Loyalty and engagement are paramount for success in the digital space where attention is an expensive commodity. Compared to print, where loyalties rarely shift, digital audiences are much more fickle and many outlets are competing for the same eyeballs. In recent years, newsrooms have been looking to cultivate a loyal online community.
To build this loyal audience, publishers will need to work towards fostering a real relationship with them. Push notifications and email newsletters are two tools that allow publishers direct and close contact with their readers.
An average customer receives at most 200 promotional emails every day. Their mobile lockscreens are bombarded by notifications from a number of apps. These tools provide publishers an opportunity to build and maintain brand loyalty. But they can also put audiences off. This will be counterproductive as these readers are your most engaged audience.
So, how can you cut through the noise and stand out?
The trick lies in personalization.
Personalization increases the chances of your content being read.
Newsrooms can utilize AI to personalize content and target their audiences. After learning readers’ preferences and consumption patterns -using AI, content can be tailored to better suit their interests. This in-depth understanding of reader behavior helps publishers present readers' with content similar to topics they have interacted with in the past.
Personalization is not straightforward. While personalization is beneficial for both publishers and readers, it can quickly cross the line and become invasive. As a result, determining the limits of personalization is crucial to build win audience trust. Payoff is huge for publications that can figure out the personalization sweet spot and function within it.
Newsletters are a great way to stay in constant communication with your subscribers. Readers enjoy the convenience of having information about topics and issues that they care about delivered straight to their inboxes.
Newsletters provide you with valuable metrics: delivery rates, open rates, click-to-deliver rates and subscriber retention rates. These metrics are insights into your readers' behaviors and interests.
With this data you ensure that your audience receives content suited specifically to their interests which will foster a higher conversion rate.
The Washington Post operates around 70 different newsletters and has found that recipients consume around three times as much content as those who don’t use email news.
Via push notifications
Personalized notifications can boost regular usage and ensure long-term loyalty. They help reduce churn rates and re-engage dormant users of an app. SportsCafe is a leading digital sports content publisher that personalized their push notifications. They soon achieved a 32% lift in page views and a 120% increase in time spent by ‘Web Push Visitors’ compared to other sources.
Some people want alerts only for breaking news, some want alerts for news that is relevant to them. Audiences want to control what they want, how they want it, when they want it.
For this reason, The New York Times app notifications settings has categories like breaking news, top stories, morning briefing, business and tech, politics, city/state, sports. A user can customize the notifications they receive from these categories.
When audiences click on certain notifications other than the breaking news notifications, it’s clear that they are interested in that topic. This provides publishers necessary insight into reader behavior. The subsequent notifications can then be personalized in a way that gives the reader content relevant to their interests.
The New York Times says that they constantly watching how their audience reacts to things. Based on the feedback/data, they tweak their strategy. They believe that this step is imperative, as more and more interactions with push notifications will give you more data which you can use to optimize the way you send push notifications and engage your audience.
Receiving personalized notifications would improve engagement and build a steadfast relationship between the publisher and the audience. These personalized push notifications offer real value to the reader and prompt engagement.
Engagement = Revenue
Both email newsletters and push notifications can be optimally utilized to not only drive engagement but also revenue.
The newsletter has become a powerful tool for engaging audiences and converting them into paid subscribers. By sending your audience daily email newsletters, you can build a readership habit in online audiences. This will translate to steadfast loyalties which is similar to that seen in print audiences.
The strong relationship you build with your audience will be useful when you’re driving ad revenue or paid subscriptions.
The New York Times has more than 50 newsletters and over 13 million email subscriptions. According to the Times newsletter subscribers are twice as likely as regular New York Times readers to become subscribers.
Push notification ads, on the other hand, work well for advertisers as they are extremely user friendly. They are personalized and delivered directly to your reader’s device. With the option to subscribe and unsubscribe anytime they want, the readers are in control.
Push notifications also allow for passive monetizing as your audience will receive notifications even when they are not interacting with the app or on your site.
Monetizing content in the age of hyperconnectivity might seem impossible. But if you offer quality content and are able to engage your audience effectively, your audience will invest their money in your publication.
Email newsletters and push notifications help publications establish and sustain a direct contact with their readers. This intimate relationship can then be cultivated into a loyal audience.
A loyal audience consumes more content. They are more engaged and are more likely to share stories and comment on them. Because of this, they are also more likely to subscribe and buy memberships. Ultimately, a loyal audience is imperative for independent journalism to thrive.