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Successful strategies in the most creative digital newsrooms: the story behind El orden Mundial

Reading time 5 m.

What do The Economist, Financial Times, The Atlantic, News Stateman and Le Monde Diplomatique have in common? All of them are major benchmarks of independent digital media such as “El orden Mundial“.

A recipe for success

Cartography, pop-geo-politics and reggaeton in electoral campaigns. These are some of the ingredients that inspire contents for El Orden Mundial.

El Orden Mundial is a news site specialised in international politics whose content strategy follows many of the best practices of the major traditional media. The seriousness of the Financial Times, the approach and creativity of The Economist or Le Monde Diplomatique and the digital strategies of The Atlantic are some of its most direct inspirations. All this, together with his peculiar vision of international politics, has resulted in more than 4,000 subscribers, mostly international politics fans.

“The key is to find ways in which you tell people about deep issues through something that is familiar” Eduardo Saldaña, Director of El Orden Mundial.

What kind of people make up the editorial staff of El Orden Mundial?

As in some specialised media, their team is made up of professionals from different disciplines that go beyond journalism: some have studies in international relations, others are geographers or even experts in data and infographics.

They have a very solid cartographers team, as they are known for the creation of their famous storytelling maps. In addition, they cooperate with external academics or experts in specific subjects to be able to cover it all with enough depth.

Two editors ensure that each piece complies with the rules of their style manual, approve the format and approach and take care of Orth typographic corrections.

How does such a unique newsroom work?

The majority of its audience is closely related to academia, with students and teachers alike turning to El Orden Mundial as a reference tool.

As such, El Orden Mundial seeks to generate useful content for its readers, unpacking complex issues and presenting them in eye-catching, easy-to-interpret ways.

The team identifies everyday situations that can explain the background to more complex international policy issues: why does a banking employee use Whatsapp on his business phone with all the privacy conflicts that this raises, why do Asian characters suddenly appear in Marvel movies, why does Nicolás Maduro use a reggaeton song in his election campaign, and why does he use a reggaeton song in his election campaign?

The editorial director usually closes the topic and the focus of each content with the analyst 3-4 weeks in advance (except for unexpected events, in these cases the times are shortened).

The frequency of publication of content is very spaced out, publishing an average of 7 articles a week, which added to the maps and the ephemeris make a total of 20 pieces a week. As they generate evergreen contents, their life cycle is very long and it is easy to re-publish old pieces due to some related current event.

In addition to publishing their content on the web, they have a well-structured social media strategy (Twitter, Instagram) that helps them to spread the word around.

The power of maps to atract readers and turn them into loyal subscribers

From the very beginning, the editorial staff of El oden Mundial realized that maps were the pieces with the highest reach, particularly on social media. Many of them went viral on Twitter and brought in new readers. Its main cartography references are Le Monde Diplomatique in France and Limes in Italy.

Despite being pieces that grabbed attention very quickly, they needed a context and an explanation to accompany them. For this very reason, they decided to create a map library within their own website and thus became the first Spanish medium to offer something of the kind. Today, maps are one of their main sources of traffic and subscribers.

The conversion funnel, the cornerstone of your editorial strategy

The maps are the key pieces from which they developed their own conversion funnel. They realised that the more complex maps were perfect for the last phase of the funnel, targeting specialised users looking for very specific information.

To capture the attention of a wider audience and gradually reach new readers, they started alternating the publication of more dense and elaborate content with simpler ones.

They know that the user experience is fundamental in all phases of the funnel, so they pay special attention to the usability of the website, they take great care with the front pages and choose the headlines and the beginning of each content. They have recently started to apply AB testing strategies that help them decide which content is the most appropriate to keep open or which is reserved for subscribers.

Seeing that the most common causes for subscribers to cancel are economic reasons and lack of time, they decided to launch their free pop-geopolitics podcast. By drawing analogies with reggaeton, k-pop or video games, they manage to arouse the curiosity of a wider young audience on a niche topic such as international politics. This strategy with the flexibility of the podcast format, made it easier to attract loyal potential subscribers.

A succesfull subscription model

From the very beginning, 4 years ago, El Orden Mundial decided to create a subscription-only business model. In most media outlets, a high volume of breaking news every day works effectively to generate a good web traffic. This attracts advertisers and translates into ad revenue.

El Orden Mundial, however, follows the opposite formula. They have a very low frequency of posting and do not create pure new content very often. They focus more on providing quality and depth information to a specialized, niche, but also very loyal, audience. Their biggest source of revenue comes from subscriptions, and their intention in the future is to continue to deliver value instead of volume.

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