Our team at Kauppalehti is not alone with the problem that our typical readers tend to be 40 years old or older, and only around 20% of the subscribers can be called “young.” Our colleagues at Dagens Næringsliv have tried to solve the problem in Norway. Taking care of the future reader base is on everyone’s agenda.
At Kauppalehti, we have had a great relationship with student organisations for decades, and it has been a wonderful way to introduce younger people to Kauppalehti. But it isn’t enough.
We started to wonder if there is an answer to this problem in our own organiaation, especially considering there are young people working in the company, too. Could they have a solution or at least some different viewpoints on the matter?
We launched the New Audiences project to find new ways to reach and engage readers under 40 years of age. At first, we carried out a recruitment campaign inside the company to find five enthusiastic young people to work on a six-month project, where they were given a carte blanche to find younger audiences for Kauppalehti.
The team received a valuable new experience of developing new products or processes. Additionally, the project was a strong message to the whole organisation that renewing our reader base is crucially important for our future.
The interdisciplinary team finally included three journalists, one data scientist, and one subscription marketer. We named it “The Five” after Enid Blyton’s famous children’s adventure books. The team started to work together two days a week in addition to their normal tasks.
We wanted to get new, fresh, and even bold ideas from The Five, so we didn’t give the team any guidance on how to proceed with the task. The team decided to do something quick and something slow.
For its “quick” project, the team started testing new ways of marketing Kauppalehti content on social media platforms. For its “slow” project, the team planned a study of young people and their thoughts on money, savings, salaries, and other topics.
The new way of marketing Kauppalehti content on Instagram was a hit, so we adopted it into our daily process, but the slow part of the project was more challenging. The study offered a lot of ideas of what young people want (like podcasts and other audio content) and appreciate (for example, money tips in tight, easily digestible formats, as Instagram Stories), but the challenge was how to turn these expectations into attractive content and successful products.
When The Five worked hard to develop testable product features, the team began to understand what a complex process it can be to build a new media product where journalism, two business models, and tech are combined. The team had 20 content or product ideas, from which three were selected for further development. One is about audio content, one is based on data, and one is a subscription product.
The New Audiences project was an interesting test for both the team as well as Kauppalehti’s management. We got new ideas on how to reach younger readers, but we also observed where there might be obstacles for innovation in our organisation and how we can improve that. This gives us valuable fuel for the next development steps on our way to future-proofing Kauppalehti.