Malaysian newspaper Sin Chew Daily is reporting a more than 90 per cent revenue increase in 2019 through a digital transformation project with Facebook.
The newsroom has changed significantly since it first published a daily newspaper in 1929. Today, millions of Chinese readers across the Asia-Pacific region consume Sin Chew news via a suite of digital formats - including a website and app - each supported by its Facebook community. As one of the first news publishers to adopt Instant Articles in the Asia-Pacific region in 2017, Sin Chew Daily has positioned itself to benefit from monetisation opportunities on the platform.
Chief operating officer of content and commercial Tan Lee Chin, said a steady income stream had been established through Instant Articles, and a contribution to increased traffic to Sin Chew's digital news site while posting all articles in Instant Articles format.
Using the feature's native CTA resulted in a 120 per cent increase in the email database of dedicated newsletter readers.
Tan Lee Chin says the team has leaned right into gleaning insights from data via CrowdTangle. Sin Chew's dedicated social media editor monitors CrowdTangle daily. The editor analyses leaderboards of competitor activity within Malaysia, while also monitoring Chinese language publications across Asia. This ensures Sin Chew is aware of local trends and culturally relevant stories from its broader community.
The social media editor plugs directly into the newsroom, immediately delivering insights to the relevant news desks as they become available. "It's a two-step process: first, track over-performing posts and stories your readers are following. Next, test these topics and stories on your own page," said Tan Lee Chin.
Following this process, Sin Chew identified human interest stories were a high-performing topic. The editorial team produced more human interest stories shared as videos and Instant Articles, generating more revenue.
Journalists work now directly in Sin Chew's CMS, with a combination of formal and on-the-job training teaching Sin Chew's traditional print journalists how to file stories in this new way.
The publishing process is more agile in response to trend analysis. Short stories are filed in a timely manner to capture Sin Chew readers. Trending stories are built up with detailed updates, growing to a monetisable length.
"Since going 'all in', our interactions have significantly increased and we have utilised the increased engagement with Instant Articles to acquire a database for our newsletter, complementing our strategy of growing our own digital assets," said Tan Lee Chin.
Sin Chew Daily has generated a steady stream of digital revenue by continuously driving digital transformation and utilising monetisation tools such as Instant Articles, CTA units in Instant Articles and CrowdTangle.
"Your content needs to serve your audience and everything will fall into place," said Tan Lee Chin. "Focus first on how you manage your content strategy, and monetisation comes in later."
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