What Traditional Media Companies Can Learn From Social Media Companies?

Over the past decade plus, we’ve seen social media evolve from a trend that kept people connected to arguably the most important and influential medium in modern society. More than just a way to share photos with friends, social media has grown into a space to share information, exchange ideas, and discover new communities. As we’ve seen from countless newspapers who failed to adapt to creating online content, traditional media companies can still learn a lot from social media organizations.

How social media changed consumption

Social media has changed not only the way we interact with each other, but also the way that content is consumed. For better or worse, many users want quick digestible content that they have the option of learning more through either a link to more longform content or the opportunity to react and discuss with other community members. That said, we’re now seeing a growth of social media intelligence, where most users are aware of lazy tactics such as clickbait or misleading headlines, and will have negative emotions towards any organization attempting to generate attention this way.

A traditional media company may look at a social media organization and see that audiences want quick, digestible content and find frustration in the fact that users aren’t sharing their content no matter how digestible it may be. However, these organizations are missing one key factor that social media companies thrive on.

The most successful social media companies thrive because they are able to target users with not just any digestible content, but content that matches their specific interests. By finding out what it is that each user wants to read, enjoys seeing, and is open to discussing, social media organizations can curate each user’s individual feed to provide an onslaught of content designed specifically for them. While this level of personalization can come across as exceedingly intimidating for a small startup that doesn’t have the resources that larger social media brands do, the lesson comes down to one simple point.

Know your audience

By leveraging data from their community to create personalized news feeds, advertising and programming as well as building a group of like-minded individuals who have an interest in discussing and expanding on the shared content, traditional media companies can provide some of the curated content that users love to experience from their favourite social media platforms.

Personalization can turn into a habit forming retention strategy

Through creating a personalized landing page, organizations are able to build habit forming behavior for their users. Many of the most successful social media companies even take it a step further and implement some sort of notification tool such as the bell icon found on both YouTube and Twitter that will immediately alert those who opt-in of any new content through a push notification. It works as not only an effective retention strategy that keeps users coming back for more with daily frequency, but also helps to keep those same users informed on the most recent conversations so that they can contribute to discussions and assist in growing the community.

Typically, people enjoy some sort of routine and familiarity which is why name recognition, brand loyalty and ease of use are such important factors to how people choose to consume online content. What social media companies thrive at is forming habits that in turn help create this brand loyalty. If someone is checking a specific Twitter account for news every day, then they’re more likely to have a positive association with that person and any other content that they may create.

In conclusion

While quality of a product is always the most important thing, social media is teaching all of us that quantity carries far more weight than traditional media companies originally thought. The days of quarterly, monthly, or even weekly papers are a relic of the past, as users now want new content on demand every time they glance at a publication. By providing something new every day, even if it’s just a short blurb or discussion, organizations can give their users a reason to keep coming back and build that positive association and loyalty that all media companies strive for.

Ultimate Guide on Website Personalization: Tools, Ideas, and Real Life Examples

It’s no secret that a successful business organization is built upon powerful marketing strategies. But implementing a successful strategy requires you to consider several factors that foray into the digital and web-based markets, with aspects such as social media presence, paid advertisements, and community engagement playing key roles in marketing success. Amongst these, an often overlooked factor that has a similarly significant impact is website personalization.

Website personalization is a strategy that can result in a noticeable increase in customer engagement, conversions, and brand loyalty. This happens because you offer users a unique experience through the website’s personalization tools, though note that to do this, its important to have information about your users’ preferences and browser behavior.

There are several parts of your website to implement this personalization, and it can feel overwhelming when starting out. But below, we’ll go over some of the best website personalization ideas and examples to help you visualize how you can take advantage of this key aspect of user engagement.

What is website personalization?

Website personalization is a strategy that will allow you to create a unique experience for each visitor, satisfying their needs. Since you will target customers according to their behaviour, you will need data that helps you determine which products or promotions might interest them.

website personalization

Benefits of website personalization

With the website personalization ideas we will present below, you can bring endless benefits to your company. Let’s take a look at some of them.

Customer engagement

You can boost your customer engagement using website personalization tools since you will offer your website’s visitors targeted content relevant to their interests and purposes. Plus, you will be able to generate more leads and accelerate the purchasing experience for any user.

Build loyalty

With all the data you gather from the website personalization tools, you can create a unique marketing experience. That will allow you to build brand loyalty, even with new customers. To get more information, you can even acquire an identity management tool. 

More conversions

If you understand what your clients are looking for, you will know how to construct more effective strategies. Using things such as audience insights reports, you can understand the preferences of all clients. That way, you can show them what they want. In the long run, this will increase your conversions. 

website personalization

Personalized notifications

Remember that website personalization does not stop there since you need to keep in touch with your customers. For instance, you can send emails to all customers offering promotions on items they already bought. Plus, you can also use this to market all the new articles in your store.

Website Personalization Ideas

Now that we’ve answered “what is website personalization,” your next question might be “What are some examples?” So we’ve compiled a list of specific examples that some entities are using to build their web platforms. Take a look to see what you might be able to make use of for your own website personalization.

Show recognition for loyalty

Your users need to feel like they’re a welcome and essential part of your organization. A straightforward way of conveying this is to greet returning customers with a standard greeting and a returnee benefit, such as a discount coupon or a free sample of your digital products. This makes users feel valued as individuals and increases goodwill and brand loyalty, and is used across countless platforms as an effective engagement tool.

Make suggestions

If you already know the browser behaviour of your customers, you can use this data to suggest products based on their buying cycle. Suggesting content or products that are similar to those they’ve already viewed or purchased on your platform can increase convenience as well as the size and number of conversions you receive. A good personalization website example is a platform like Amazon, which provides excellent suggested content through their “related to items you’ve viewed” sections.

website personalization

Customize testimonials

When you are a big company, chances are you offer different services to your customers. For example, let’s say some of them purchase a social media marketing package while others pick an SEO one. Instead of showing them general testimonials, you can classify the users and divide the reviews. That way, clients will only see information regarding their interests.

Unique experience

Companies such as Stitch Fix have become masters when it comes to personalizing the experience of their users. For example, this clothing store collects the information of all users through a series of questions and compares it to the data they already have. As a result, the client will receive hand-picked items that will match their style. Creating your own unique experience can be a great way to make your platform stand out from competitors and remain memorable for your users.

website personalization

Tailoring to their needs

When customers arrive at your landing page, it’s necessary to help them quickly find the content they want. However, users can soon decide to end their session with you if your interface is too complicated or hard to navigate. To resolve this, ensure your website is designed for optimal, intuitive usage and provides essential information in short, easy-to-understand segments. For example, list categories of content you have available in a noticeable, neat format so users can quickly access what they’re looking for.

Storing their progress

If you are looking for the best website personalization examples, you should visit Hulu or Spotify’s platforms for some of the best. Their programs and web platforms will store progress through a selected series and notify users when new episodes or songs are available. In a similar vein, compiling your content offerings into categories and series and offering them as a set can increase the amount of time your users spend engaging with your platform and encourage them to come back and pick up where they left off.

Different background image

To sell your services to a specific client, you need to show them you care. The good news is that you can do this just using a different background image that resonates with their products. For instance, use sports-related visuals for posts, articles, and other media related to

Showing live chat

Even though many companies have a live chat available to all users, a better strategy is choosing which clients could need it. What does that mean? The purpose will be to identify high-value customers that are more likely to make a conversion. That way, your team can have more personal conversions that will increase your sales. 

With all the website personalization ideas that we have explained above, we are sure that you will notice a boost in your customer loyalty in no time. If you’re looking for more ways to use website personalization to spruce up your platform, check out Viafoura’s array of online community engagement solutions to see how we can help.

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.

The Most Effective Retention Strategies for Publishers

As a publisher, you’ve worked hard to create valuable and exciting content. You’ve likely worked even harder to funnel visitors to your site and turn them into paying users. Now you face the biggest challenge of all:

Retaining and engaging your prized subscribers.

There are dozens of retention strategies that publishers can implement to keep their users from clicking the dreaded “unsubscribe” button. Still, not all of them are equally robust. We’ve gathered a few of our favorite and most effective retention strategies below.

Find and Use the Right Engagement Tools

When most publishers think about community building and engagement tools, they think of social media. Social platforms are highly effective because users can’t help checking for the latest updates. The fear of missing out (FOMO) has become one of the most potent audience development and engagement tools.

While social media can help you build an online community or encourage subscribers to develop brand loyalty, it’s not the ideal strategy. Since most of the interactions happen off-site, you have very little access to first-party data and user information.

Why is first-party data so critical? At its core, it’s far more valuable and insightful than third-party data, and it’s yours. It’s the one way you can reliably learn about your audience’s tastes, interests, and habits. It’s also useful for developing personalized experiences through hyper-targeted audience segments.

Additionally, with the fast-approaching end of third-party cookies, gathering data through an external middleman will soon become nearly impossible. So, what can you do instead? Luckily, there are a few other options to keep your users engaged with on-site engagement tools and strategies.

Provide a Personalized Experience Right from the Start

Onboarding a new subscriber and providing them with a personalized experience is one of the most effective yet most underutilized strategies to turn a conversion into a loyal, paying user. According to the American Press Institute (API), fewer than 20% of publishers provide subscribers with personalized content recommendations, newsletters, or discounts.

Similarly, over 90% of publishers realize that onboarding is an invaluable part of the retention process. While 78% typically send a welcome email, less than a quarter tell new subscribers about the benefits they receive or the materials they can now access.

You need to make your audience feel valuable right from the start, and personalization is the best way to do so.

Add Value With Push Notifications and Newsletters

It can take up to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. That’s almost two-thirds of a year! That’s also how long you’ll need to constantly remind users to keep visiting your site before they’ll start doing it out of habit.

Okay, so that’s not true for all subscribers. However, most people just don’t have the time to check a site for the latest news or content every day, especially if the content isn’t always in line with their interests.

With personalized, curated push notifications and newsletters, you can let subscribers know if there’s something they might be interested in seeing. Not only will they feel more valued, but they’re also more likely to start checking your site for new and exciting content habitually.

Most importantly, they won’t want to lose access and will be more likely to renew their subscription when it becomes due.

Focus on Building a Community

We know that most publishers use subscription models to generate an income from their content. However, that shouldn’t be your only goal. If you focus on your audience and foster interaction, you’ll build a much stronger community.

While social media is one of the best places to do so, it doesn’t have to be the only one. There are several ways you can encourage interaction amongst subscribers through exclusive membership areas, virtual events, video tutorials, or webinars. Even something as simple as a comment section can impact your engagement rates, develop your audience, and help you build a community.

Analyze Your Results to Improve Retention Even More

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have a 100% retention rate? As impressive as that sounds, it’s nearly impossible. Even large, global publishers lose subscribers somewhat continually. Instead of becoming discouraged by a canceled or lost subscription, analyze the data to gain insight into why it happened.

The biggest reason for churn is unengaged subscribers. According to API, over 50% of publishers don’t know how to identify at-risk subscribers accurately. If you pinpoint and engage these users, you can significantly increase your retention rates.

Final Word

We’ve shared some of our top retention strategies for publishers and even a few helpful tips. With the right tools, you can improve audience development, enhance your community-building activities, and decrease churn.

Civilize & Monetize: How to Highlight Constructive vs. Toxic Comments


  1. A moderation strategy keeps your digital spaces safe, but should also include how to drive positive conversations
  2. Positive, active communities are lucrative for publishers
    1. 80% of all user registrations are triggered on pages that feature onsite engagement tools and user-generated content.
    2. Registered users spend 225% more time-consuming media content per week.*
      1. *Viafoura study data collected Jan 2019 – May 2019, sampled 14 unique media brands, sampled 85M unique non-registered and 2.5M registered users
  3. Help spark the conversation, pose thoughtful questions
  4. Highlight positive community members, not only does it encourage more engagement, it shows the kind of engagement you’re looking for
  5. Community guidelines must be clear and easily accessible to your community

Online social spaces exist to build value for your community members, generating engagement and loyalty toward your brand. And these tools are most effective when media organizations support them with the right strategies that maximize user activity. 

A moderation strategy, for example, is necessary for businesses to keep their digital social spaces civil. But media companies must go beyond reducing offensive comments and trolls in their social spaces to facilitate ideal behavior from audience members.

“Just as it’s important to have a strategy in place to protect the quality of your on-site social spaces, it’s also crucial to have a strategy to drive positive conversation around your content,” says Leigh Adams, director of moderation solutions at Viafoura. 

In other words, if you want to drive positive behavior from your community members, you’ll need to take action by encouraging users to participate in meaningful, on-topic discussions.

The Value of Activating Productive Discussion

In the digital world, active communities are incredibly lucrative for media companies. 

You can draw on your users’ engagement and behavioral data to personalize their experience and increase your website or app’s appeal to advertisers. Plus, you can assess what people post about to determine the types of content that will resonate the most with your online community. 

Keep in mind that digital conversation tools also connect people together, forming long-lasting relationships that are tied to your brand. 

But you can’t assume that people will become active, model community members unless they understand what kind of discussions and behaviors are expected of them. 

Media organizations that take the time to outline and promote what positive behavior looks like for their communities will be well-positioned to grow attention levels, memberships and various revenue streams. 

“The most thriving and profitable online communities are often the ones where positive behavior is encouraged, demonstrated and rewarded by the community host,” Adams explains. “No matter how intuitive and engaging your moderation tools are, you need to develop a battle plan if you want to activate your community effectively.”

Ultimately, media organizations can take a few simple steps to ensure their communities are overflowing with activity:

Pose Questions for Users To Answer

If you want to increase activity from your digital community, you can spark discussions and debates by showcasing thought-provoking questions.

“One of the best ways to keep discussions in your commenting section buzzing and on-topic is to give your readers a prompt through a question that relates to your content,” Adams states. “Not everyone will understand how you want them to behave if you don’t give them some level of guidance to follow.” 

Consider highlighting questions for community members at the bottom of your content piece. Or, you can pin them as posts within your commenting widget.

Interacting with your community members, even by just getting a conversation started, will give users the direction they need to post comments that are on-topic and positive.

Reward and Highlight Model Behavior

Your community members play a significant role in the success of your business. So how are you taking the time to reward your most active users? 

“By rewarding commenters for positive and productive contributions, you’re incentivizing your most loyal supporters to continue participating in your digital community,” says Adams.

There are several ways you can show readers that you appreciate good behavior. 

You can give top contributors badges based on their participation levels, pin their comments to the top of your commenting widget, invite them to help you moderate live events and send them an email to thank them.

Set Up Clear, Accessible Community Guidelines

Your community guidelines essentially act as a blueprint for acceptable and positive behavior on your website or app. 

According to Adams, you should be direct in your community guidelines — tell your audience exactly what’s expected of their behavior on your digital properties. That includes outlining what kind of behavior isn’t appropriate. 

Adams suggests “your guidelines should make it clear that comments that appear legally objectionable or [encourage/condone] a criminal offense or any form of violence or harassment, will NOT be tolerated.”

Crafting clear community guidelines posted in an easy-to-access spot on your digital property will pave the way for acceptable behavior and positive conversations.

Media organizations must implement strategies to outline, reward, highlight and facilitate positive behavior in their online communities. By doing so, companies can benefit from a closely connected, active and growing audience that can be monetized continuously.

For more information on how to build positive behavior in your community, view a list of community-building best practices here.

Do You Have What It Takes To Build a Thriving Digital Community?

Every digital audience is flowing with revenue-generating power. Whether that power remains untapped or is harnessed to grow your company depends on how well you can transform your audience into a thriving digital community

Future plc, for example, grew its online audience by 56% in one year by nurturing its digital communities with worthwhile content and experiences.

But building and sustaining a profitable community online isn’t a simple walk in the park — it requires attention, effort and a carefully-crafted engagement strategy.

If you’re interested in securing loyal brand supporters and additional revenue-generation opportunities, we’ve created a checklist below that outlines everything you need to build a thriving digital community.

1. Social Tools for Your Owned and Operated Properties

2. Re-Engagement and Retention Techniques

3. A Process for Understanding Your Audience

4. Personalized User Experiences Based on First-Party Data

5. Comment Moderation

1. Social Tools for Your Owned and Operated Properties

You can’t form an active digital community if people don’t feel connected to your brand. For this reason, media companies must encourage their audience members to forge strong relationships with one another right on their websites or apps.  

Adopting conversation-based engagement tools like commenting widgets, live chat tools, and live blogs will allow your company to establish meaningful social connections between your audience members and brand.

A recent analysis of Viafoura data even revealed that people who interact with social tools online have a 20-40% higher retention rate after six months of visiting a site compared to those who do not.

2. Re-Engagement and Retention Techniques

With an abundance of media companies and services competing for your subscriber’s dollar, preventing churn is a constant struggle.

Take video streamers, for example. 

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte, consumers paid for around five streaming services in 2020. And yet, nearly half of the consumers surveyed canceled at least one of them that same year.

It’s important to have a strategy in place to re-engage your community members when their engagement levels begin to drop. That way, you can keep people away from your competitors by gently nudging their focus back toward your brand. 

Consider working with your engagement tool provider to find out when a user becomes unengaged. Once you identify your inactive subscribers or registrants, you can send out targeted offers and content to re-engage them.

3. A Process for Understanding Your Audience

As is true with any connection in the physical world, the relationship between your company and its community members shouldn’t be one-sided. After all, you can’t expect your audience to give you their loyalty, data or money without getting something valuable in return. 

And how could you possibly know what your audience wants if you don’t collect their first-party data, monitor their comments and speak with them to discover their interests?

To fully understand your community members and meet their needs, you’ll also need to turn anonymous visitors into known, registered visitors.

In fact, Piano, a subscription service provider, reports that, on average, registered users are 10x more likely to convert than an anonymous visitor. 

Organizations that use a proper identity management system will have a clear, 360-degree view of audience members and their interests.

4. Personalized User Experiences Based on First-Party Data

Once you have a steady stream of first-party audience data coming in, you can draw actionable insights to personalize the on-site experience for your community members.

“This way, audience fragments become super-served niches and loyal viewers become VIP members — who will stick around and pay off in the long term,” explains Rande Price, research director at the Digital Context Next trade organization. 

It’s also worth noting that people are hungry for personalized experiences. 

According to a research expert on Statista, 90% of U.S. consumers perceive content personalization in marketing to be appealing.

Producing customized experiences around your audience’s behavior will, therefore, keep them coming back to your digital properties for relevant content time and time again.

5. Comment Moderation

Your social tools are critical for forming strong connections between your community members; however, not every internet user will leave positive and productive comments. And unfortunately, toxic comments can damage your digital community.

The Pew Research Center states that one in every ten people will abandon an online service if they see nearby offensive behavior.

Safeguard your brand’s integrity and keep your social spaces inviting by enforcing your community guidelines through an effective moderation system.

We would recommend selecting a moderation system that can immediately detect all 6.5 million variations of each word. It should also be able to evolve alongside your community and understand sentence context for maximum protection.

Whether your end goal is to achieve sustainable revenue growth or simply to serve your audience members better, your success depends on the state of your digital community. The more engaged and connected your community members are, the more valuable they’ll find your membership program or subscription package to be.

The truth is that anyone can create a thriving digital community. All it takes is connecting our business to the right engagement, data-collection and personalization strategies.

Four Reasons Why Consumers Will Pay for a Media Subscription

Subscriptions are, without a doubt, helping to sustain the media industry. As the number of people willing to pay for subscriptions grows, this revenue stream is becoming essential for any media company hoping to survive.

Purse strings may be tight, but sustained growth in subscriptions [is] up by 19% year-on-year,” explains Dan Ison, a consulting partner at Deloitte.  

This means that media companies are witnessing an increasing level of willingness among people to invest in top-quality content and experiences.

And a wealth of information that could help you maximize subscription sales is within your reach. Prepare to find out precisely what makes consumers want to hand over some cash in exchange for a media subscription.

Meaningful Connections

Take a moment to ask yourself a simple question: Would you pay for something you don’t feel connected to? Odds are, you probably wouldn’t.

You can bet that your company’s online visitors will say the same thing: they aren’t going to pay for a subscription if they don’t feel connected to your brand. 

Rob Tornoe, a columnist and cartoonist for Editor and Publisher, notes that successful membership projects are powered by “an editorial mindset that values a strong relationship with readers.” 

But a relationship is a two-way street. In other words, both parties need to participate for it to become meaningful enough to invest time and energy into it. 

Of course, strong relationships can’t be formed with a middleman blocking you from your potential subscribers. Media companies must take back control of their audiences by establishing social connections on their own websites and apps, away from the trolls, misinformation and inaccessible user data on social media.

Once you show your audience members that they can nurture a connection with or around your company in a safe space, your organization will start to matter to them and so will your subscription fee.

Supportive Resources

When people visit a media company’s website or app, they’re often looking to be supported with relevant information, entertainment or social engagement. 

If you can prove to visitors that your organization offers a reliable, trusted source of support, you’ll boost your chances of earning their loyalty as subscribers. 

“[People] trust your [organization] to solve their problem, or achieve their goal, forever,” says Robbie Kellman Baxter, a business strategy consultant. “They take off their ‘consumer hat’, don a ‘member hat’ and stop considering alternatives.”

Being Understood

Humans are naturally driven by habit, meaning that we all demonstrate similar behaviors over and over again. In the digital world, the unique needs and desires of internet users are made visible by these distinct behaviors through first-party data. 

Quartz President Katie Weber states that for companies to achieve subscription growth, they must “focus on really, deeply understanding the audience, what their needs are and where they might be underserved by other publications.” 

Organizations can gain insight into each user’s behavior and habits simply by tapping into their user data. Companies that then take the time to provide personalized experiences for their visitors can strengthen overall interest in their digital offerings. As a result, visitors will be more engaged and attentive to a subscription package.

Gaining Access to Exclusive Experiences

Recently, many media companies have seen significant subscriber growth directly tied to locking exclusive (a.k.a “premium”) experiences behind a paywall.

France-based news company Le Parisien has even doubled its paying members by reserving premium content for subscribers. Now, 90% of its subscriber base is generated through these exclusive articles, which draw on user data to maximize engagement.

Media companies can follow suit with high-converting subscriber experiences by reserving content, social tools, podcasts and events for paying subscribers. After all, interesting and relevant experiences are often worth paying a small price to access.

While people are more willing than ever before to pay for a subscription to a media company, there’s an unlimited number of competitors fighting for their attention. Not to mention that each person will only pay for a small number of media subscriptions.  

The only way to make your content and services stand out from the rest is to exceed your visitors’ expectations. Create meaningful relationships with audience members, support visitors and produce personalized and exclusive experiences to win over potential subscribers before they ever have a chance to spend their time and money elsewhere.

Four Addictive Ways Sports Companies and Teams Can Connect With Their Fanbases Online

Rather than filling up stadiums to cheer on their favorite players or teams, consumers are gradually becoming used to watching games from the comfort of their homes. As a result, a digital doorway has opened for sports organizations to forge deeper connections with fans.

We know for a fact that fans are hungrier than ever for engagement around sports. And it’s up to sports teams and companies to satisfy this desire remotely.

Embracing this challenge by connecting with fans online can produce a highly active community of known visitors loyal to their brands. 

“In my 30-plus-year career in sports, I’ve never seen a greater opportunity for brands to directly engage with fans where they live,” says John Tatum, chief executive of Genesco Sports Enterprises (GSE), a sports marketing consulting firm.  

Taking hold of this opportunity to grow your online communities of active, dedicated viewers is actually easier than you might think. Here are four simple engagement strategies that will keep your fans connected and addicted to your brand in the digital sports world:

Introduce Fans to Online Conversation Tools

In a survey conducted by GSE and market research company Harris Insights and Analytics, the majority of sports fans express an appetite for digital social experiences alongside sports content. 

Turning to social media to engage fans may seem like a quick solution for sports media companies and teams. Unfortunately, organizations have limited control over their audience’s data, relationships and toxic comments on third-party social platforms

A safer and more beneficial way to give sports fans the engagement they crave is to implement commenting tools directly on your website or app. That way, sports organizations can build direct, lucrative relationships with fans in a brand-safe environment.

Keep in mind that effective commenting services will adjust their moderation systems to support each organization’s unique community guidelines. You can then ensure your online social spaces allow for as much heated debating or respectful discussions as you want.

Feature Real-Time Chats Around Content Streams

People value sports for more than just the games and players themselves. 

“Sport, in the end, is about stories: watching them, telling them, being a part of them,” Eoin Connolly, a sports industry journalist, writes in a SportsPro article.

“In tech and entertainment terms, [sports companies] need to help fans participate in the content they are watching,” Connolly suggests.

For this reason, companies and teams may want to consider placing a real-time community chat tool beside live games, milestone announcements and matches. This will push consumers to participate in content and feel connected to fellow viewers and sports team members active in the chat.

Host Digital Events

Give your sports fans something to look forward to by hosting interactive events right on your digital properties. While online events can help facilitate general excitement around your company or team, they can also strengthen relationships between brands, players and top fans. 

Sports teams, for instance, could invite their most dedicated, engaged fans to attend digital meet-and-greets with their players. 

No matter what type of event you may choose to host, the important thing is that attendees have the ability to interact with one another around your brand or team. Make the most of the experience by maximizing engagement through interactive features before, during and after the event using tools like live blogs. 

There is a much higher aptitude for engaging in this virtual format,” states Condé Nast’s SVP of commercial marketing and events, Eric Johnson. “We should be building a business around virtual events because they’re here to stay.”

Provide Personalized Content Experiences

Another way to keep sports fans hooked on your sports content is to customize their experience with your brand using your first-party audience data. By highlighting material that each sports fan finds relevant and interesting, you’ll entice them to return to your digital property time and time again to view your content. 

The Los Angeles Chargers, an American football team, plans to build up its community one fan at a time through a customized approach. 

According to LA Chargers Chief Marketing Officer Steve Ziff, “we want [people] to fall in love with us because it feels right to them, not because we force ourselves into that equation.”

Ultimately, personalization can help convince consumers that your brand satisfies their unique content needs and is worth supporting.

Whether you’re part of a sports team or media company, engagement is key to forming stronger connections with fanbases online. Find the sports content and experiences that resonate with your audience to hold their attention and develop long-lasting relationships with them.

Here’s How Successful Media Companies Listen to Their Community Members

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.

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