Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: As a local news organization, you can solicit drawings from children and publish a special section thanking essential employees who have kept your community going throughout the pandemic. It’s a great way to provide some positive news — and generate ad revenue along the way.
Drive audience growth and profitability from a “mini-publisher” perspectiveSubscribe to Updates Drive growth and profitability in your chosen target audience segments and key publishing platforms by developing cross-functional “mini-publisher” teams and team leaders who use a general management perspective and strong sense of ownership and accountability to drive performance. Expand the scope of these teams’ responsibility beyond content creation, content distribution and audience development to include revenue generation, financial contribution and brand development.
Big Picture A primer on why you should use a "mini-publisher" perspective to drive audience growth and revenue
The competitive challenges confronting metro, local and regional news enterprises demand general management perspective and skill across the newsroom.
Plan Understand the gaps in your news organization and how to close them
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: The Indianapolis Star created a playbook that helps journalists build a business plan for multimedia projects, including how to engage target audiences, acquire subscribers and increase advertising and sponsorships.
Three ways newsrooms can reorient toward getting content in front of the right audiences.
What gaps do you have in using the mini-publisher perspective? Use these tools to find out.
In order to overcome them, first understand the barriers to success at driving audience growth and profitability from a “mini-publisher” perspective.
Success demands shifting your news organization away from the church/state functional structure of the newspaper past to a portfolio of general manager led, audience-first, and platform-driven businesses – all of which are guided by senior leaders whose time and attention is rebalanced toward medium and longer term transformation requirements.
Bring together all the elements of success and sustainability in a mini-publisher “P&L scorecard.” The scorecard for a mini-publisher team has three parts: audience growth and value, market growth and share, and financial contribution.
Do Actions to close the gap
In the digital subscription cohort for alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program, five teams were challenged to think creatively about growing and retaining digital audiences through experimentation. In this Better News piece, each team shares the challenge it took on over the four months and highlights its biggest lessons.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: If you have the expertise to cover a topic with a robust audience, consider moving beyond a “destination website,” app or videos, and try producing a podcast on that topic. And give the podcast time to grow its audience.
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: 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: 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: Use your newsroom talent and expertise to put on live events that show off your depth as an organization and offer new ways for audiences to engage with your work.
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: Refocus your community coverage to build trust and cultivate new, diverse audiences — growing subscriptions along the way.
The criteria should combine assessing the audiences/platforms with the greatest revenue potential and the most readiness. Most importantly: deferring ‘getting going’ in favor of analysis runs a risk of not getting going soon enough. And, mini-publisher leaders and teams learn a lot by ‘just doing it’ – by learning about mini-publishing by being mini-publishers.
Legacy metros, locals and regionals have too few general managers overseeing too few businesses, products and services. Mini-publisher teams help close that gap.
There are four keys to success: Give mini-publisher teams a charter and ask them to put together plans needed for team success; regularly review and manage team performance; require mini-publisher teams to use the team discipline for performance; and provide mini-publisher teams with the background and support they need to master “economics for journalists” basics
Today, the most important job of senior newsroom leaders is to transform their newsrooms by putting the Table Stakes in place. Absent this, the newsroom – indeed, the whole organization – cannot escape decline into irrelevance and even extinction.