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Building loyalty and community: A primer

Building loyalty and community is about connecting with your target audiences — and making it easy for folks to connect with each other.

You’ve already launched your plans for reaching and hooking your target audiences through tactics learned in the “reaching new audiences” section of Better News. So now what?

From an “audience funnel” perspective, reaching new audiences is the top (“get them to come”). The bottom of the funnel is about advocacy and financial support (“get them to pay”).

Loyalty and community is the middle (“get them to stay”).

This section guides you through tactics to increase loyalty and build community among new audiences and established users. Everything you do at this stage is aimed at increasing the value you offer your audiences and increasing engagement on their end in turn. At the strategic level, it’s important to ensure your goals for your target audience align with your business vision. Start by analyzing data and asking questions about your audience, such as:

  • Have you successfully reached your target audiences/segments?
  • What journeys do your users take once they reach your site? Do they read additional content, watch videos, join discussions in the comments or share articles on their favorite social networks?
  • What feedback does your audience offer? How are you collecting that feedback?
  • How does audience loyalty translate to success for your business goals? Does your strategy rely on subscriptions or memberships, for example?
  • How are you measuring audience loyalty? Which metrics matter most?

The tactical part of this audience development stage includes multiple layers, from social media to email newsletters to improving the user experience of your digital platforms. Some areas you’ll likely want to address include:

  • Using social media to build community, not just drive clicks
  • Improving user experience, including the time it takes to load your pages
  • Forging relationships between journalists and readers
  • Enticing audience members to go to the next level, whether that’s buying a subscription or becoming an advocate
  • Using email and other platforms to continually reach your audience through their preferred delivery method

You can use a variety of methods to increase loyalty and build community among your target audiences, but an effective strategy means you’ve succeeded in fulfilling the vision you identified in the beginning. After implementing a successful approach, you’ve not only attracted the right audience by producing great journalism and experiences — you’ve also built a lasting relationship with an audience that invests in your work.