Industry Update: Penton Launches Govalytics; NAPCO Names New President

Continuing a strategy of new product development around data assets, Penton has announced the launch of Govalytics, which captures and analyzes information on city and county governments in the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S.

Designed for use primarily by marketers selling products and services to municipalities, the product provides budgetary data, information on current and planned capital projects, bond ratings, recent news, contact information for top city officials and detailed descriptions of municipal departments and their functions.

The most challenging aspect of the service was creating useful comparative data for a wide range of government types and city services, Ben Walker, Director of Brand Management for Govalytics, said in a press release.

“Normalization was our task, and our solution enables the user to effectively benchmark a government’s expenditures, debt, capital assets and departments to others its size across the nation,” he said.

The service is designed to help vendors tap into the $3 trillion annual market for municipal contracts and services, as well as allow cities themselves to do comparative analysis of other municipalities with similar circumstances or challenges.

“Govalytics provides marketers with the critical intelligence and workflow tools needed to navigate the complicated government sector and win more business,” Gregg Herring, Vice President and Public Infrastructure Market Leader at Penton, said in the release.

The software-as-a-service (SaaS) tool was developed out of resources within in the company’s Public Infrastructure market group, which includes longstanding government sector media brands American City & CountyGovernment Product NewsGovProWaste 360 and other properties and events.

New York-based Penton has moved aggressively into data products across multiple market sectors. In the company’s Healthy Lifestyle division, natural products industry product tracker NextTrend and small business start-up data program NextAccelerator are recent high-profile additions to the New Hope Natural Media family of brands.

“We look at the Accelerator and Trend products not as augmented products to existing products, but as putting a fourth leg of the stool on the ground: in print, in person, data and services.” New Hope Natural Media President Fred Linder told mediaShepherd recently.


New Leadership at NAPCO

Philadelphia-based North American Publishing Company, publisher of Printing Impressions, Target Marketing and a number of other B2B titles including Publishing Executive and Book Business, has announced the naming of David Leskusky as company president. Leskusky, most recently group president of NAPCO’s Promo Marketing publishing division, succeeds Ned Borowsky, who is stepping down after 30 years at the helm to become vice-chairman alongside his father, company founder Irving Borowsky.

Ned Borowsky, who in recent years has guided the company’s diversification into multimedia and data-driven products and services, said in a press release that Leskusky will “lead NAPCO’s transformation into a marketing services powerhouse that is not dependent on magazine revenue, but rather on monetizing every channel where our audience consumes content.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to now lead this exceptional organization and succeed Ned, who guided us brilliantly through this recent period of evolution,” Leskusky said in the release.  “I see a bright future ahead for NAPCO—especially in events and video—and those will be my top priorities.”…

Read more

SEO is Dead. Long Live OAO.

9 tips for implementing online audience optimization strategies now.

For content publishers, search engine optimization—which we’ve all come to know as SEO—is dead. Rising from its ashes is OAO—online audience optimization.

SEO was the art and science of creating web pages that generated traffic and high rankings in the search engines. It relied on keywords, links, page rank, and site structure to work its magic, and it has always been a bit of a moving target for webmasters. Search engines, wishing to stay ahead of SEO spammers who might use the knowledge to game the system, have kept their algorithms secret, constantly tweaking them to prevent their exploitation.

As publishers have gotten more sophisticated in their online presence, they have chafed under perceived restrictions of optimizing pages for search. The use of keywords in content has seemed at times antithetical to good journalism. Keeping Google and its cohorts in mind when creating web content has seemed to some like pandering. And the spammy tactics of less-reputable SEO wizards casts a sleazy pall over the entire process.


Enter OAO
OAO is the collection of techniques that online content publishers use to rise above the pack of sales sites, catalog sites, or sites that live through shady SEO practices, generating cheap clicks that cause unwary web surfers to stumble upon their pages. OAO allows online publishers to leverage their greatest assets—their wealth of high-quality content—to create a consistent web-wide presence, and generate consistent new and repeat visitors. OAO uses the best practices of SEO, along with social media, content sharing, engagement mechanics and branding, to build and optimize loyal and targeted audiences for online content publishers.

OAO is an emerging discipline, but savvy publishers can begin to put its elements in place in their online strategies right away. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Focus on the brand. Sharpen up your editorial mission and communicate it. Words and phrases that are important to the brand should be shared with your webmaster, your social media strategist, and your SEO team. Every phrase used by them in headings, captions and anchor text should display dual relevancies: to the searcher and to the product.

2. Be consistent and clear about your strategy and purpose, both online and offline. If your print product is serious and practical, your online presence can be playful and whimsical—but everyone involved must understand the reason. Is your online audience different from your offline one? Do you have different goals for your site versus your print product? And if so, how is the duality managed? Where do the approaches dovetail?

3. Cast a wide net. Today, social media provides one of the strongest correlations with high search engine rankings. Build out your presence on social media and content sharing sites, but focus especially on Google Plus, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

4. At the same time, cast a targeted net. Your goal is not to bring the maximum number of visitors to your site. It is to capture potential audience members. Working to increase site traffic is pointless if the visitors who land on the site don’t stay. With that in mind, search for and connect with those people who need the content that your site offers. Stay away from empty promises in both SEO and SEM.

5. Encourage audience participation. Time on site and bounce rate are two of the main indicators that search engines use to evaluate sites and, hence, two of the main factors for site searchability. There are few metrics more significant in building and maintaining your audience and your presence in the search …

Read more