When the pandemic gave it lemons, Dainik Jagran-inext changed the way it reached readers

By Alok Sanwal

Dainik Jagran-inext

Kanpur, India


Three years ago, when the pandemic hit us hard (like any other print publication), we at Dainik Jagran-inext were clueless about what to do. We quickly realised that because of the lemons we had been handed, it was time to get out of our traditional ways of working and adapt some changes to our business model.

Instead of waiting for customers to come to us, we adopted a different strategy and decided to go to our customers.

During the pandemic, people tried to adapt quickly to changes around them while still being unsure of what lay ahead. A significant portion of information consumed by them came from online sources, as people in India were wary of the virus spreading through newspapers.

Observing that pattern, Dainik Jagran-inext, a Hindi daily, decided to reach our audience on the platforms it preferred.

Dainik Jagran-inext turned to creative new ways to reach its audience during the pandemic and discovered a successful new business model along the way.
Dainik Jagran-inext turned to creative new ways to reach its audience during the pandemic and discovered a successful new business model along the way.

Delivering news through an app

Using India’s most-used app for communicating, WhatsApp, we took the initiative to deliver the news to our audience in 30-second videos containing hyper-local content. We named this Breaking News because it contained real-time news and was circulated in the WhatsApp database of our readers twice a day.

With a significant chunk of falsified information being circulated over WhatsApp, Breaking News acted as a credible source for providing real-time information that came from a media house. Our audience appreciated the initiative and we observed that these videos were also being posted on social media handles.

Breaking News also provided a great opportunity for brands that wanted to promote their services in tough times and with a limited budget. At a time when industries were cutting costs, we offered Breaking News as the cost-effective medium for advertisers to reach their audience, turning it into a full-fledged revenue model — which continues to this date.

Calming the crowds

We also observed the pandemic had instilled fear among the general public and people wanted more information about the virus from a credible and reliable source. We bridged this gap by connecting with our audience over a series of Webinars called “Let’s Talk,” which were driven by renowned doctors and practitioners.

The series started by providing COVID-19-related news, prevention tips, myth busters, and general care during the pandemic. The series was backed by medical professionals and healthcare companies.

After the pandemic, they made the audience aware of the importance of adopting healthy practices, shared information about common diseases, and answered the audience’s queries through a series of Webinars featuring reputed doctors, nutritionists, and health experts.

As a youthful brand, we have always been active among our young audience and guided them both as a friend and a mentor. The pandemic created a lot of apprehension in the minds of students and their parents regarding future career opportunities. This was the time when online lectures, online college functions, and even online exams were happening.

In these uncertain times, with the objective of helping students solve their career-related queries and making parents and students aware of the trends and opportunities in the education industry, we came up with a series of Webinars called “Cracking Career Code.”

These Webinars were driven by renowned professors, career counsellors, and industry experts who used their knowledge and insight to add value to the lives of millions of people of the Hindi Heartland. Many educational institutes that were quickly adapting to the pandemic backed us with this initiative and still continue to lend their support.

Continuing to add value

With the objective of adding value to the lives of people in the Hindi-speaking market, we came up with a series of live sessions called “i-learn” for people who wanted to spend their time learning new things and trying new ideas during the lockdown.

These sessions covered a variety of skills such as cooking, singing, playing an instrument, calligraphy, and more, which were of interest to the people.

Through each initiative our goal was very simple: to remain connected with our audience and the people of India’s largest Hindi-speaking market across all age groups and professions. Our readers are extremely important to us and by reaching them on their preferred platforms, we stayed relevant in the minds of not just our readers but our advertisers as well.

Change is the essence of life and in these transformational times, we have to bring the transformation within ourselves and adapt quickly in accordance with the demands of our readers. Moving forward, we aim to continue following our digital-first strategy and adding value to the lives of our readers and people.

About Alok Sanwal

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