Lee Enterprises scores with expanded Nebraska Cornhuskers content

By Tara Jelnicki

Lee Enterprises

Davenport, Iowa, United States


By Rachel Crader

Lee Enterprises

Davenport, Iowa, United States


Lee Enterprises owns the two best and biggest newspapers in the state of Nebraska: the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald. For generations, both have been a trusted source for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers sports coverage.

With the deepest benches of experienced reporters, a combined social media following of more than 300,000, and a worldwide fan base of more than 7 million Nebraska fans, we saw a big opportunity to reach beyond the newspaper markets we’ve served for so long.

We also saw that we could provide great value for the audience, who could now get content from two news organisations in one place.

Go narrow to go wide

One key piece of research pointed out the opportunity that existed: 40% of active subscribers to the Lincoln Journal Star and Omaha World-Herald have a subscription to the paper specifically for Huskers coverage. This was an audience willing to pay for more of what they wanted. If they were willing, there was likely a wider audience around the world willing to pay for this focused coverage.

By leveraging our expanding digital capabilities and best-in-class journalism, we created HuskerExtra to give subscribers more Huskers coverage than ever before.

HuskerExtra provides premium coverage of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on every platform.
HuskerExtra provides premium coverage of the Nebraska Cornhuskers on every platform.

Every story, everywhere

The foundation of HuskerExtra is a three-platform experience that includes a new Web site build, groundbreaking app design, and an exclusive podcast that subscribers can listen to and watch. The purpose is to make all our stories available to subscribers any way they want to consume them.

Whether diving into an article while drinking their morning coffee, catching up on headlines while waiting in line for lunch, or spending their evening commute listening to our columnists from each paper going head-to-head in The Showdown podcast, super fans know there is simply no better way to get Husker news.

These rebuilt platforms also gave us new ways to reach audiences and bring them closer to our experts. Things like behind-the-scenes videos, one-to-one conversations between columnists and audience members via text messages, and live online chats meant a new experience for even longtime readers.

Multi-platform marketing for multi-platform products 

An extensive and diverse marketing campaign was executed to increase subscriber awareness of the new HuskerExtra content. Tactics included social media videos, audio ads, paid social, display ads, print ads, and e-mail newsletters. We also offered a discount to current subscribers of the Omaha and Lincoln publications to encourage early sign-ups for HuskerExtra to drive traction.

Since its launch, HuskerExtra has had over 18 million impressions, received 38,200 followers, and generated 36,300 interactions on its content on Facebook.

The product averages 47,000 visits weekly with a premium newsletter open rate of 40%.  Subscriptions continue to rise and are a strong revenue generator for Lee Enterprises.

HuskerExtra far exceeded subscription and revenue forecasts for our launch and continues to engage and recruit newspaper subscribers and worldwide fans to join in the ultimate Husker coverage.

About the Authors

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