Take this quiz for a quick read on where your efforts stand vis a vis this Table Stake.
Publish on the platforms used by your targeted audiencesSubscribe to Updates Go to your audiences rather than expecting them to come to you. Take responsibility for publishing and promoting on the platforms used by each of your chosen target audiences. Do so in ways that serve their needs and interests in using each platform and take best advantage of the particular features and dynamics of the platforms themselves. In other words: Be platform optimal, not platform agnostic.
Big Picture A primer on why news organizations must publish on the platforms used by their target audiences
The target audience has gone elsewhere and other platforms increasingly control distribution, which means it’s now the responsibility of the newsroom to drive discoverability, reach and engagement.
Plan Understand the gaps in your news organization and how to close them
In order to overcome them, first understand the barriers to success at publishing on the platforms used by your target audiences.
Publishing on the platforms that your target audiences use requires your newsroom to know how best to use each platform and how to manage your portfolio of platforms. The net effect is a publishing platform plan, action and performance that are strategically crafted, effectively managed, resilient to external changes and robust in growing your share of audience.
There’s a wide variety of data to monitor platform performance. Avoid unnecessary complexity and also choose and monitor indicators that are not addressable by data – such as user experience, revenue and costs.
Do Actions to close the gap
These simple newsletter tips can make a huge difference in a campaign’s success – no matter if the goal is to raise funds or develop a wider audience.
Don’t assume you know what a generation wants from their local news if you’re not in that generation. And don’t generalize. Active listening sessions will help you hone in on specific coverage gaps.
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: If you want to easily gauge your audience and facilitate immediate responses and manage your relationship with your audience, use a two-way text messaging program.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Learn how to build trust in the Black community by conducting extensive research, creating products and content that serve this audience, and showing up for the community.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Understand your opportunities for audience growth through research, experimentation and listening. Change your reporting process to focus more on making news for and with local Black communities instead of just about them. At the same time, grow awareness through marketing and outreach, and leverage partnerships to expand your reach and understanding as well as to build trust.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Build trusted relationships with people who have lived without local news sources for years, by showing up for these communities, listening to them and delivering the content they most want. Make sure the coverage is for these communities, not simply about them.
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: To grow your online audience, push your staff away from a print mindset, adjust your workflows and cut stories that used to be valued for print reasons in order to pursue digitally-successful stories.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Shifting from a print-first publishing workflow to a digital-first process helps create and encourage an audience-first philosophy in newsrooms.
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: 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.
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: If you want to maximize your digital subscription growth, you must have a focused plan on not only how to grow your subscriber base, but also how to retain and improve the engagement and loyalty of your current subscribers.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Newsday is driving digital subscriptions and engagement with targeted newsletters.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States, the KPCC-LAist newsroom has invited questions from its audience. Nearly 4,000 people have written in. More than half of them have opted into newsletters, and nearly all have received a personal answer.
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.
New platforms emerge regularly, different audiences gravitate to them, anxiety about “being on” them ensue, and then this cycle repeats until the next platform emerges. Avoid this by taking a strategic view of developing and effectively managing the portfolio of platforms used by your audiences.
Consider different purposes for platforms, use criteria tailored to those purposes, and use a management process for selecting platforms.
Publishing plans for each platform begin with the audience in mind, not the platform.
You need to name specific platform “owners” — who operates as a GM or publisher — taking responsibility for all aspects of platform performance, including strategy, operations, customers, costs and revenues.
Experimentation is essential because existing digital platforms evolve; new ones emerge; and, how to use digital platforms to publish content and build loyal audiences demands continuous improvement and innovation.