The one thing that defines the success of a publisher is how good we are at defining, attracting, and making ourselves useful for an audience. Sure, there are many other factors that define success as well. Over the past decade, publishers have worked extensively to define their paywalls, getting better at defining their journalism, their services, optimizing stop-rates, meter-level, analyzing and optimizing churn, creating new channels, newsletters, podcasts, and the list goes on and on. But, fundamentally, none of these matter if you don't get the audience right.
So, in this guide to audience relevance, we are going to look at this very complex world, break it down into its main groupings, explain what these groups do, and with this give you a tool that you can use to better define your newsroom or publisher focus.
There are already many (good) models out there that try to define what audiences want. I have made several of them too. I have my very simple (but powerful) "Circles of Relevance" model that focuses on only three factors, concern, interest, and usefulness, which many publishers have used to strengthen and increase their value for readers (which also improved their subscription outcomes).
I also made the "What people pay for" model, which focused on creating more relevant content for a subscriber, based on whether you are creating something they need (transactional), or something they want to support (societal).
I have my conversion map model, which is still relatively new (from Nov 2022), designed to specifically address the problems around getting people to become more loyal subscribers, reduce churn, and (in particular), address the growing problem with news avoidance.
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Baekdal is a magazine for media professionals, focusing on media analysis, trends, patterns, strategy, journalistic focus, and newsroom optimization. Since 2010, it has helped publishers in more than 40 countries, including big and small publishers like Condé Nast, Bonnier, Schibsted, NRC, and others, as well as companies like Google and Microsoft.
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