contribute as well. They seem to have realized that news is a sort of mutual creation process now that the tools of information production are available freely.

The idea is that you don’t stop readers from getting involved, in fact, you reward the ones who do get involved beyond the average, with invitations to events, and extras. I think Global Post uses this in its pay model.

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