Working with what you’ve got – The Fokus.se story

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Good Old Trend

At the end of last week we released the second part of our web project for the news magazine Fokus. It’s a wiki with the 100 most powerful people in Sweden, to begin with. Also, we built in Twingly functionality which aggregates what bloggers say about each person.

Working with a small, but strong, brand like Fokus requires careful planning. Below I’ll share some thoughts on how we reasoned in choosing these specific projects.

1. First things first: get up to speed. Before we could do anything interesting or exotic we had to make sure that Fokus regular website was okay. Our hypotheses was that a lot of bloggers read the magazine and would have blogged about the articles – if only they weere published online. We found several examples that supported this idea.

We went through the magazine to find the most blog worthy and reoccurring features. We made sure that these articles were easy to link to, and easy to find each week.

WordPress was used to make a very non-blog looking site that focused on the main story of each printed issue. The editorial staff adds a few extra features to the main story every week; sound clips from an interview, more pictures or a movie for instance.

To enhance the weekly magazine feel, we made a parallel navigation structure that made it easy to find specific articles in each issue. This, along with some WordPress plugin goodies such as Lightbox and a few others made the site simple, easy to use and SEO-friendly. So far so good.

2. Making it interesting. The next step was the launch of the wiki that I mentioned earlier. Fokus expressed a wish to engage political bloggers in some way – an idea that we fully supported. Our suggestion was a wiki with politically and socially interesting people. This, with some sort of tracking functionality, would create reference points around which discussions in the blogosphere could circle. It also creates a natural meeting ground between the people writing the blogs, and the people being written about.

We figured that the only thing we could guarantee that everyone in the wiki would be interested in was – well – themsselves. Everyone has ego-googled one time or another. This is a way of simplifying ego-searching in the Swedish blogosphere, if you will. As a launch, and an editorial start to the wiki, it was decided that Fokus should rank the 100 most powerful people in Sweden.

We could not use Swedish Wikipedia as they wouldn’t have allowed anyone to add themselves the way Fokus have intended. Also, the tracking would have been difficult to implement. The financial aspect of being able to sell advertising was of course a part of this decision as well. We looked at developing our own ping-service but took the decision that a modification of Twingly´s widget was the best way to go. Primelabs were very helpful and positive in developing this. As far as we know, the combination of these two services is unique – but please correct me if I’m wrong here.

3. Results. It’s far too early to tell what the results are going to be, but the initial response we got from bloggers and MSM has been overwhelmingly positive so far. I took some screenshots from the night of the launch that you can look at here if you like:

Dagens Nyheter
fokus-dn.png

E24
fokus-e24.png

Expressen
fokus-expressen.png

Internetworld
fokus-iw.png

Svenska Dagbladet
fokus-svd.png

SVT
fokus-svt.png

Bear in mind that the projects were adjusted to fit both the budget, and the amount of hours that could be used for updating the site each week. A lot of things could have been done differently, if the conditions were different. This is always the case, but I thought that it deserved being pointed out specifically to avoid a discussion about the wrong things.

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