Case Study – Authority Site from Scratch

hi-res-audio-screenshotToday we highlight HiResAudioCentral.com and team who built an authority site from scratch using a curation first strategy.

We’ll cover why and how they got started plus what they found as the biggest benefit of curation. We also dive into some examples of content they publish and cover how they monetize their site.

Building an Authority Site

When Hi Res Audio Central first launched their portal website, their goal was to be at the forefront of a new audio technology called hi-res audio (HRA).

The plan for the site was that it would be the epicenter of news, opinions, and information focusing on this soon to be popular technology.

HRA was just starting to be adopted by some of the biggest players in the market. The team at Hi Res Audio Central knew that they were on the cutting edge of the industry.

This meant that Hi Res Audio Central needed to stay ahead of the sound revolution or they would get left behind.

Becoming the Epicenter of a Market

Early on, Hi Res Audio Central realized that they needed help if they were going to become the most authoritative website in the HRA space that includes artists, audiophiles, producers, engineers, manufactures, and film sound designers.

Because of the broad range of topics, there was almost no way for people interested in HRA to find the content they wanted simply by searching following a few websites or searching the Internet.

“Our job is to deliver all the various viewpoints concerning high-res audio,”

rg-editor-imageExplains Ron Goldberg, website director and chief editor.

“We didn’t want to become just another voice in the crowd. Instead, we wanted to provide trusted content and editorials using our team’s extensive experience in a space that is changing rapidly.”

Hi Res Audio Central needed three things to maintain a website that delivers a respected editorial voice:

  • To find the best and most trusted content in their niche
  • To deliver content efficiently and cost effectively
  • To increase website traffic and audience engagement

All 3 of these goals perfectly align with a content curation. Once they decided that curation would be the foundation of their content strategy, the next step was to find a tool that would do the job effectively and efficiently.

Solution: Hi Res Audio Central Selected Curation Suite

The reporters and editors at Hi Res Audio Central were faced with the daily challenge of sifting everything on the HRA topic, discarding useless content, and eliminating duplicate content.

Doing all of this by hand or even in email and feed readers was extremely costly and time consuming.

Understanding this, they turned to Curation Suite Platform that has all the tools that empower users to publish high-quality, engaging content in less time.

Curation Suite enables filtering of niche focused content based on trusted authority sites, social share data, trending data, MOZ scores, and top news sources. These capabilities transform the curation process from a tedious, time-intensive, and laborious filtering progression into a high-quality birds-eye-view of the best of the best content.

Results

Hi Res Audio Central experienced immediate results. They saved time, reduced costs, produced authoritative content, and increased audience engagement.

“Curation Suite lets us gather a breadth of relevant content that our audience would otherwise never be exposed to,” says Ron. “It also extends our original content by letting us easily add additional contextual interest.”

Reduced the Cost of Generating Content

Imagine five contributors who spend at least one hour each day looking for content in a narrow niche market. Then add the time it takes to comb through the content to find what was worth publishing. All of this time could easily add up to more than 40 hours each week.

“Without this software, we’d need a staff of researchers and reporters to be the authoritative source in our topic area,” Ron explains. “With Curation Suite, our editors can focus on creative decisions and audience engagement, which is what good curation is all about.”

Increased Audience Engagement

Audience engagement is one of the best ways to measure the success of a piece of content, as well as the usefulness of a website.

“Curation Suite is a star performer. Our original content would never have gotten the audience that it does without our ability to be authoritative on our subject. Without Curation Suite, we could not have accomplished this,” shares Ron.

What Does Hi Res Audio Central Think of Content Suite?

Because of these results, Curation Suite continues to be an indispensable component to the success of HiResAudio.com.

“Curation Suite helps you amplify your own publication’s worthiness by having additional reportage, and an opportunity for the editor to make editorial decisions. It doesn’t replace reporters, it extends them. I can’t imagine how you could be a successful publication without it,” says Ron with a look of satisfaction.

Keys to Success in Building an Authority Site

HIResAudioCentral started with a curation first strategy. They published on a consistent basis the latest news/stories/posts/reviews they could find on HI RES Audio.

A few good examples of these curations are:

Study: Consumers Not Satisfied with Quality of Audio Systems – A high quality curation that cites a study of music consumers. You’ll notice in this post they highlight some of the study findings. This is a very effective way of doing commentary for a curation when citing industry studies, stats, or reports.

The HRAC team also a has a whole section of their site dedicated to gear reviews and gear review curations with their own commentary:

Gear Review: Sony’s NW-ZX100 Hi-Res Music Player – This curation cites a review from a trusted authority site CNET.

Gear Review: Pioneer XDP-100R High-Resolution Audio Player – Here’s another one where they cite a review from TechHive. Notice in this curation they also add an additional link to Pioneer adding additional value for their readers.

The Best Phones With Hi-Res Audio – Another quick single source curation example.

Horizontal Topic Curation

The HRAC team also does a good job of curating around their main topic or what we call horizontal topics.

Horizontal topic curation is when you curate content on a topic that is related to the main topic of your authority. Many of the horizontal curations HRAC publishes is about the music industry and consumer behavior like these examples:

In Shift to Streaming, Music Business Has Lost Billions – In this example HRAC cites a report from the New York Times about music streaming and revenue. You’ll also notice on this curation they include a few additional links to other stories that are relevant. It’s the additional links and commentary like this that has enabled HRAC to build authority in this market. Sure they could have just stopped at the single cited story or link but they went further. Through their knowledge they connected multiple stories or news together. It’s these details like this that ultimately build authority– especially when using a strategy like curation.

Beyond Curation & Thought Leadership

It was always in HRAC’s plan to release unique content. It’s worth highlighting again something Ron said above:

“Curation Suite is a star performer. Our original content would never have gotten the audience that it does without our ability to be authoritative on our subject. Without Curation Suite, we could not have accomplished this,”

Here’s some articles that are examples of how they were able to transfer this authority into unique content that engaged their audience.

Geddy Lee Wants Steven Wilson to Mix Rush Catalog in 5.1 – This post really took off for them in Facebook with well over 2.5K Facebook shares and continued traffic even today.

How Do You Know a Music File Is Hi Res? The Audio Professor Crunches The Numbers – Once you’ve built authority in a market it allows you to expand your publishing. For instance, you can get guest posts like this one from Ken C. Pohlmann a well-known audio educator, consultant and author.

HRAC Exclusive: Graham Nash Is All About Hi-Res for This Path Tonight Solo Album and Future CSNY Projects – Another really good example is an exclusive interview Matt Mettler did (HRAC team member) with Graham Nash.

hires-advert-200How They Monetize

Hi Res Audio Central monetizes with a series of sponsorships, advertising partnerships and advertising networks.

Just by looking at their site you can see their advertising placements and banner ads.

Above the fold is a top banner ad. In the sidebar you’ll see a series of banner ads. Also, below the content is one more banner ad.

These ads are a mix of their own exclusive site advertisers and ad networks like Google Adsense. They also provide potential advertisers with a media kit you can download and view.

This mix of sponsorships and advertising works

Final Thoughts & Lessons Learned

It’s worth noting that HRAC publishes content a few times a week. They really publish when they find something interesting or noteworthy in the market. There’s a few keys that enabled them to build authority quickly:

  • They had a defined authority goal (leader in HiRes Audio news)
  • They published consistently (huge reason why they created authority)
  • They used tools that saved time and resources (Curation Suite)

Not only have they built an authority site but through their publishing efforts they also have built a respectable following on both Facebook and Twitter.

The growth of HIResAudioCentral.com has truly been amazing and they are just getting started.