For a long time, publishers have been pushing their content through major platforms, i.e., websites, radio stations, and TV channels. The reasoning was that if you build it, they'll come.
As a publisher, all you had to do was create a great product and watch your audience come to you so you could trade their time and attention with ads. But times have changed.
Today, to be successful, you need to find out where your audience spends their time and learn how to reach them there. While it works great for your target audience, the same can't be said about your business model.
For most of us, that means sending out newsletters to subscribers, whether daily or weekly, posting on social media, creating campaigns for messaging applications such as Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. and use calendars to post updates to engage with your audience where they are.
While we've only scratched the surface with these platforms, other channels provide publishers like yourself the opportunity to instantly reach your audience. Enter text messaging.
Granted, there's nothing new about text messaging as a marketing channel. While it's been cropping up every so often around marketing circles, it's still one of the most effective marketing channels.
In fact, SMS has been shown to have a much higher open rate--98% to be exact, compared to email, which only has a 20% open rate. The open rate of your SMS campaign is just as important as the content you're promoting.
What's more, it's estimated that 90% of text messages are opened and read within the first three minutes of receiving them. And if your audience isn't opening your SMS at all, then you're simply wasting your time. But can this be successful? The short version, yes.
The problem, however, is that most publishers focus on engaging newsrooms instead of their audiences.
Most publishers are too focused on using text messaging as a medium for distributing news, getting
feedback, or for the benefit of their organization as a whole, but one thing you don't hear is publishers using it to engage their audience.
Fortunately, there's still time to re-engage your audience and start a meaningful conversation with them.
The only difference this time is that you'll be focusing on engaging your audience. But there are a few questions you need to ask yourself first.
What does your audience want?
As a publisher, how can you help them achieve it?
With an audience-focused approach, i.e., it can be live updates, weather reports, real-time sports updates, etc.; all of these mediums allow you to reach your audience and provide them with the information they need when they need it.
One of our clients has capitalized this approach, and TheQuint has over 37,235 subscribers on Telegram, where they access most relevant news updates.
The reason they were so successful is that newsrooms typically have information your audience cares about, and texting them that information in a timely is usually the most convenient and best way of getting that information.
Another example is El Timpano's news distribution strategy, which uses text messaging to disseminate information to immigrant communities living in Oakland, California. While the plan sounds like it's an organizational approach instead of an audience-focused approach, it's not.
By employing the right language, providing a convenient and easily accessible platform for community members to share their opinions, stories, concerns, etc. makes it an audience-focused approach.