In spring 2019, the Winnipeg Free Press launched a yearlong pilot project through which the city’s faith groups help fund additional religious coverage.
Building loyalty and communitySubscribe to Updates The “middle of the funnel” — building loyalty and community among your target audience — is a critically important stage of audience development. Encouraging and fostering “engagement” helps you build long-term relationships, improves connectedness between you and your audiences, and helps people in the community connect with each other. Internally, the strategies and tactics you pursue to build loyalty and community cross traditional lines among the newsroom, marketing, product and others.
Big Picture A primer on building loyalty and community
Building loyalty and community is about connecting with your target audiences — and making it easy for folks to connect with each other.
Plan Strategic considerations for building loyalty and community
By centering community engagement, WFAE has identified opportunities for more ambitious journalism.
How can you make sure your essential reporting is reaching the public? Check out these ideas for distributing information in new ways.
This article explores ways in which journalists can immediately start applying the research to their newsrooms—as well as the need to develop measurement strategies.
A breakdown of how the subscriber funnel works with the goal of retaining your audiences.
Ideas on how to bridge the rural/urban community reporting divide.
The Knight Foundation shares the most significant findings from a report on the habits and interests of highly engaged podcast listeners.
Listen to an audio recording from the 2017 ONA Conference about Chartbeat’s data analysis about reader loyalty trends.
As readers looked to deepen relationships with trusted news sources after the last presidential election, 2017 became the year publishers needed to double-down on loyalty strategies, according to this perspective published by Nieman Lab.
Parse.ly CEO Sachin Kamdar discusses the most important things publishers should know about audience loyalty — including keeping a focus on the big picture and how loyalty translates into business results.
Here’s how to turn your audience into advocates—and why this strategy makes a difference for your brand.
Do Tactics to help you build loyalty and community
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Learn how The Fresno Bee improved engagement with Latino audiences through regional collaboration, experimentation with new story topics, newsletters and virtual events.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use several approaches, including audience roundtables, mobile newsrooms and source audits, to rebuild trust and engage with the Black community, whose achievements have often been ignored or downplayed by local news organizations.
Recognize your role as a member of “the media,” lean into complexity and nuance, and get to know the people you aim to serve.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As a digital news start-up, the Border Belt Independent partners with local newspapers to provide them with long-form stories at no cost. It helps grow our audience and provides them with in-depth reporting their readers expect.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: To build your opinion content, solicit responses from readers who have registered for a free account on your site. Pick the best snippets of a commenter’s ideas, creating a broader range of voices on curated discussions of local issues. Partner with a local university to foster and analyze these discussions.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Accelerate digital subscription growth by encouraging reader participation and answering reader questions.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Grow your audience and paid online subscription base by bridging significant gaps in reaching key segments, including Black readers.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Flip the narrative and add solutions-oriented reporting to your coverage, rather than solely focusing on problems in your community. The solutions journalism beat can include stories about people, programs and processes working to fill gaps in equity, break down barriers and make your region a better place.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Attract and serve a Spanish-speaking audience not through AI translation, but through showing respect — building capacity and being careful to ensure the information you publish is accurate, timely and culturally competent.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: If you want to build trust with your readers, you need to let them see you as more than a two-dimensional byline. The Des Moines Register created an entertainment/lifestyle newsletter – authored by a rotation of staffers, filled with personality and authenticity and focused on the things that bring joy – to help bridge the divide between newsroom and reader.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Improve your news organization’s coverage, audience reach and brand recognition among Black readers by amplifying stories that focus on the Black community.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As an independent nonprofit newsroom, move beyond philanthropy as a core strategy and begin reader revenue and community membership experiments in order to move toward sustainability.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Gannett’s Knoxville News Sentinel in Tennessee is telling more diverse, authentic stories that are making an impact, thanks to a new audience engagement initiative called the Digital Advisory Group, or “the DAG.” As part of a 2021 pilot, Knox News paired a Facebook group with one-year digital subscription trials to listen to Black voices and earn their trust. The DAG united community members and journalists to engage one another for more authentic content.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Develop a program that bundles locally produced goods from local businesses with subscription offers. For example, you can work with a local coffee roaster, purchasing 1-pound bags of coffee, at half-price, to combine with an online-only subscription or weekend print delivery and full online access.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: By telling and sharing stories in the Latinx community (beginning with the pandemic’s impact on people, families, businesses), you can do what good newsrooms do — reflect the communities they serve.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Don’t just settle for being a publication that covers the African American community. Transform your newsroom into one that tells stories for and with Black residents. Grow relationships and trust, increase the number of African American voices on your platforms and continuously work to reflect the community demographics in your workforce.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Deepen your relationship with readers and expand your news coverage of communities with a team of freelancers, creating digital hubs and newsletters to organize and promote coverage.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: WFAE and La Noticia both knew that immigration issues affecting Latinos in Charlotte needed more coverage. They decided the best way to address it was together.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Choose an issue you’re already covering that’s of deep importance to your community. Go beyond the story and rally your newsroom and your viewers to make a concrete positive impact.
Add the voice of the community to your newsroom with valuable lessons from Canopy Atlanta, the Greensboro News & Record, the San Diego Union-Tribune and more.
The Mexico-based newsroom overhauled its editorial workflow to directly answer questions and develop content based on those answers.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: WFAE kicked off a community podcast competition that sparked hundreds of new podcast ideas, revealed issues important to the community and empowered residents of all ethnicities and backgrounds to share their stories.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Dallas Morning News is bringing in big audience numbers through browser push notifications.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: When planning arts coverage, ignore the calendar and ditch stories pegged to upcoming performances, art openings, festivals and events. Instead, focus on news, people and what the arts say about your city.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Greeley Tribune in Colorado used a “mini-publisher” team to grow revenue around dining cards that offer customers “buy-one, get-one” deals at local restaurants and breweries.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to developing a citizens agenda and covering the issues that matter most to your audiences.
As the website experiments with targeted content for specific audiences, it’s also testing out services that will serve its broader audiences.
Transparify has changed how inewsource journalists think about reporting and writing stories.
Volunteers helped the four-person startup newsroom take on a citizens agenda approach and build a comprehensive voter guide.
Steal this idea: Clarifying mission statements let audiences know what KPCC reporters are focused on.
Kristin Walters of Illinois Newsroom breaks down essential logistics to consider when planning in-person events.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Seattle Times blended the best of its Pulitzer-winning breaking news practices into the reporting of a major enterprise project. The result was a mix of breaking news and in-depth explanatory stories that better served audiences.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The team at EdNC couldn’t find an ideal way to gauge the loyalty of its audiences. So they created their own customizable data tool.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Sun News in Myrtle Beach produced bio videos of every member of its newsroom and posted them weekly to its social media channels to introduce a fairly new, retooled staff and build closer relationships with its audiences.
Engaged, community-motivated journalism satisfies a public-service mission and generates powerful levers for earning audience support.
Email is key to reaching individual readers and measuring the success of subscription marketing. This primer from API’s Reader Revenue Toolkit covers technical and programmatic approaches to email capture.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As it expanded into the post-secondary beat, EdNC blitzed all 58 community colleges across North Carolina in one week to build relationships, surface issues, identify sources, and begin building a wholly new audience. You, too, can take the time to really get to know a targeted audience.
Engagement has become a nebulous (or meaningless) term. Here’s a definition with tactical guidance for how to bring audiences into your journalism.
Use Hearken’s 10-step guide of tips and exercises to foster a newsroom culture that embraces meaningful engagement with your audience.
A how-to guide to help journalists strengthen strategy, skills and tactics for effective community engagement.
Here’s how theSkimm used readers as ambassadors to build its audience.
Membership programs aren’t just for consumer revenue — they can also be designed as loyalty drivers.
The New York Times Reader Center aims “to make deeper reader engagement more core to its editorial processes.”
Here’s how the Financial Times met its most engaged audience’s needs with an email newsletter.
Can a chat bot be an effective way to establish a connection with readers? Nieman Lab examines one attempt by a local news organization.
The New York Times launched a redesign that resulted in a “shift from platform to reader” to focus on building reader loyalty.
NPR built a personal finance Facebook group that attracted more than 12,000 members within six months and became a community operating almost entirely without NPR’s involvement.