Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Rethink how you’re delivering content. Scalawag is discovering new audiences and building new relationships through its virtual events.
Produce and publish continuously to meet audience needsSubscribe to Updates Organize to provide an “always on, always there” flow of digital-first content matched to the life rhythms and habits of your target audiences, their time and attention availability, and their particular moments of need, interest and problems they need solving, across the platforms they use. Put differently, publish at the convenience of your chosen audiences instead of the convenience of the newsroom and print schedule. End fruitless either/or battles between digital versus print by emphasizing digital first, print later and better.
Big Picture A primer on why news organizations must produce and publish continuously to meet audience needs
Audiences expect fresh digital news on their own schedule. Yet, too many newsrooms provide news on their own print-driven schedules.
Plan Understand the gaps in your news organization and how to close them
What are your organization’s gaps in producing and publishing continuously to meet audience needs? Take these assessments to find out.
In order to overcome them, first understand the barriers to success in producing and publishing continuously to meet audience needs.
A quick grid showing the FROM > TO view of success in producing and publishing continuously to meet audience needs.
Three of measures of success arise from using digital first continuous publishing to better meet audience needs: 1) outputs achieved toward more continuous publishing; 2) outcomes achieved in audience growth by day part; and 3) capabilities built across the newsroom.
Do Actions to close the gap
Launch a pop-up newsletter when you anticipate a swell in a brand-new audience to capitalize on unique news moments.
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: Create an online subscription-based platform that produces editorial content focused on amplifying positive stories within the Black community, raising awareness regarding relevant issues that affect the community at the local, state and national level.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: To grow revenue, work within your means and do things you are passionate about. Hone in on your team’s skill sets and partner with third-party companies to monetize your content across platforms.
Here’s an idea to steal and adapt: Simplify your newsletter format and workflow so that one person can realistically own the products and experiment.
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: Take a beat that your newsroom owns – in this case, the Buffalo Bills – and leverage your journalists’ expertise on the subject, paired with an appropriate platform like social video, to build reader engagement and generate sponsorships.
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: When a person visits your homepage, they are looking to you to tell them what they should be interested in. Bring it back to life by updating it more frequently and paying close attention to what they’re interested in.
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: 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: When you have strong ongoing coverage of an important news story or issue, present the updates in such a way that even the most casual reader can follow along.
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.
Match deadlines to audience windows, change shifts, and modify key editorial meetings in terms of timing, purpose and participation.
Use these steps to create – then execute – a roadmap by which to arrive at a true digital first workflow within a reasonable time frame.
Use three steps to broaden skills in support of more effective workflows: (1) Define and build the skills required for digital publishing ‘self-sufficiency’ across the newsroom; (2) reposition producers and digitally skilled specialists to help others practice new skills while also being masters of enhanced storytelling and innovators; and (3) think in terms of roles instead of positions while shifting many traditional positions into combinations of roles.
Two essential tools are key to digital transformation: a universal budget and a communications app for messaging, coordination and file access. In addition, a key role (for an individual or team) is the ‘tool master’ who continually identifies tools that work.
Print and digital platforms serve different user needs, with different cycles and rhythms, and require different organizational capabilities. But a bifurcated approach divides up labor instead of maximizing coordination and it perpetuates a losing either/or-ism (“print first or digital first”) that ignore the fact that local news organization’s must be “audience-first.”
Technology and tool issues, roles and skills and work and workflow all interrelate. Yet, technology challenges can be the most frustrating because of their drag on effectiveness and efficiency. Some of these issues are easy to deal with; others are brutal.