In its efforts to always continue improving and growing, Norway’s Dagbladet is investing heavily in free sites while also investing in digital subscriptions.
Alexandra Beverfjord, editor-in-chief and chief executive officer of Dagbladet, explained the company is growing in unique users and Web TV, while the free site has grown from 55,000 users in 2018 to 80,000 today.
Much of this growth, she said, comes from its heavy investment in content.
“We delivered an all-time high result last year, and we are going to use this money to invest more in journalism. This year, we will hire 30 more journalists,” she said.
While Dagbladet has worked for many years to analyse what works on the front page for the pay edition, it can be difficult to understand what makes a reader buy a digital subscription, Beverfjord said. That led to creating a toolbox to help journalists find the right content.
“It was an extensive amount of work where the editors spent a lot of time analysing what kind of journalism worked and what kind of content did not work,” she said. “We tried to figure out how we could make our journalism work even better.”
Finding what works
The toolbox consists of nine different areas:
- News for use. This is content that will help readers improve their lives and includes everything from relationships to fitness to diets to sex. “The most important question here is to tell the reader what’s in it for me,” Beverfjord said.
- Exclusive news. This is reporting on the stories that everyone is talking about: “If we can find an exclusive twist on the top story that day or that week, we drive more conversions and get more reading among our subscribers.”
- Stories that make you feel something. These are long reads and include investigative or feature stories. Beverfjord said this type of story has a great digital presence and is particularly important for the weekends.
- Stories that make you say “wow.” As a tabloid newspaper, she said, Dagbladet wants to make the readers pause and be surprised. “These can be stories where a person’s life has gone in a completely different direction, or it can be stories about people who do extraordinary things.”
- Consumer tests. These stories are on everything from cell phones to burgers to cars — and readers love them.
- What actually happened? This successful approach takes readers behind the scenes of a particular story.
- Celebrity interviews. “We do a lot of celebrity interviews — known people with personal stories, celebrities, and other people with public roles, telling their stories. And it can often be stories where we also fight stigmas.”
- On the inside. Dagbladet takes readers into an exciting environment that is unknown to most readers; for example, it might be something about an experience in the luxury market.
- Ratings. “These are rankings by our own specialist journalists, and it can be inside sport and culture.”
The toolbox is used when discussing ideas and making editorial decisions, Beverfjord said. They look at what tools they used the previous week and make sure they are providing readers with the variation they crave.