Participants in Media Initiatives Center’s School of Media Management received theoretical knowledge in the realms of content promotion strategy, marketing, project creation, resource, and financial management.
The school has several stages, the first one has already ended, and the second one is starting.
The lack of experience in considering media as a business in Armenia was the focus of the course discussions. The participants were also helped to overcome the stereotype that media cannot be a profitable business.
During the course, sectoral and narrow topics were developed, which are not on the agenda but can have a target audience and a wide spread. They learned to package the idea, analyze the strengths and weaknesses, imagine the needs of their audience and identify interested advertisers.
The path from an idea to a finished project is always complicated, related not only to money but also to skills, and imagining the end result.
Mariam Tashchyan, journalist of EcoNews.am’s environmental information site, has completed her project within the framework of the school, she can implement it at any moment and apply for financial support.
“As a rule, organizational issues are not so important for journalists, but in order to succeed, it is important to work out every detail and put it in the right place,” she said.
Within three months, Mariam’s idea has become a project with a financial budget, marketing strategy, and fundraising channels.
“We realized that it is possible to have stability and an alternative even in crisis situations, for example, through subscription. If you have a small budget, then you can survive until the times are peaceful. When my project comes to life, then I can say that the course became valuable in practice as well,” she said.
Ruzanna Bagratunyan is the editor of “Kinoashkharh” (“FilmWorld”), the media management school has taught her to think about financial planning along with content development. Since 2012, when they moved from the newspaper domain to the online one, the question arose of how to attract alternative money for the new formats: multimedia, podcasts, to provide constant English translation.
“My idea is film tourism, which I am trying to implement at the beginning of the year, the financial part is not finalized yet. The course really helped to competently organize our work, but it would be good to include media management specialists in the program in the future, who will know the problems from the inside and help overcome them with their experience,” said Ruzanna.
According to her, it is important to imagine the sequence of all the chains of the project, because success largely depends on the sequence of steps.
Media management school specialists helped to implement current business planning with clear examples, taking into account the changes in the digital environment.
Today, traditional media is heavily dependent on social media for monetization, because that’s where both the audience and the potential advertiser are.
Digital marketing specialist Siranush Yeghiazaryan says that journalists are very cautious about social media opportunities, they stick to websites and do not consider them as the main source of advertising.
According to her, the participants of the course, although they are actively interested in the topic, are unable to effectively apply marketing tools in practice. “I think this also comes from the position of the management staff of the editorial office. It is clear that for proper social media marketing, the media also has a problem with resources and time, editorial offices do not want to have a separate mass media specialist, therefore they do not have a social media strategy and use social network pages as needed, not taking into account the requirements of the algorithm.
According to her, if the pages of social networks are derivative pages of the website, then resources may not be worth wasting. And if social media is viewed as an opportunity to bring in income, to increase the audience, then there is a need for a special strategy, which should be derived from the media’s marketing strategy.
“We talked with the participants about the marketing toolkit in social networks, and the features of its use. For example, how to make a short, urgent post or video for social media from the place of a press conference, which can have a much greater distribution, and discussion on the social network itself, increasing the engagement rate of the page, than writing a standard text about it and posting it on the site when its interest is already has faded. “There will probably come a time when social media will become the main location for news,” she said.
The school was taught by local specialists who received special training using the online learning methodology of the Deutsche Welle Academy. In addition to the weekly classes, there were also additional meetings with speakers and guests from Armenia and abroad.
The School of Media Management aims to equip the field with independent and self-sufficient media projects that will be both quality and profitable. That way, journalists will be able to find suitable space, tools, and ways to present and sell for each project.
And the most important thing is that these projects do not depend on the whims of the media field and advertising money, so that money, the idea, and the author meet competently.