Audiences cannot be an afterthought.
Reaching new audiencesSubscribe to Updates Reaching audiences (and making it easy for audiences to discover you) should be an essential function of any news enterprise. Part of the challenge, however, is identifying the right audience — and then using the right tactics to attract them. This section of Better News guides you through key decisions to help your organization reach new audiences, and proven tactics for doing so.
Big Picture A primer on reaching new audiences
Reaching audiences is no longer just another function of marketing and circulation teams in traditional business departments of media organizations. The role of attracting readers/viewers/listeners belongs to everyone, including (and especially!) the newsroom.
Plan Strategic considerations for reaching new audiences
In this new guide, engagement practitioners Adriana Gallardo, Kavolshaia Howze, Terry Parris Jr., and Natalie Yahr share insights on building relationships, building trust, finding people, and staying accountable.
In a post on American Press Institute, Stephanie Castellano details how two journalists turned to a number of creative ways to reach students and families—before and during the coronavirus pandemic.
Capital Public Radio’s jesikah maria ross lays out how a busy newsroom can—in five steps—make space for new perspectives by developing stories in participation with underrepresented members of the community.
How can you make sure your essential reporting is reaching the public? Check out these ideas for distributing information in new ways.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Democrat and Chronicle of Rochester, N.Y., is attracting new readers in the area’s nine most diverse ZIP codes by transforming its storytelling and moving its engagement into long-overlooked neighborhoods.
Read how the German startup uses data to drive editorial strategy and syndicate sports content.
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.
Three ways newsrooms can reorient toward getting content in front of the right audiences.
A breakdown of how the subscriber funnel works with the goal of retaining your audiences.
Analytics platform Parse.ly provides a beginner’s guide for getting to the bottom of who your target audience is and what they need from you.
Here’s how emerging roles like growth editors are taking shape in newsrooms and ensuring that great journalism finds the right audiences.
Do Tactics to help you reach new audiences
From favorite diners to long-shuttered dance clubs, readers of all ages love waxing about the way things used to be. Nostalgia is a beat that can work for any newsroom.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: A mobile newsroom offers authentic and organic opportunities to connect with historically underrepresented communities and report on them in ways we never have before.
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: As a public media organization, don’t be satisfied by serving as a pass-through for PBS and NPR national programming. Expand your news reporting team and go beyond radio, creating a more robust website and digital app where people can access the latest news and information, as well as engage with your journalists.
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 are 10 ideas to steal and adapt: From audience-focused initiatives to changing internal systems, these original case studies are the most-viewed in 2022 on BetterNews.org.
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: 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: What does your target audience like…to drink? When the Vermont brewery Lawson’s Finest Liquids approached Vermont Public Radio about a craft beer in honor of the station’s award-winning narrative podcast, VPR saw an opportunity to reach new listeners.
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: Grow your audience — including younger, more diverse readers — by using non-traditional social media platforms to promote stories and establish lines of communication where readers feel like they can interact with a person, not a company.
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: Use Instagram to listen to your audience, especially during a major breaking news event. Provide your readers with explainers and relevant service journalism. Let their concerns and questions guide important parts of your coverage.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Use your reporting, digital, photography and video resources, and take advantage of the growing popularity of streaming platforms and mobile-friendly video. Present existing coverage in an audience-focused newscast that’s attractive to new sponsors.
The engagement with readers was not only a service for community members but also a critical feedback loop for The COVID Tracking Project.
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.
Texas Tribune assistant director for audience Bobby Blanchard outlines the responsibilities of audience journalists at his publication.
Bureau Local’s Shirish Kulkarni encourages journalists to center service to communities in their daily work.
With 70% of readers coming to the Tampa Bay Times through mobile, text messaging seemed like an ideal way to deliver election news.
From December to June, La Estrella’s online readership grew by more than 500%.
In a post for the Reynolds Journalism Institute, Documented audience editor Nicolás Ríos shares a reminder that “our readers often know more than we do.”
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: KPCC-LAist used direct mail distribution to send thousands of kid-friendly mailers to L.A. families without internet to share COVID-19 resources
Early childhood reporter Mariana Dale weaves some basic engagement methods into her daily work.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As a statewide public media TV network, University of North Carolina TV, or UNC-TV, is building a new and larger audience by producing digital content while staying committed to its traditional broadcast audience.
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: By focusing on news-writing basics, the public radio station in Kansas City turned compelling talk-show conversations into reader-friendly digital content.
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.
This article outlines five tips for getting reporting to the audiences who need it most.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Engaging with and fundraising to a digital-first audience doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel or put your content behind a paywall. But you may need to get input from people across different departments and create small cross-departmental teams with different expertise to complete effective fundraising campaigns.
As the website experiments with targeted content for specific audiences, it’s also testing out services that will serve its broader audiences.
Volunteers helped the four-person startup newsroom take on a citizens agenda approach and build a comprehensive voter guide.
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: As part of a newsroom reorganization, The Philadelphia Inquirer built an audience development team to support its transition to a digital subscription business. It’s a team anchored by versatility and diversification. We wanted to create a data-informed newsroom (not data-led, as solid news judgment is just as important as ever) to achieve responsible reach and loyalty at scale for its journalism.
Kristin Walters of Illinois Newsroom breaks down essential logistics to consider when planning in-person events.
Kristen Hare shares how four local newsrooms are working to reach new audiences.
EdNC chief growth officer Nation Hahn discusses Education NC’s Reach NC Voices, a program designed to foster conversations around education policy.
In the summer of 2017, the Listening Post Collective conducted an Information Ecosystem Assessment in Omaha to get an understanding of information flow and map opportunities that may improve access to information and news coverage.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Durango Herald partnered with several organizations to use a solutions journalism approach to covering youth suicide, a sensitive subject that the publication had received criticism for in past coverage. The approach won over the publication’s critics and improved the community conversation around the difficult topic. The paper funded its coverage through a grant from the Solutions Journalism Network.
This article explores steps the newsroom took to establish the mini-publisher teams and the experiments they’ve run.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Virginian-Pilot used data to find a new beat topic to reach new audiences. Now, the beat is consistently one of the highest-performing in the newsroom.
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.
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.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Carolina Public Press, a nonprofit investigative news outlet in North Carolina, created a spreadsheet to “score” each of its news stories for reach and impact — giving it the data and insight needed to improve its reporting, identify skill and capability gaps, and help its reporting reach more people and make a bigger difference.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel developed a social strategy to reach new audiences with three parts: best practices to encourage sharing, programming Facebook and creating social-exclusive content.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Bay Area News Group had moved to a digital first publishing platform but quickly realized some writers and editors were finding an audience for their content better than others. They realized they needed to get everyone on the same page — with a suite of digital content guides.
The Institute for Nonprofit News provides case studies for 28 projects tasked with reaching a distinct audience.
Practical tips for understanding your current audience and attracting new ones.
This research analyzes 100 million article headlines to find what works for attracting audiences from Twitter and Facebook.
The Trusting News Project’s findings help guide journalists to earn their audience’s trust through social media strategies.
Billy Penn founder Jim Brady discusses audience-building approaches for reaching a millennial audience from scratch.
Some local news organizations are finding success reaching new audiences through Nextdoor, a private social network that allows news partners to tailor their approach to a neighborhood level.
Here’s how GroundSource enables journalists to connect with communities via text messaging and messaging apps —
and why it works for a specific audience.
The Tow Center for Digital Journalism’s research on chat apps highlights how major news organizations have used various messaging apps to reach mobile audiences.
Tips and ideas from publishers that have found success using Facebook’s interest targeting feature to reach niche audiences.
Audiences have choices – lots of choices. So, it is imperative that your newsroom understand the needs and interest of audiences from their perspective, not yours.