As big proponents of local news organizations, we recently jumped at the chance to co-host a webinar with the Local Media Association (LMA). Through various initiatives including Accelerate Local, the Branded Content Project and the Local News Resource Center, LMA works to strengthen local journalism by helping local media companies discover new and sustainable business models. 

No matter what the business model, there’s one metric that has become a north star for media companies, local and nationwide: audience loyalty. Now more than ever, the loyalty of a publisher’s audience is almost directly correlated to revenue, whether through paid subscriptions, bigger branded content deals, or strong affiliate and e-commerce initiatives. 

But because every storyteller is vying for loyalty from a limited number of readers, building that commitment can be difficult. Publishers need to cut through the noise and reach their consumers in a multi-touch, mobile-first, content-focused strategy. Through our work with hundreds of publishers, we’ve found that one of the best ways to do this is through paid content distribution on Facebook.  

You can watch the full webinar below to learn some great techniques for using Facebook to drive subscriptions and audience loyalty. To start, it’s key to understand the importance of content in driving user actions. 

Rather than relying on compelling direct response ads to convince users to take an action, a content-based strategy provides a more gradual approach. You can do this by attracting net new users, then slowly introducing them to your offerings with a variety of content tailored to their interests. Finally, you can drive your desired action (paid subscription, newsletter subscription, e-commerce purchase, etc.) with additional content or a call-to-action on site. This is often called a “content-based funnel” and an example is pictured below.

 

 

At each step of the process, content and paid content distribution play an important role. To bring in new users, you need to start broad. Here, you’ll use your most popular content to find users with any level of interest in your site. 

After a user’s first visit, it’s important to differentiate your offerings from other content creators. First, you should target users with content that will bring them back to your site. During this step, it’s important to start segmenting your users and testing different types of content. Once you’ve built some brand awareness, you can try to develop a real habit. For this, you want to use the content that differentiates your brand along with the content that is most likely to lead to the action you want to promote. For example, if you’re a local newspaper trying to drive a paid subscription, you’ll likely want to drive readers to your local news coverage sections. 

Along the way, you’ll want to establish a milestone that helps you understand which of your readers are “qualified.” This is the audience on which you’ll focus all of your conversion efforts. They can qualify themselves in a few ways: by reading a certain section of the site, spending a certain amount of time on site, going to your home page, or signing up for a newsletter.

Once you’ve identified the qualified users who are the most likely to convert (in some cases, 40X more likely), you can pull out all the stops. This audience is worth paying for, and can be converted through additional content, calls to action on your site, and even direct response ads.

To learn how to set up a content-based funnel for your business goals, fill out the form below to watch the full webinar.


About Anyword

At Anyword, we make stories relevant and powerful for the world’s best storytellers — like The New York Times, The BBC, National Geographic, Forbes, and Red Bull.

Today, people aren’t coming to websites to search for content — stories find their audiences in feeds and apps. The upshot? Distribution is now the key for effective storytelling. Anyword’s platform unlocks audience insights using AI and data science, and infuses them into every step of the storytelling process: from topic selection, to story creation, to distribution and optimization. Anyword is backed by leading investors such as Google’s Eric Schmidt and The New York Times, and has been a fast-growing, profitable startup since its inception. To learn more, request a demo here.