Use case: how Netokracija uses Content Insights to produce authoritative long-form pieces that help them grow in a credible way

Content Insights has a variety of clients under its wing: from newsrooms and niche publishers to large media outlets and digital native media organizations. It’s always exciting to see how our content analytics solution fits into different teams and complements their workflows.

Recently, we had the opportunity to speak with Marko Tadic who works as a Business Developer at Netokracija

Netokracija is a growing business-tech media brand, focused on writing and reporting about digital marketing and digital economy, new technologies, relevant trends and happenings, and the ever-evolving culture of tech startups. It was founded in 2009 in Croatia (Zagreb). Three years later, it expanded to Slovenia (Ljubljana) and finally in 2015, it opened an office in Serbia (Belgrade). 

Both in Serbia and in the Balkan region, Netokracija has a status of a highly credible media brand which unanimously supports the development of the IT sector from three different locations. The content they produce is reputable and known for critically shaping and educating the startup and tech community.

What’s interesting about Netokracija is that they were among the first people who tested Content Insights and followed its evolution from day one. We sat down with them to see how they use our analytics today. 

Feeling the pulse of the audience

Firstly, we were curious to find out more about the profile of Netokracija’s audience: who are their readers and what type of content resonates with them the best?

Tadic explained to us that their readers are predominantly young people (ages 25-35), mostly advanced Internet users who work within the IT industry and actively participate in the digital economy. From people who work as developers and marketing managers to those who are business and data analysts – their professional profile varies.

Using Content Insights helped Netokracija’s editorial team understand the expectations of their audience and see how they can serve their readers better:

“In the past few years, we’ve specialized in producing long-form content. So, we’re talking about in-depth editorial pieces, analyses, reports. We shifted away from creating short articles and announcements because we realized this type of content has little value for our audience. This is clear when you look at the insights and the data. Our editorial focus is now on educational content that our community appreciates. Unsurprisingly, this type of content performs really well and has proven to be evergreen for Netokracija.”

What Tadic shared with us confirms yet again that people do have patience with lengthy articles, but they don’t tolerate poor quality or unengaging content. The overused narrative of humans having an attention span equivalent to that of a goldfish obviously has more layers to it. The assumption that people don’t have the time or the will to read is also inaccurate.

Readers will reward you with their attention, but you have to listen to them and prove you’re worthy of it.

– Marko Tadic, Business Developer @ Netokracija

Content Insights helps Netokracija to decide on the future content based on the previous performance of their articles. This is really useful for feeling the pulse of their audience:

“In Content Insights, it’s easy for us to analyze topics to see if they are still popular or if there are some new ones that have the potential of trending. We tend to dig deeper and see which type of content has been performing the best: is it in-depth analyses, interviews or reports? Topics that focus on mobile, digital transformation, or something else? This helps us adjust the editorial plan for the future properly.” 

Moving away from the traffic-focused business model

The next thing we discussed with Tadic was the online media landscape and the value of data for them. More specifically, we wanted to get Netokracija’s take on this issue: do digital media organizations understand the importance of measuring content performance, business-wise? Here’s Tadic again:

“If you observe the Balkan region and the still-present yet outdated business models which imply chasing traffic for the sake of increasing display ad revenue, the quality of content is not something they care too much about. This is why they might not see value in content performance data. For them, it’s all about single numbers and pageviews. For Netokracija, quality has always been a number one priority, and that’s why we deeply care about the data and insights which tell us if our readers are pleased with our output.”

Media organizations still rely on ad-based business models, particularly because this is something that’s familiar to them, even from the pre-digital era. The relationship between advertisers and publishers has always been strong, but it is really a two-edged sword, as Tadic explained to us:

“I think chasing traffic is damaging journalism on so many levels. The focus on quantity is degrading the profession, but unfortunately this is something we often see, even in large media. And especially in our region.” 

Naturally, we wanted to know more about the business model Netokracija uses:

“We diversified our product portfolio as we realized that, in the media business, it’s hard to survive by relying on just one business model. We searched for examples of good practices and came up with a balanced mix of different sources of revenue. Native advertising is the dominant one and the second one is event organization and management, in collaboration with our strategic partners.

In the next 3-5 years, we plan on introducing some kind of memberships or subscriptions, as the team continues to grow. Looking at the current engagement metrics such as Article Reads and Read Depth, as well as CPI scores in Content Insights, we’re driving excellent results.

For instance, over 40% of our articles have exceptionally high Loyalty CPI scores. We are pretty sure we have a loyal audience and that they will be willing to pay for our content some time in the future.”

Taking a closer look at native advertising and editorial control in Netokracija

Native advertising is becoming increasingly popular among online media organizations, but it can be a slippery slope if editors prioritize profit over their readers. We wanted to know more about how Netokracija managed to incorporate native advertising into their editorial policy without jeopardizing the relationship they have with their audience:

“For over six years, Netokracija has successfully used native advertising as its primary business model. We pay close attention to balancing sponsored and editorial content. In addition, only our editorial staff produces native advertising pieces. We don’t have a dedicated native studio because we believe that those people who write for Netokracija regularly know how to write for our readers, and therefore are the best ones to produce sponsored content for clients. In the end, this is what brings true credibility to them. Also, clients cannot pay to publish their PR content on Netokracija anymore. We don’t compromise here: PR content is produced by agencies that don’t know our audience, so this is actually a question of editorial control. ”

Everything goes smoothly when we know what the client wants and what our audience expects. Native content is produced right there, in the sweet spot where the two overlap.

Curious as we are, we wanted to peel the onion further and see how producing native content looks from the inside, and how Content Insights helps in the process:

“As someone who operates sales and handles business development, I work tightly with clients and negotiate deals with them. I am very good at understanding what brands want from their native content and which topics could wrap up their business goals nicely. Everything goes smoothly when we know what the client wants and what our audience expects. Native content is produced right there, in the sweet spot where the two overlap. In Netokracija, the relationship between the business and the editorial stream is really strong. Having relevant metrics to consult when establishing partnerships of this sort is of crucial help.”

Let’s take a closer look at how behavioral metrics help exactly.

Behavioral metrics in Content Insights have proven themselves to be reliable and trustworthy

When it comes to improving their native advertising operations and reporting to clients, Tadic explained how they use Content Insights:

“We use Content Insights to educate our clients about relevant metrics and to explain to them the success of their native campaigns. Unfortunately, Google Analytics is something that’s familiar to them, but we are persistent in pointing out the flaws and gaps which this analytics tool doesn’t cover. At Netokracija, we use Google Analytics mainly because of clients’ familiarity with the tool but frankly, I don’t even look at it anymore. It simply doesn’t convey any useful information to me.

If the client is persistent, we will send them a screenshot from Google Analytics, but we always try to put focus on the reports from Content Insights as they are truly accurate, easy to understand, and paint the full picture when it comes to analyzing your content. We analyze the success of the campaign for clients in-depth, and suggest improvements so that the next campaign generates even better results.”

Tadic also has an example of the time when Content Insights has proved to be a reliable ally for making strategic editorial decisions, and gave them editorial credibility:

“There was this one time when we were negotiating the nuts and bolts of a native campaign for one particular client who was always stepping across the line a bit and micromanaging. They just couldn’t let us do our jobs properly. So, we agreed on the topic, which was really great. However, they continuously asked for edits and insisted on some changes which we knew weren’t smart, from our editorial perspective. 

So, here’s what happened in the aftermath: the overall CPI score was poor. We reported on the performance of that native campaign truthfully and explained to the client why we believed it flunked. This was our point of reference for future campaigns and sort of like proof of our editorial expertise. The next time, this client had more trust in us and gave us more space to do our work. The next campaign generated great results, with an overall CPI score of over 800, which was great.”

Bringing everyone to the data table with Content Insights

A lot of media organizations and newsrooms struggle with data literacy and don’t really know how to act on the data that’s available to them. Tadic shared with us how their editorial staff uses Content Insights to keep everyone in the loop and measure progress:

“Recently, we introduced Monday collegiums where teams from the Croatian and Serbian offices analyze data and insights from the previous week. The Executive Editor of Netokracija, Mia Biberovic ensured these meetings became a part of editorial routine. Gradually, authors felt encouraged to explore the Content Insights app independently, on a daily basis. They know the meaning of each metric so understanding their performance came naturally. Spontaneously, we stopped using Google Analytics because Content Insights brought much more value to us.”

When talking about which metrics matter the most for Netokracija, Tadic explained it’s primarily about engagement:

“We’re particularly focused on the Read Depth score and can proudly say it’s always exceptionally high, around 90%. This is a very valuable information for us because it tells us our readers read the content attentively, all the way to the end. We’ve managed to earn their focus.”

It was interesting to hear more about the healthy competition and conversations that take place within Netokracija’s editorial team:

“Once Content Insights introduced author’s dashboard and enabled the CPI score to get calculated through all three behavioral models (exposure, engagement, and loyalty) and attached it to each individual author, writers at Netokracija began monitoring their scores daily and somewhat competing with one another. This was a healthy and fun kind of competition though. More importantly, having access to data proved to us we created a great team of writers who are all exceptionally good for different things. So, everyone had their place and was better at something compared to the rest of the team.”  

We thank Tadic for this lively conversation! At Content Insights, we are excited to continue to support the growth of Netokracija and help them successfully introduce subscriptions in the near future.

If you’re interested in what Content Insights can do for your media organization, feel free to schedule a demo or contact us via email at hi@contentinsights.com. 

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