Audience of News Readers

Understanding Your Audience: 4 Types of News Readers

Understand the four main types of news readers and learn how you can engage each group to encourage online interactions and conversions.

In order to connect with your online audience, you need to know who they are and what motivates them. What brings them to your website? Which types of content are they most likely to engage with? What types of content do they wish you’d post more of?

Whether you run a hyperlocal news website, a regional magazine, or a niche blog, there’s a clear benefit to understanding your audience.

One of the biggest mistakes publishers make when they dig into website analytics is assuming that all readers are the same. Your audience shouldn’t be lumped into one big group. While it is true that the people reading your hyperlocal news website probably live in the area that you cover, and they might even have some demographic similarities, their motivations for visiting probably vary quite a bit.

When you understand the types of news readers who visit your website, you’re better able to tailor your strategies—both in terms of marketing and editorial content—to connect with your audience. You’re also more likely to be able to motivate your audience to go beyond clicking and scrolling, as they begin to really engage with your content and eventually become paying subscribers.

4 Types of News Readers

1. Passerbys

Passerbys are people who stumble upon your website, usually via search or their social media feeds. Your goal when connecting with Passerbys is to get their initial clicks, and then to give them a reason to keep coming back for more.

The best way to get clicks from Passerbys is by optimizing your website for search engines and social media. (WordPress offers a number of SEO plugins, which you can read more about here.)

Once you’ve gotten Passerbys onto your website, you should make sure that the content they’re viewing is relevant to their search terms and that it answers whatever questions they have. The more impressed a Passerby is with the content he’s viewing, the more likely he is to return to your website the next time he has a similar question.

2. Occasionals

Occasional news readers are people who click onto your website on a semi-regular basis, usually because they have a question they’re looking for an answer to. Passerbys will sometimes become Occasionals, assuming they were impressed with the content they found on previous visits.

The goal with Occasional news readers is to get them to come back to your website more frequently. To do that, you should lead them to habit-forming products. If you can get an Occasional to sign up for your email newsletter or follow your publication on social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, then you’re well on your way to converting them into a Regular.

3. Regulars

Regular news readers are people who come to your website every day, week, or month. Regular intervals are the key here. Regulars have created a habit out of visiting your website. There’s a good chance that your Regulars are paying subscribers, too.

To ensure that Regulars renew their subscriptions, and keep coming back even more frequently, consider incorporating more features like social sign-ups, mobile-friendly webpages, and targeted calls-to-action on your website.

4. Super Fans

Super Fans are the best news readers to have. Super Fans already love your website and the content you’re producing. Not only do they visit on a regular basis, they probably also share your content across their own social channels.

When it comes to Super Fans, your goal should be retention. Offer added value to these news readers to keep them engaged. For example, you can give longtime subscribers benefits like exclusive content, local discounts, VIP events, and personal access to reporters or editors at your publication.


While every publication’s audience is different, defining your audience and organizing news readers into unique groups should help guide your marketing and editorial decisions.

If you’re ready to learn more about how to connect with your online audience, sign up for Web Publisher PRO’s weekly newsletter or connect with one of our publishing experts via email.