Lynn Yoffee, news director for BioWorld, made a good point in submitting their 2020 first place, SIPAward-winning entry this year for Best New or Relaunched Website.
“Interestingly, though the SIPA category for this entry is under the banner of marketing,” she wrote. “Please note that the entire project was driven by the editorial team with support from technology and business teams.”
Too often in the past editorial teams were siloed from important functions of an organization that didn’t involve publications. Not anymore. Many editorial teams now drive events—in-person and virtual—lead podcasts, host webinars, suggest topics, work with marketing and speak at conferences.
When it comes to the websites, the pairing makes sense. With data and analytics what they are now, editorial teams can see what content is holding their audience’s attention and for how long—and isn’t that what a good website is about? Okay, technology, user experience and sensible design are also crucial, but if not driving the process, editorial must certainly be involved.
Here are more keys from BioWorld’s winning transformation:
Speed. “In this fast-paced world of instant news, we felt compelled to reduce our delivery timeline to remain competitive,” Yoffee wrote. The new platform technology enabled them to transition from a next-day cycle to same-day news delivery.
Brand consolidation. Pharmaceutical and medical technology industries are closer aligned than we think. “This was an opportunity to display the news across all customer groups, increasing our prospects for cross sales,” Yoffee wrote. “Simultaneously, we integrated BioWorld Insight’s analysis with daily news instead of weekly delivery.”
Device agnostic. “Responsive web design meant our customers could easily read on the device of their choice.” Just checked, it also looks great on my phone.
Data visualization. Data was always a big part of BioWorld’s reporting. “Interactive infographics make it easier to track trends,” Yoffee wrote. “We adopted Infogram as our data visualization tool of choice. Data dashboards pin each news service page.”
Enhanced search. How often has a website’s search frustrated us? Here, the taxonomy-driven platform and search engine help customers to understand better, track trends and go deeper. And it helps their own journalists “who must comb archives quickly as they prep for interviews to deliver articles within about six hours.”
It’s harder to cheat. The PDFs needed to go. “Anecdotally we knew that customers were sharing without purchasing multi-seat site licenses. Ultimately, we want customers to transition to the website. This was at the core of the transformation mission.” So pushing customers to the site more actively, they could stop the pirate sharing. “Importantly, we could finally set the stage to develop analytics to better understand their news needs and introduce two new revenue streams: digital advertising and ecommerce.”
Easy navigation. The portal page (shown here) gives a quick glance at the three sites and their headlines of the day, “which is a terrific promotional aspect,” Yoffee noted. Visitors hit a paywall on most stories if they don’t subscribe—which means just getting the first sentence and a call to subscribe. Now customers have a “one-stop shop” which makes it easier to sell site-wide access.
A news hub. Customers still receive an e-newsletter which includes headlines and introductory content, but it is linked to the site. Each microsite is structured the same way for UX continuity with the latest headlines plus a daily infographic. Top news headlines are followed by a series of sections devoted to the most vital topics relative to each news service. There’s also a Breaking News bar if the day requires it.
Numbers don’t lie. The new BioWorld platform launched in November. Traffic increased substantially those first few months. from a daily average of 1,600 to nearly 5,500. Sessions per month went up from an average 40.5K to 146K.
The site is more flexible. As mentioned, they will be able to do advertising and ecommerce now, crisis pages and special reports, plus multimedia formats such as podcasts. And they also plan to add another news service focused on very early stage drug discovery, called BioWorld Science. “A relatively easy addition with our microsite-based formula.” I also like the excellent Celebrating 30 Years of BioWorld special article leading to a—you guessed it—30% discount off subscriptions.
Easier sales. A BioWorld Premium Subscribe button allows for buying a quick single subscription of all services.
Congratulations to the BioWorld team on a well-deserved SIPAward.