How to determine you are engaging the right people with the right content.
Content verticals and franchisesSubscribe to Updates Targeting a narrow audience with niche (or “vertical”) content can open doors to building loyal — and potentially paying — readers. Producing vertical content and building franchises (or sub-brands) requires deep subject-matter expertise, specific audience development approaches and a holistic mini-publisher (or general management) perspective. Doing this well demands even more thorough understanding of what your target audience wants and needs.
Big Picture A primer on content verticals and franchises
Production of quality niche content that consistently reaches the right audience is a powerful, valuable opportunity for a news organization. Done right, verticals and franchises can grow a new audience, increase engagement among existing audiences and cultivate paying supporters.
Plan Strategic considerations around content verticals
A report on best practices across single-issue news sites.
How to change your thinking to identify, track and serve an audience
Think clearly about the who, what, when, where and why of a target audience.
Success manifests itself both internally in skills, attitudes, behaviors and ways of working with one another and externally in how audiences and advertisers perceive and, then, put a value on your efforts.
Do Tips and tactic for improving your content verticals
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Consider reaching a national audience that cares about a topic your newsroom covers well. The national audience may not subscribe because the rest of your reporting isn’t as relevant to them. How could you get them to read, interact with, and most importantly, financially support your coverage?
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.
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.
As the website experiments with targeted content for specific audiences, it’s also testing out services that will serve its broader audiences.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Miami Herald in August 2018 created Sports Pass, a sports-only digital subscription plan, allowing sports diehards both in and out of market to subscribe at a lower rate than a full digital subscription.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Sacramento Bee used a SMART-goal setting process to find audiences willing to pay for its work.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., created cross-disciplinary teams across the company — spanning the newsroom and the sales/marketing side — to launch new products in specific content areas like food, politics and real estate. The initiative resulted in nearly $900,000 in new product revenue and, in the past two years, an increase in digital subscriptions by 250 percent.
The Globe and Mail is launching a cannabis vertical after the country approved recreational use of marijuana. Nieman Lab digs into their plans for content and monetization.
Don’t attempt to create a new franchise vertical or niche site without this advice.
Niche content can be valuable to advertisers and readers alike.
Consider the variables tied to the success of a niche content vertical.
Email can be a very effective tool when targeting specific audiences and building sub-brands.
Think beyond your website when considering how to distribute niche content.