Blog Post

Audiences Demand “Urgency, Utility, Visual Energy And Interaction”

More from the Scarborough Research white paper on how newspapers can build their audience share through online. I realize this is preaching to the converted, but anyway:
— Factors that contribute to online audience growth: unique web content; heavy cross-promotion; high local-market web penetration; and integration of the site into the core newspaper business. Chances are that execs not already doing all that probably aren’t likely to read this site, but moving on…
— Integration is essential. “One of the most pronounced success factors that emerged from our conversations with industry executives is that integration contributes to the success of newspaper websites,” said Meo. “At the newspapers we spoke with, their websites are an integral and essential part of the business strategy to grow audience.”
— The need to understand the distinctiveness of web content is also important. Hyde Post, VP-Internet, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, lists four key audience drivers: urgency, utility, visual energy and community interaction – which is about the most concise and compelling summary of effective web content I’ve read. Tim Ruder, WaPo/Newsweek marketing VP, echoes the need to create buzz and an emotional bond with readers through interactive tools: “Getting consumer feedback and making them feel part of the site so that they are helping to create the experience of washingtonpost.com has ben a key part of the growth we have had over the past couple of years.”
Some sound-bites:
— On integrating web into the core business: “We view TBO as the third leg of a stool, so to speak, along with print and broadcast,” said Ted Stasney, market development director, Tampa Tribune.
— Stasney said TBO.com has become profitable by bundling print with online ads as well as standalone web ads and classifieds. Print and web ad sales staff are also together.
— There needs to be a “constant drumbeat of cross promotion” said Mike Coleman, VP-digital media, Arizona Republic and affiliate KPNX-TV.
— AJC’s Post: “Part of our opportunity is having multiple platforms to reach the audience in our market. … Our challenge is to make them work effectively together and apart.”
Release | Full report

This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.