Building blocks of a local-rich strategy

Advertisers seek our local audiences. Readers want local-rich content.

Our markets are really smaller communities of local interests. “Local” sounds simple and provincial, but it requires sophisticated segmentation and nuance.

Media companies need to understand and own their local markets with a local-rich strategy.

Does your newspaper own its local market?

Local markets are a collection of perspectives starting with the content itself ranging from hyper-local subjects to global topics viewed through a local lens. Of course, readers are a critical component of understanding what local means in your market, and they represent a Marimeko quilt of local interest groups and media engagement preferences.

Advertisers big and small are seeking these local audiences. All three – content, readers, and advertisers – need to be understood and viewed collectively to capitalise on the opportunities within.

Understand what local-rich content means in your market. What are the smaller communities of local interests? How do these interests translate into readership segments?

  • The digital platform is a boon to understanding local interests. Online content mapping and tracking engagement is the first, and easiest, step in understanding the local-rich content your readers are most interested in.

    The second step that can’t be overlooked is to reach out to readers through qualitative research to understand what exactly is important about that content, how it impacts their lives, and what might still be missing.

  • Once these local readership groupings are understood, get to know your local audience. Dont just their addresses and demographics, but really know their interests through membership programmes and loyalty initiatives that reward information sharing with increased access to valuable local content.

  • Promote your newspaper’s important local coverage to advocates so they can amplify what your newspaper has to offer. Many times the best advocates are also your local advertisers – and they’re always your readers.

Determine which markets within your circulation footprint are most appealing to advertisers. Which are most profitable? And, vice versa, which advertisers appeal to which readership segments?

  • On the surface, profitability optimisation within the local market is the first opportunity. Pricing, distribution, and product offers can be targeted to the most profitable readers and geographies based on a full accounting of advertising and circulation revenue as well as distribution costs.

  • But let’s take the local perspective further. Newspapers are uniquely qualified to connect audiences and advertisers, and that connection is even deeper when there are shared local interests.

    Thinking specifically of local advertisers, a newspaper’s opportunity is to become their go-to media across all platforms, even if you’re just the go-between for the advertiser and the ultimate media provider.

    Provide less sophisticated advertisers with ad networks, search, mobile geo-fenced offers targeting the local audiences you own through digital coupon vendors. Own advertisers’ customers and their media – then you have the beginnings of a local-rich strategy.

About Lynne Brennen

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