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How Santa Cruz Local proved the value of community engagement to staff

Santa Cruz Local CEO Kara Meyberg Guzman united her team behind the practice of community engagement by building a business and editorial case for listening, patient relationship building, and a membership model. Their listening has already paid off in membership gains, audience loyalty, and editorial victories.

After some Santa Cruz Local staffers initially questioned the purpose of community engagement, CEO Kara Meyberg Guzman wanted to help every member of her team understand its value and show how it can be woven into the outlet’s editorial process.

With guidance from jesikah maria ross, Guzman concentrated on defining engagement for her team, grounding it in their mission, and rolling out a specific plan with segmented audiences. All of this work was embedded in an ongoing strategic planning process that married business and audience goals on a longer timeline.

The resulting membership revenue, email newsletter growth, and ongoing engagement from audience members helped unite the team in their commitment to audience engagement as a practice that served audiences and drives their sustainability.