ALERT: South Asia News Media Summit starts tomorrow, register for free now

NTM shares 3 engagement ideas beyond crossword puzzles and live sports

By Jens Pettersson


Stockholm, Sweden


At the end of the day, it’s all about journalism: creating text, photos, and videos 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. Telling relevant stories for your audiences and getting them to consume. And, of course, making the world a better place at the same time.

But to enhance the subscribers’ experience and value, media all around the world has been trying to find additional types of content to engage them.

Live sports TV is fabulous for building strong bonds to subscribers’ wallets over time. It keeps readers and viewers close to their favourite teams and your brand. But those TV rights are becoming utterly expensive.

Every news media organisation is trying to find the next big thing that will engage online audiences.
Every news media organisation is trying to find the next big thing that will engage online audiences.

Crosswords, that old-fashioned, calming form of entertainment, have been booming across the media industry for a while. It actually works great as a digital context, increasing time spent and strengthening the habit of using your product.

Keeping your eye on property prices is another addictive hobby, and using automated setups for this can give your readers easy access to that kind of hot information. This is done by the Norwegian publisher Bergens Tidende and several other Nordic companies, including my own employer, the Swedish conglomerate NTM.

All these solutions are already known to regular INMA readers. But, what’s next? Are there any other effective engagement bulldozers out there to help pave the way to engagement success?

Here are some (perhaps crazy) ideas. They are not tested and verified by any subscription labs, so if you want to try them, it’s at your own risk.

1. A real curiosity quencher on cash

If your readers are not satisfied with only knowing what their new neighbour paid for their house, perhaps they’d be happy to know how much they paid in taxes or the actual number on their paycheck? If your country’s laws allow it, and it is GDPR compliant, you can create a searchable solution and surely make your subscribers use it more than once.

If that’s too hard to accomplish, you can create data-based searchable solutions so readers can compare themselves to the average in the neighbourhood: “Your salary is among the highest 10% in the city” or “your house is one of the cheapest on the block.”

2. Weather

Everyone talks about the weather. What if you could create a solution for weather statistics in a stylish, easy-to-use presentation that could be played with? Would it be right on target for those who like nostalgia and are crazy for historical data?

3. Nostalgic pictures

Surely a company has taken photography from airplanes over your geographical area some time over the years? If you are one of the lucky ones who can find that kind of treasure, the options are numerous.

Why not create a large contest? Publish 100 pictures and ask readers to help you find the current addresses. Or ask houseowners to take new pictures of the old depicted houses and tell the homes’ stories. We are actually experimenting with this.

If any of you out there give these ideas a go and actually make them work, please send an e-mail and let me know.

About Jens Pettersson

By continuing to browse or by clicking “ACCEPT,” you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance your site experience. To learn more about how we use cookies, please see our privacy policy.