The Roar Journey: Two Years And Counting
It’s been nearly six months since our last Insider post (not counting the one on our Tuk Tuk Quotes campaign) and we believe we can safely say that we’ve grown significantly since then, something that our most frequent readers would not have failed to notice.
In fact, we’ve come a long way from our very beginnings as a humble little website trying to bridge the dearth in Sri Lanka-centric online content. Today, we’re a full-fledged media organisation that not only brings engaging stories to our (more than only Lankan!) audiences but has also become a credible, balanced, source for news and information.
It is, however, a strange story, as all stories are. The decisive moment came when a catastrophic flood hit the island. Recognising the evils of scattered coverage, we came together to work on a live blog which ran for four consecutive days. What it made us realise is that now, more than ever, is the need for a platform that does more than just publish disconnected news bites. Although Roar had taken up occasional current affairs reporting mid last year, what we realised this May is that we had the potential ‒ and to some extent, the resources ‒ to do more.
Although it may have taken a while to fine-tune, our re-vamped Current Affairs & Reports section now keeps a constant tab on the most pressing issues, and brings you the most comprehensive reports possible. Of course, this, coupled with the diversity of our regular articles, eventually made us address the need to segregate our content ‒ and this resulted in a little bit of experimenting.
In fact, looking back, our journey has been one big experiment, for the most part at least. The first of those two major recent experiments was the launch of our Sinhala content portal to cater to the most widely spoken language in the country. Noticing a void in the Sinhala online content space, we decided to go for it. To our pleasant surprise, Roar සිංහල turned out to be a tremendous hit, and we’ve amassed a loyal (and growing) following. In response, we’ve invested more in the portal, which will enable us to keep pushing out better content in the foreseeable future.
The second experiment was segregating our Lifestyle and Tech-related content, giving them their own cozy homes under the main Roar.lk banner. Roar Life and Roar Tech will now continue to do what they’ve been doing best. All our current affairs-related content, which readers have come to love, will reside on Roar.lk, which will be our primary platform. Don’t worry, though, you can easily switch between the platform by clicking on the easily accessible Roar ribbon.
Although now having proven successful, these weren’t always easy moves to make. When we first created a new social media feed for the ‘Lifestyle’ section, for instance, we dubbed it ‘Roar Lite’ ‒ the logic behind it being that this was where all our ‘light-hearted’ content would go. We soon realised, however, that we’d underestimated the nature of our content: just because it was a feature story, it did not mean an article was necessarily light-hearted. Realising the error of our ways, we made a small change, and Roar ‘Lite’ soon became Roar Life ‒ now re-defined to include not just ‘lifestyle’ content, but a vast range of topics pertaining to life in Sri Lanka.
As a wise man once said (probably), the road to success is long, winding, and full of potholes. As a humble little content startup, we’ve also had to face our fair share of problems. From not being able to afford a decent workspace to crafting a unique identity in a noisy online space, we’ve faced them all. And yes, we do expect more challenges on the path ahead.
But for now, with over 200,000 monthly visitors, and an average month-over-month session growth clocking at 41%, we’ve long since been noticed for our unique brand of well-researched, credible content. This growth has also made it possible for us to forge partnerships with brands such as John Keells Holdings, and Nestle, and even with events such as Lanka Comic Con. Along the way, we were also featured by Tech In Asia, and Scroll.in, which leads us to believe that we must be doing something right.
With a full-time staff of fourteen and a small army of contributors and specialist contributors, our journey will continue.
This post isn’t merely about how far, we’ve come, however; because, more than anything, our largest debt by far, is to you, our readers. Your encouragement, and feedback, is what pushes us to keep improving, continuously. If not for you, this very post wouldn’t even exist today. So, do keep your feedback and ideas coming our way. And just in case you were wondering, the experimenting and creating won’t end here. We’ve got a few interesting projects in the works, so stay tuned!