February 28, 2019 by Ronn
"Don't be afraid to try it." That was Bob Coleman's major takeaway in my story yesterday about the live video show he does every Thursday.
"...we're still at a stage where video [in this industry] is relatively new, so people aren't expecting grand production. They don't need Fox Business. It's the content that matters."
Nowhere is this more evident than in our 2018 1st place SIPAward entry for Best Blog or Commentary submitted by Irving Levin Associates. Two of the three blog posts submitted are part of an ongoing feature that Irving Levin does titled 60 Seconds With Steve Monroe. Monroe is the longtime editor of Irving Levin.
(Have you entered the 2019 SIPAwards? Check out the 37 categories!)
Those two posts drew 1,823 and 1,425 unique pageviews, respectively, and often attract Irving Levin's biggest audiences. The videos, which actually stretch closer to 1:45, feature Monroe sitting at his desk giving his view on a key issue in senior care mergers and acquisitions. Fancy no, effective yes. As Coleman said, it's the content that matters, and by using video, Monroe and Irving Levin give their audience another way to consume that good content.
Here are more reasons for the success of the SeniorCare Investor Dealmakers Forum (their official blog title) and specifically 60 Seconds With Steve Monroe:
They're using a partial paywall to get more subscribers. With the blog's growing readership, from subscribers and non-subscribers alike, Irving Levin started blocking off 50% of content for subscribers in order to entice non-subscribers to sign up for a trial subscription and ultimately join. Five of the top six trial-generating blog posts in 2017 were "protected content" for subscribers only. Those posts generated a range from 7-24 trials.
Put a time limit on restricted content. In order to improve their SEO and increase organic site traffic, they enabled the posts to "unlock" for all readers (and for Google to crawl) after a period of 90 days. As the strategy took effect throughout 2017, their organic site traffic increased by 26% from 9,585 sessions in the first half of 2017 to 12,071 sessions in the second half.
Video can keep readers engaged longer. Readers are active on the site, with sessions on average lasting over one minute and leading to 1.76 pages clicked per session.
Establish a trusted voice. In their entry, publisher Eleanor Meredith wrote that "Our editor Steve Monroe, an industry veteran with over 30 years of experience opining on the senior care M&A market, lends a trusted and expert voice to the blog.... His popular weekly video series... is regularly our most popular blog post, based on unique clicks."
Keep a light tone. Here's how Monroe started one of his SIPAward-winning posts from December 2017: "I know I am supposed to be full of holiday cheer this time of year, but yesterday's official announcement that Kindred Healthcare will be sold to Humana, TPG and The Carlyle Group, and dismembered for just $9 per share, well, that has just made me a little down. Why?" And his last lines: "I will keep you posted, but in the meantime, have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will try to cheer up."
Proceed quickly to the point. Oftentimes these days I'll write a post and then go over it and take out the first paragraph. It might have provided a fun intro but times have changed—we need to engage our readers quickly. Monroe's latest post, from last Wednesday, is titled The Secret Sauce to Success. "I finally found out the secret sauce for success in the senior care market, at least for The Ensign Group. It is called empowerment..." Boom.
Keep it simple. Coleman's live show is great but so is Monroe's desk-sitting, taped post. 60 Seconds With Steve Monroe can almost be done single-handedly. It's great to see that he continues to produce the segments. Even Coleman keeps his shows simple. It's just that the live nature gives them a little more to worry about.
Put a transcript below the video. Some people may want to read the post instead of watch it—or use quotes from it. For the short amount of time it takes, there can be a lot of advantages to a transcript.
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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…