Every media company is on a journey to win over and retain audience members. Whether companies are aware of it or not, each piece of content developed, employee hired and partnership made is centered around improving their ability to serve their audiences.
That’s why it’s essential to develop a thorough understanding of your company’s community, including their likes and dislikes and the value they see in your company.
Logan Jaffe, an engagement reporter at Pro Publica, puts it simply: “If we can’t listen to people who are already engaging with us on a basic level, how will we listen to people who aren’t yet — to the communities we’re pursuing new engagement with?”
Media companies that hope to grow must, therefore, go above and beyond to please consumers. And that often involves listening to both the individual and collective needs, opinions and interests of their community members.
To paint a picture of what listening to the public could look like for you, read on to discover how successful media companies are listening to their communities. Once you know how to appeal to their interests and habits, you can build new and better relationships between consumers and your brand.
Seek Out Direct Feedback From Community Members
Give your company the information it needs to grow by allowing consumers to share their opinions and preferences related to your brand.
To prompt actionable feedback around your company’s digital content and user experience, all you have to do is ask visitors how your brand can improve.
News publisher Santa Cruz Local, for instance, conducts interviews with community members to learn more about them and the issues that matter. As a result, the publisher has produced a business model that earns 80% of its revenue from readers.
Poynter Editor Kristen Hare explains how the content at Santa Cruz Local is based on “listening to the community to understand what kind of news it wants, what questions it has and offering different paths to getting it.”
But listening to your community members doesn’t need to be time-consuming or require much effort. Companies can successfully collect information from users through relevant Q&As, live chats and even conversations online.
“We are better journalists when we listen to the community that we serve and really make sure that those viewers and that audience have a seat at the table,” states Erica Hill-Rodriguez, KTTV’s news director.
In other words, you can get clarity on how to entertain and support consumers simply by listening to what they have to say.
Monitor Engagement Data
Your user data is a precious resource that can help you make sense of your community’s behavior and preferences. While many publishers tend to fixate on drawing insights from metrics like page views and unique visitors, media companies are beginning to focus more on engagement data.
“We don’t chase eyeballs, we focus on engagement,” states The Nation’s president, Erin O’Mara. “And an engaged community is really meaningful, not just the way they interact with us but also how they can be ambassadors for The Nation.”
As a 155-year old publication that continues to thrive amid the pandemic, The Nation has secured a highly interested community by understanding how to best engage its community.
Follow in The Nation’s footsteps by listening to your user’s engagement data to know what topics and tools successfully spark engagement across your audience.
Extract Insights to Personalize Online Experiences
You can show consumers that you listen to and understand their interests by creating a digital experience based on their behavior.
Dig into your user data to pull useful insights that can help personalize the way they’re served content. That way, you’ll increase the likelihood that your digital visitors will engage with your content and messages.
“When we know who our users are, we’re able to communicate in a more personalized and targeted way with different kinds of subscription messaging,” says Ben Cotton, VP of product at the New York Times.
In an ideal world, your online user experience should be magnetic — every movement from your community members should trigger an adjustment on your digital property. As a result, you’ll serve up content and messages they’re interested in and ready to respond to.
With consumers controlling a significant portion of company revenue, business decisions must hang on every action, word and pattern made by your community. And taking the time to understand and support your readers will show them that your company is worthy of their time.