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Plus Report - By Thomas Baekdal - March 2022

Known to work: What makes news relevant, interesting, and useful?

In this 'known-to-work' article, we are going to talk about models that help publishers define relevance, and what makes something relevant to the audience in the first place.

One of the most important models I have ever made is also the simplest of all my models. It's the model that defines the 'Circles of relevance'.

The model itself looks like this:

There is nothing really groundbreaking or eye-opening about it. It's just a good basic model that serves to explain in a simple way the three major elements that define relevance.

I first wrote about this in 2019, and since then, several publishers have used it to help define their focus, and all of them have had a very positive result from it.

The reason why it works so well is because of how you use it. It has two functions. The first function is simply to focus your mindset about what is important and what isn't.

In other words, it serves as a very quick framework that lives inside your brain, and that you refer to every time you talk about a story. So, you quickly ask:

It's very simple, but it's something that publishers often overlook.

And this brings us to the second element, which is 'the audit'. The purpose of the circles of relevance is to give people a way to measure the relevance of a story.

The idea is that you sit down one day and go through the stories you wrote, scoring each one of them, and look at the result.

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Thomas Baekdal

Founder, media analyst, author, and publisher. Follow on Twitter

"Thomas Baekdal is one of Scandinavia's most sought-after experts in the digitization of media companies. He has made ​​himself known for his analysis of how digitization has changed the way we consume media."
Swedish business magazine, Resumé


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