Why Your News Product Should Become More Social

In the ever-evolving landscape of digital media, news organizations are increasingly facing the challenge of engaging their audiences. Despite the wealth of information at their fingertips, many users often visit news websites only sporadically. Today mobile apps are the key to media consumption. But the products that publishers offer often fail to create enough user engagement, retention and stickiness. They don’t form habits outside of a small bubble, which means that growth potential remains limited. The majority of your users continues to read your content on platforms that you do not control.

This problem underscores a critical need for innovation in how news products foster user engagement and loyalty.

Engagement is Key to Drive Real Growth

At the core of the issue, news products struggle to create enough user engagement, a dilemma that becomes particularly acute when it comes to a sustainable growth model for paid subscriptions. In an age where content is king, engagement is the kingdom. Without active and engaged users, the realm of paid news struggles to sustain itself. Users simply cancel subscriptions that they don’t frequently enough use.

Social media platforms, on the other hand, have masterfully demonstrated the lucrative potential of monetizing conversations around news. By facilitating discussions, debates, and sharing, these platforms have tapped into the very human need to connect and engage with content that matters. Without the need to produce quality content themselves, they have created a community layer on top of journalistic content.

Moreover, in the digital age, it’s crucial for publishers to control and maintain direct customer relationships. In an era where data is king, owning the customer relationship is paramount for publishers. Third-party platforms, while offering broad reach, often act as intermediaries that obscure valuable data and insights about news consumers.

The Opportunity for Publishers

So why can’t news products become more social themselves? By integrating a community layer into their digital offerings, publishers can regain direct access to their audience, enabling personalized experiences, targeted advertising, and, crucially, a deeper understanding of what drives engagement and loyalty.

The opportunity lies in adding a community layer to their own digital products, that is based on the patters users are used to already. But this is not about adding comments at the bottom of your article template. It’s about building a community-first layer on top of your journalistic content.

A strong community-centric approach can transform passive readers into active participants, creating a vibrant ecosystem around news content. Let’s delve into why integrating social elements into news propositions is not just beneficial but necessary.

Enhancing User Engagement

Creating a community within news platforms invites users to become part of a larger conversation. It’s about transforming news consumption from a solitary activity into a shared experience. Engaging with content becomes more meaningful when users can express their opinions, contribute to discussions, post their own user generated content and see their impact on the community. This level of engagement is vital for retaining users and fostering loyalty, especially among subscribers.

Also this especially fits what matters in the age of the mobile internet. Mobile is very much empowerment. Your products should empower your subscribers.

Building Brand Loyalty

Communities have the power to build and reinforce brand loyalty and to simply create more usage. When users feel connected to a community, their loyalty is not just to the platform but to the collective group of individuals who share their interests and values. Users come back not just to follow the latest news, but to follow the discussion in the community or the reactions to their own posts or comments. This emotional investment can significantly reduce churn rates and increase the likelihood of subscription renewals.

Think beyond this: Why not allow your subscribers to connect to your editorial team, but also to other subscribers? Why not let certain subscribers influencers on a platform that you fully own?

Direct Monetization of Conversations

By owning the platform where discussions take place, publishers can explore innovative ways to monetize these interactions directly. Whether through exclusive content for community members, sponsored discussions, or direct advertisements within conversation threads, the possibilities for generating revenue become vastly expanded beyond traditional advertising and subscription models.

A community driven product can definately accelerate both revenue streams: subscriptions and advertising.

Gaining Valuable Insights

Communities are treasure troves of data and insights. By observing and engaging with community discussions, publishers can gain a deeper understanding of their audience’s interests, preferences, and concerns. This information can inform content strategy, product development, and targeted advertising, ensuring that offerings are always aligned with user needs.

They key here: your own community provides real first data data, that is all yours. You don’t need to share it with others, which also has huge benefits in terms of privacy regulations.

The Conclusion

Integrating social and community elements into news platforms is more than just a trend; it’s a strategic imperative for publishers aiming to thrive in the digital era. By fostering communities, news organizations can enhance user engagement, build brand loyalty, directly monetize conversations, and gain valuable insights into their audience.

We invite our readers to join the conversation below. What are your thoughts on the importance of community in the digital news landscape? How do you see these social layers evolving in the future?

Get in touch with us anytime if you are interested in a demo. We are happy to present our community playbook that gets you started with days. Book a meeting here.