NAA Series: Proven Strategies and Practices for Building Audience
In this series, NAA will take an in-depth look at newspapers that have increased their total audience over the past two years.
The newspapers selected for the series were identified based on data from Scarborough Research and published by the Alliance of Audited Media as among the 25 fastest-growing U.S. daily newspapers. “Total Audience” is defined as net combined print online readership in the past seven and thirty days. The data can be found in Scarborough’s Integrated Newspaper Audience releases.
The real growth in audience may actually be larger than these numbers suggest. Metrics used for identifying the newspapers are conservative because the print/online readership measurement does not include growth that most newspapers are experiencing in mobile usage and readership of print and digital niche publications.
Each of the newspapers included in the series has a strategy worth sharing and, in most cases, lessons learned that can be adapted to other markets. Without exception the teams at these newspapers work together across disciplines. Together they know their readers and display innovation and creativity in terms of marketing and content to achieve their shared goals of building their audience of readers and value in the community.
Part 1: The Ventura County Star: Two Markets, One Focus
Even as it doubles down on local coverage, The Ventura County (Calif.) Star sees audience growth beyond its market boundaries. That’s no accident, say company officials.
Part 2: Richmond Times-Dispatch: Restoring Print, Repositioning for the Future
Efforts to restore the print edition after past retrenchment have contributed to significant print readership gains for The Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch. Stable combined audience trends that have inched up slightly over the past two years belie significant growth in weekday print readership
Part 3: In Olympia, Mobile and Social Drive Growth
For The Olympian, audience growth has come in part from a deliberate approach to revamping online operations for an audience that has rapidly embraced mobile. Mobile growth, says online editor Ian Swenson, “is partly a result of the market, and partly a result of what we’re doing.”
Part 4: In A Traditional Market, Untraditional Growth for The Morning Call
In the decades before the Internet upended newspapers’ traditional readership models, The Morning Call of Allentown, Pa., consistently ranked among the dailies with the highest penetration in its local market. In spite of the sea change in the industry, the paper’s readership remains strong, with The Morning Call claiming nearly a 70 percent reach within its Newspaper Designated Market in combined audience numbers for past 30-day readership in March 2014.
Part 5: For The Chicago Tribune, a Concerted Push to ‘Consumer-First’
With more than 165 years of continuous publishing under its belt, the Chicago Tribune has entered an era of unprecedented experimentation, executives say.
“That’s really been our mantra—to do things we haven’t done, learn from them, iterate, improve, and go back out there and try again,” says Steve Levy, the Tribune’s senior manager of consumer marketing.
First Published: December 18, 2014