One strategy we've seen some media sites use over the years for their web properties is to lock up the "archives" and charge for access to it, on the assumption that if people want to see old stories, there must be some reason
, for which they'd be willing to spend. Separately, many media properties assume that the only thing that really matters
for generating traffic is the "breaking news." There's so much emphasis on "the scoop" and "being first," and very little emphasis on the follow through. It turns out, that may be a pretty big mistake. Chas Edwards highlights how some newspapers are discovering, to their own surprise
, that old news can get an awful lot of traffic from social media sharing
Apparently London’s Independent, as it rolled out the Open Graph, learned that several quirky stories from the late 1990s are the most shared stories of the early 2010s. (More data here.) If news publishers are sitting a goldmine of buried archival content, imagine the opportunity for publishers outside the breaking-news category if they can figure out how to resurface those great stories from last month, last year, or a decade ago.
This is actually something we've been really interested in lately. We see it happen quite frequently with our own archives. Suddenly, for no clear reason, a story from years ago will become wildly popular on Twitter or Facebook, and we'll get a ton of useful traffic. In fact, we made this point back in January, when we dug into "the numbers"
from 2011 and discovered that our most popular post in 2011... was actually from 2010. It will be interesting to see if publishers can start to figure out ways to do more with "old news" rather than just assigning it to the "discarded" pile. I know it's an area that we're planning to explore more deeply in the coming months, so it's interesting to see others thinking along similar lines.