Become a Subscription-Building Powerhouse: Creating Value for Your Community


  • To improve customer acquisition and subscriber retention, media organizations need to provide community members with value exchanges centered around their needs. 
  • Viafoura data highlights how customers can boost retention rates by 20-40% for users who interact with social tools over a six-month period.
  • 64% of consumers are interested in exchanging their information for personalized services.
  • Over half of audiences become dissatisfied if they need to subscribe to more than one service to access content. 
  • Social spaces, personalized news feeds, interactive Q&As/AMAs, live blogs, solutions journalism, featuring diverse voices in content, interactive online events and a single sign-on solution can all build value for media communities. 
  • Viafoura delivers engagement and personalization tools that help media organizations win over their audience’s attention, data and loyalty.

As all successful media companies know, a digital visitor isn’t going to return to a website or app unless it’s worth their time, energy and potentially even money. Publishers must, therefore, go out of their way to create value for digital visitors in exchange for their loyalty as dedicated followers. 

Naturally, this value exchange is most effective when products, content and experiences offered by media organizations are made with their audience’s interests and needs in mind.

According to trainers from the Media Development Investment Fund, “[your] audience will immediately [recognize] the value you provide, if all the decisions you make are centered around providing value to your community.”

So if you’re hoping to boost customer acquisition rates and subscriber retention, you’ll need to implement a wide range of actions and strategies that benefit your end users.

You can start injecting value for your digital community directly into your company’s content and experiences through the following tactics:

1. Social spaces

Media companies can add value to their online communities through a wide range of conversation-based widgets, including commenting sections and live chats. These social tools give digital visitors the ability to engage with content and form relationships with like-minded people.

In fact, customers who implement Viafoura’s social tools experience a 20-40% boost in retention six months after users interact with them.

2. Personalized News Feeds

Personalization is essential for any company that wants to win over visitor attention and stand out from its competitors. 

“Improving the interface with personalization… strengthens the audience connection,” explains Rande Price, research director at Digital Content Next. “As the competition for audience grows tighter, it’s necessary to take actions that support developing and maintain a strong relationship with the audience.”

And since 64% of consumers are willing to hand over their information in return for customized services, personalized content feeds are highly appealing to digital visitors.

3. Interactive Q&As/AMAs

By hosting live Q&As and AMAs, media organizations allow digital community members to have their burning questions answered.

These chat-based activities can also be used to generate audience excitement around major milestone events and connect visitors with trusted subject matter experts.

4. Live Blogs

Live blogs have been exploding in popularity amid the pandemic, civil unrest, presidential election and other critical emergencies.

Acting as a single spot for ongoing, reliable updates, this live publishing format helps visitors view and interact with the latest information in a seamless way. 

The Philadelphia Inquirer even calls its live update format “a conversion monster” as it encourages visitors to return to its site for trusted, easy-to-access content.

5. Solutions Journalism

Every news media organization strives to serve up dependable content. Unfortunately, that on its own isn’t always enough to overcome news fatigue or make a positive impact on audiences. 

Solutions journalism — a method for creating news content that goes beyond a news issue and explores related solutions or next steps — is quickly becoming a widely valued approach to journalism.

You can use solutions journalism to avoid overwhelming audience members with doom and gloom and persuade them to return for unique, in-depth news coverage.

6. Featuring Diverse Perspectives in Content

Audiences value content that represents their opinions, demographics and concerns.

Consider amplifying voices from your organization’s community by powering content with different perspectives and questions from audience members. Promoting racial, cultural and gender diversity within content teams also helps media organizations create content that better reflects their communities.

7. Hosting Interactive Events Online

Any event can theoretically attract audience members through subject matter. But when events are executed online, media companies can integrate an additional interactive component that allows attendees to engage with other people. 

“Given the pandemic and the restrictions, the incentive to join an event and the need for interactivity is more important than ever,” states Nikki Claire, who runs events and client services for Hearst UK.

8. A Single Sign-On Solution

There’s nothing more frustrating than losing the interest of an audience simply because they can’t sign in to tools and experiences easily.

Deloitte reports that 53% of audiences become dissatisfied if they need to subscribe to several services to access content. 

With a single sign-on solution, you can give your business’ digital community complete access to all the tools and content they crave without having to create multiple accounts. 

No matter what your company’s digital community looks like, their attention comes at a cost. Media organizations must meet and exceed the needs of their audiences in return for visitor’s attention, data and money. 

By teaming up with Viafoura, organizations can feed into this value exchange with critical engagement and personalization tools. As a result, customers can successfully transform casual visitors into registered users and loyal subscribers.

Here’s Why Live Blogs Are Critical for Covering Civil Unrest

From the storming of Capitol Hill to the protests in 2020 against police brutality, tensions between civilians and authorities have led to dangerous clashes recently. And although it’s unfortunate, civil unrest has been and will continue to be part of the world we live in. 

Media companies are now pursuing new, effective ways to deliver critical information and updates in these types of disturbances to keep news readers informed and engaged. That’s why live blogs are quickly becoming the content publishing format of choice for organizations that want to cover civil unrest thoroughly. 

Not only do live blogs give newsrooms a way to share quick updates and lengthier articles, but they also encourage readers to stay on publishers’ digital properties for longer. 

Max Willens, a senior reporter at Digiday, highlights how “live blogs, live update or briefing pages,… drive more content consumption, deliver stronger subscriber conversion, and tend to play an important role in subscriber retention.” 

Gain a deeper understanding of how live blogs are vital for strengthening your company’s news coverage and digital community around civil unrest below.

One Trusted Place To Gather Trusted Information

There’s nothing more convenient for newsreaders in times of crisis than having all the available news and information on a page that’s easy-to-access and navigate. 

Take the National Post, for example.

The National Post ran a live blog in February of 2020 to help people make sense of how COVID-19 was quickly changing the world around them. This news hub was used to deliver key facts on public safety, real-time updates and related longer-form content. 

Just as the National Post relied on a live blog to share ongoing information about the pandemic in a quick and accessible way, live blogs can help guide people through any crisis. 

With live blogs, you can encourage readers to return to your trusted content for accurate updates instead of social media, which is littered with misinformation.

Provide Live Updates From Mobile Devices

When media organizations cover civil unrest, the most urgent content often comes from journalists that are in the field, reporting on the events as they happen.

Many journalists already share their play-by-plays at protests and riots directly on Twitter to get critical information out as fast as possible. But as mentioned above, Twitter isn’t a trusted space for news. 

Media organizations shouldn’t have to worry about having their trusted content be associated with all the misinformation on social media. 

As a brand-safe alternative, live blogs give your journalists a way to instantly post updates to the public on your own, reliable platform. 

“The people who are actively tweeting are already halfway there to covering things live,” states Marc Lacey, assistant managing editor of live at The New York Times. 

Lacey adds that running the live update format on the Times’ platform will elevate its digital property.

“It’s more a sense of, we can reach a whole lot more people than you can on your Twitter account,” Lacey says.

Allow People To Interact and Engage With Information

Engaging your audience on your website or app is an effective way to encourage people to return to your website, build relationships with other audience members and eventually pay for a subscription. 

At The Philadelphia Inquirer, live blogs proved to have double the conversion rate of traditional articles. 

“We hadn’t developed the habit you need to get people to come back and make us a part of their every day,” explains Patrick Kerkstra, managing editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer. “The live blog has helped with that.”

You can enhance your live blog by allowing your audience members to follow your updates and interact with others. That way, you’ll be able to persuade your visitors to remain on your digital properties for trusted information and a satisfying on-site experience.

A Safe Platform To Voice Opinions

During any period of civil unrest, people are bound to have strong, conflicting opinions. Media organizations can provide a safe social space for people to discuss their thoughts, questions and concerns by allowing comments on their live blogs.

Keep in mind that organizations can leverage a sophisticated moderation system to protect conversation quality by detecting and blocking toxic user behavior. 

“[Without moderation], trolls quickly become the vocal minority, and can quickly overtake and drown out more relevant conversation,” says Leigh Adams, the director of moderation solutions at Viafoura. 

Live blogs with moderated social spaces give organizations, journalists and audience members the opportunity to connect through meaningful and productive discussions. You can also position your live blog to be a safe space for minority groups to voice their thoughts. 

In a nutshell, live blogs are powerful reporting tools that can capture your audience’s attention and keep readers engaged around trusted content when it matters most. And since the past few months have been remarkably unpredictable and chaotic, it’s important to start preparing your organization now for unexpected civil disturbances.

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