In its ninth year, the Key Executives Mega-Conference is all about exploring new approaches and solutions to issues facing the newspaper industry, many of which are directly related to the way digital continues to change news and how brands promote themselves. As digital marketers, we have a unique stake in the way newspapers change and adapt.
Held in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip at the Paris Hotel Convention Center, this year’s event gave us the opportunity to meet some innovative folks from the media world and participate in workshops and presentations that focus on future media revenue and audience trends.
Here are my three biggest takeaways about where we can expect the news and newspaper industry to take us—and what we, as digital marketers, need to do to keep up.
It’s all about relationships
Once upon a time, selling print and digital ads to small and medium businesses (SMBs) was enough to sustain a newspaper group. Now it’s about nurturing relationships with those SMBs, building trust, and helping to guide their marketing strategies.
If SMBs are going to spend their marketing dollars to advertise in digital news outlets, they want to be sure they’re getting the most value possible. Moving forward, newspaper outlets should strive to:
- Be a respected consultant SMBs can turn to for all things advertising
- Deliver new, innovative ways to reach target audiences
- Provide exposure for SMBs beyond owned audiences
- Become a trusted partner in vetting digital advertising products
- Assist SMBs with advertising products/services they may not offer themselves
A digital subscriber growth strategy is essential
With so many print newspapers going digital over the last 5-10 years, they’ve also had to find creative ways to drive revenue. Many digital newspapers have started using a paywall to gain more loyal subscribers and make sure quality journalism is holding its value. Longstanding, respected publications like The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star all have paywalls.
Using a paywall, which requires readers to subscribe in order to read certain content, has been successful for larger companies and could be adapted to smaller newspaper groups. Moving forward, experimenting with the paywall trend and adapting to the changing way people read news may include the following:
Diversity and local presence matter
In order to be successful in the long run, newspaper groups need to continue to diversify their revenue. Staying on top of trends, being open to new ways of doing things, and being quick to adapt will keep newspapers—and marketers—from falling behind.
The 24-hour news cycle means that readers move on quickly so building loyalty and trust are also important. By deepening local presence, newspapers can solidify their place in the community. A few local events newspapers can get involved in might include:
- Live events and award presentations
- Attending expos and trade shows
- Organizing or participating in races for charity
- Sponsoring music festivals or concerts
- Holding promotions to attract readership
Newspapers are a brand just like any of other product and service. Finding new ways to connect with readers while consistently bringing in revenue is an ongoing challenge and one that digital marketers have experience with.