NMA Spotlight Event: Personalization, exclusivity, connection: the strategies and learnings of content producers to establish a solid, loyal relationship with their audiences.
Long gone is the time when an audience was composed of readers, listeners, viewers only. Nowadays media companies – be it news publications or entertainment platforms – are aware that in order to attract and retain an audience, they need to treat them as community members. They are avid for high-quality content, but also for the possibility to connect with the brand and with others. The strategies that go along with that were discussed in our latest Spotlight event – and in this blog post we bring you the highlights of the exchange.
Creating engagement via inbox is a strategy that many news publishers are tapping into. Take The New York Times, for example, who have a portfolio of 70 different scheduled news briefings via emails, with the daily briefing edition reaching 17 million subscribers, according to the Digital News Report 2020 from Reuters Institute.
For the German publisher Die Zeit, newsletters have also been the main tool to connect with readers. The company has recently invested in two emailing formats: Freunde der ZEIT, an engagement tool to turn current subscribers into community members, and was wir lesen, to attract book lovers into joining the club – both with a potential reach of thousands of subscribers.
But what makes this “old school” format so appealing nowadays? Lennart Schneider, Project Manager at die ZEIT, names a few reasons: owning the data and contact channels with the audience, reaching people from a broad age group and being able to establish a personal tone, for example, by having members of the teams signing the newsletters as authors, with their profile photos included.
“That’s one way to build the community and to have a conversation between people and not a company and anonymous mass”, he says.
What if you are not a well-established publisher, but rather a newly-launched platform: how to start building your community? Social media channels can be a good first step, as the founders of Medieninsider experienced.
In 2020 Matthias Bannert and Marvin Schade co-founded a digital subscription-based magazine covering the media industry, in Germany and internationally. They started sharing articles and opening conversations on Facebook and LinkedIn groups as an initial step to get attention and convert them into readers and subscribers (today they have more than 1000 subscribers and a reach of around 13,000 unique users a month).
“We think we are not only a publisher, we are also like a meeting point in the media industry”, says Marvin. The next steps for the company point towards building a stronger relationship with the audience, through sharing exclusive content and meetings where members can exchange.
Strategies for adopting a personal tone and starting a conversation through existing platforms also work for content creators doing a mix of news and entertainment.
Charlotte Richter-Kiewning founded The Distriqt, a young publishing house focusing on female millennials, with the vision of starting a special interest streaming service for the target group. The company has built a loyal and engaged community especially via Instagram, and one key aspect for this success is that Charlotte puts her own personal perspective of being a woman into the content. “This is probably the main reason why other females from our target group can connect to the brand, because they believe it’s authentic”, she reflects.
In addition to the personal touch, another potential for building community through social media is to have the audience see the creation process. Matt Smith founded The Lunicorn to deliver content and analysis on tech and innovation issues in a “Youtube storytelling” format. This year he decided to do a 100-days video challenge – an experiment with content as well as with audience reception. After 73 days of posting videos, Matt highlights the feedback from the audience that is following the journey “They’re seeing the mistakes, they’re seeing the successes, and that helps to really solidify the initial community that you’re building.”
Want to see the full presentation and panel discussion with the speakers? We got you covered: watch the recording.
Our last Spotlight event of the season is taking place on May 26th – this time for content creators. Want to be part? Register now.
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