Audience growth is the mile-by-mile marathon that makes all things possible with your business – New Advertisers, New Revenue, New Markets – are all predicated on your ability to grow your audience.  As media marketers, the team at January Spring has pulled together our best growth hacks for audience development.

People-Based Growth

Start by answering these four questions:

  1. What is the size of your potential audience?
  2. What is your reach within this audience?
  3. What do you know about your audience?
  4. What is gaining more of this audience worth to you?

Look for trends in your reader behaviors.  How often are they coming to your magazine? From where are they referred?  How long do they spend with your content? What do they read? You may need to look inside the analytics of your digital magazine for these answers.  In addition, look at the analytics in your e-newsletter and within social media. Based on this analysis you can now build a plan to find more of those reader “personas” by promoting your content to them leveraging a strategic paid advertising effort.

Do You Really Know Them?

  • Do you serve casual readers?
  • Loyal readers?
  • Those that love your brand?
  • Do you make every subscriber live the same experience?

Once you know who they are and why they are there, the fun begins. Armed with reader personas, you can build custom, super-niche experiences with your editorial content to ensure those you attract come back.  Ultimately growing your reach and engagement.

We’ve grown the number and variety of newsletters our publisher partners produce from 1 to 20, by segmenting their readers and customizing their content that is most important to them, and providing it at a frequency that meets their needs.

Reach, Frequency and Digital

Are you making it easy for your audience to find your content online? On mobile? In their social media feeds?  In their email box? Are you leveraging the power of Video? Readers want your content available in the way they want to read it.  When you look at your site analytics what portion is coming from Mobile and are you fully optimized to deliver the best reader experience?  Are you leveraging Social? Social on average drives 33% of all Website traffic!

Frequency of fresh content is one of the largest drivers of return site traffic, and in turn, enhanced value for your advertisers. Consider offering alert sign-ups that allow your readers to be notified when a follow-on story or new story that of is of interest to them becomes available.  This opt-in sign-up can direct your editorial focus to what most interests your readers. Some of the best Publishers in industry who are using this strategy see a 23% open rate on those “follow-on” editorial offers.

Build intuitive, easy to navigate paths for your audience to find the content they are seeking.

Here are the most frequent paths audiences take:

  • Topic Hunters: They know what they want, and they don’t want to dig through a ton of other content to find it.  Make it easy for them, and you will grow their loyalty…and their continued return to your magazine.  Make sure the search navigation algorithm returns a match even if there are typos or incomplete phrases.  Have the content returned, display, based on newest to oldest. Post your content that is most important to them in social media.  Offer them an e-newsletter full of the content, customized to what they want to see. Send them a promotional email with a direct link to the article that would be of most interest to them.
  • Explorers: Delight your readers that want to learn something new or be exposed to a new concept.  Deliver them great content in a variety of mediums: beautiful story-telling photographs, in-depth articles on breakthroughs in their industry, profile pieces that introduce people and places that “speak” to them.
  • Print Fans: The most loyal of your readers will always want the flexibility and accessibility of your print magazine.  Nothing replaces that medium. Understanding who your loyal print readers are, and why they read your magazine may open new possibilities for how to give them more, in-between your print issues.  Like the follow-on idea described above, how else would these readers like to interact with your brand and content? Look at what they are showing you with their behavior. If you listen, they will tell you.

In summary, to growth hack your audience scope the full market potential and leverage your analytics about your audience to build a strategic plan to capture more market share. To hook ‘em and keep them, publish fresh content and engage your audience more often.

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More about Charity: Charity Huff is CEO of January Spring, a digital marketing & advertising agency that partners with niche media companies to make the most of digital. January Spring helps publishers grow their digital audience and subscribers through social media, e-newsletters and website redesigns. As a natural extension of that work, the agency also provides the very best digital and social solutions these publishers can bring to their advertisers.  Prior to starting January Spring with her partner, Shannon McBride, Charity built the advertising analytics platform, Tru Measure, widely used by the US newspaper publishing industry.

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