Paid content: How to gain new customers in local markets

About eight months ago, the German publishing house DuMont began using paid content at their Cologne-based news brands, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger and Kölnische Rundschau. In this article, Carsten Groß, Managing Director at DuMont, offers some of their top takeaways to date.

by WAN-IFRA External Contributor | February 19, 2020

Prior to achieving growth, attracting and inspiring new customers, and thus building a new revenue stream through the publisher’s site, it is necessary to establish fundamentals.

Building the foundation for the successful growth of paid content for local news products:

Carsten GroßCarsten Groß1. Local reach and loyal customers. How many people live in the target region? How many users visit the pages containing local information of the target region every day, week, month? How much content is distributed every day, with which goal, at which time, and through which channels? How much material can be produced in the target region by the editorial team? To what depth with what goal?

2. Experimental, courageous editors who are willing to test new channels, topics, and formats. Change working methods and break new ground. Building a local interlocking digital ecosystem is an essential key to success.

3. Build relationships. New distribution channels mean the opportunity to build a relationship with users. User feedback via these channels is the basis for this. Do not only plan the time for the targeted distribution of the content but also for answering questions about it or dealing with criticism.

4. Take user feedback seriously and interpret it correctly. At any given time, many users provide us with information about their needs, wishes, and their satisfaction with our service. Build an organisation that can collect and analyse data to derive actions. Build an organisation that is willing to accept user feedback and actively work on the challenges openly.

5. Combine marketing and editing. Nobody waits for great local journalism. Even the best content must be actively sold. Distribute the material in any useful place. Make clear what this content is and what needs of which target group it satisfies. Strong teasers on the homepage, social media, newsletters, or local blogs and chats, ads, newsletters—make customers aware of your work. Create close communication channels between reporters and marketers.

6. Actively promote and develop habits. Once the user has signed up, motivate him/her employing impulses on the website to sign up for newsletters or to become a fan on social media. Up the ante. If this content, the special topic, has fed the user, produce more of it and inspire him/her to come back to the site again and again. Stay on him/her and integrate him/her into your growing digital ecosystem.

7. Provide and interpret data and make it usable for work. Nothing works without proper audience management. Someone who can carry out the data collection, set the measuring points, cluster the customers, and make the results of the data available live or with a delay to the editors and marketers for their work and can answer any question about user behaviour.

8. The right goals are encouragement and inspiration. Goals provide focus. Paid produces hundreds of ideas. However, the capacities for implementation are limited. Set goals. Resources from technology, newsrooms, and marketing are scarce, and only the ideas that contribute to the goals are tested and implemented.

9. Test everything – no compromises. Search and use A/B testing instruments. Set them up so that you can act quickly. Make hypotheses that you test and then either incorporate them into the product or discard them after testing.

10. Follow the life cycle of the customer with care. Acquisition, retention, recovery must be developed from a single source. Establish transparent and simple key performance indicators for each area of the life cycle and align your organisation with these goals.

This article was first published on LinkedIn and it is republished here with permission.

WAN-IFRA External Contributor

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